The Eddy Kite

Some History & Personal Experience

Firstly, what exactly is an Eddy kite? The original design was a large diamond-shaped kite from the 1800s which flew without a tail.

Unlike the historical Eddy, most retail Diamonds these days are tailed. Most also have some dihedral or bow in the horizontal spar. This greatly helps stability and enables the use of shorter tails.

An Eddy kite in flight. Actually, it's the MBK Dowel Diamond, which is nearly the same thing.Original MBK Dowel Diamond

An Eddy kite in flight. Actually, it's the MBK Dowel Diamond, which is nearly the same thing.Original MBK Dowel Diamond

This little list sums up the history of the Eddy...

  • Invented by William A. Eddy in the 1890s, and inspired by ancient Javanese bowed kites. More commonly known as the 'Malay'.
  • Diamond shaped, as already mentioned, using spruce spars.
  • Sail edges attached to wire perimeter lines.
  • Bowed horizontal spar, attached to the vertical spar 19% of the way down from the nose.
  • Loose-fitting cotton sail which billowed at the tail end, forming a small keel.
  • No tail. Very handy for kite trains, since tails tend to get wrapped around the flying line!
  • 2-point bridle, one point being where the spars cross, the other at the extreme tail end.

In case you are curious about Eddy himself, here's a few interesting details...

His full name was William A. Eddy.

  • He was from New Jersey, U.S.A., and worked as a journalist
  • Eddy developed his efficient, stable, diamond-shaped kite in the 1890's.
  • He began his kite flying with the classic American Barn-Door design. Hexagonal kites that sometimes had a coffin-like shape.
  • Eddy was inspired by the tail-less bowed Malay design, since his kite-trains kept getting into trouble with tangled tails!
  • Eddy was famous for his kite-powered aerial photography and also meteorological experiments. These were carried out at Blue Hill Observatory, near Boston, U.S.A.

In some circles, the term Eddy is used more loosely to mean just about any kind of Diamond kite. I first became aware of this when a European blogger featured my 1-Skewer Diamond design in a post. A 'little Eddy' he called it!


Our latest Dowel Diamond kite in flight.MBK Dowel Diamond


Our MBK Dowel Series of kites are all tail-less, like the Eddy-inspired Dowel Diamond. That's an old version of it in the first photo on this page.

However, we have made some minor changes in a later version. They both fly beautifully in very light wind.

I remember on one occasion in the late afternoon, this kite floated right up to 400 feet, going almost overhead. At the time, there was barely a breath of wind at ground level!

Making The MBK Dowel Diamond Kite is one of my handy e-books of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

 


Why Make An Eddy Kite?

For a start, you won't find many truly Eddy-like designs in the shops. Tailed Diamonds are the closest thing offered both on and off-line. However, a good reason to make one is that the design is quite easy to build, and results in a stable, efficient kite.

For some additional fun, you can stack these kites together along one long flying line. An Eddy is a great light-to-moderate wind flier.

The Eddy kite was the inspiration for my original Dowel Diamond design, which you can see in the first photo on this page. It's hard to spot in the photo but it had a 2-leg bridle.

From a distance, the Dowel Diamond and the Eddy look very similar, but there are in fact a few differences. The Dowel kite has a plastic sail and tape edging. It's shape is quite close to Eddy's original, although the overall size is somewhat smaller. Some of the originals were almost 3 meters (9 feet) in height!

It's relaxing seeing the Dowel Diamond hang up there in a light breeze. Having a 3-leg bridle, my most recent version doesn't waggle its wing tips like an Eddy kite would do. See the photo and video below. With a sliding knot on the bridle, it can be adjusted toward the nose a little if the breeze is stronger and threatening to over-power the kite. The 1.2 meter span sail generates a decent pull, and can keep the line fairly straight even with over 100 meters let out.




 


Modern Versions Of The Eddy Kite

Out In The Field

Diamond kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

It seems Eddy kites are everywhere. Some bowed, some made with dihedral. People like to make them very colorful too, unlike yours truly who has stuck with pale orange for 3 series of 8 kites each! Going overboard with decoration can turn even an Eddy into a lumbering fresh-wind kite though...

Sizes vary a lot too, with quite small versions being made for children and other enthusiasts tackling full 9-foot replicas of the original meteorological kites!




An interesting but simple variation of the Eddy kite is the single-point bridle Diamond. The flying line simply attaches to where the spars cross. The crossing-point is 25% from the nose rather than the original 19% for these.

With sufficient bow and slightly slack sail these kites can still fly tail-less, and therefore are perfect for flying in a stack or train.

Making The MBK Dowel Diamond Kite is one of my handy e-books of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.


I can tell you love kites...

Otherwise you wouldn't be all the way down here near the bottom of the page :-)

So, could you do me just a small favor? 

Please sign up for my free monthly publication, "Tethered Flying". No other emails will be sent, and your details are safe with me. You do need to be at least 16 years old. There's...

  • A huge "photo of the month" (linked from a much smaller one in the email of course)
  • 3 "tips of the month" (1 for beginners, 1 for parents and 1 for more experienced kite-fliers)
  • A "flight report of the month" (selected from my own flying logs and illustrated with a photo)

Looking forward to hearing from you...

P.S. My free kite-making e-book "Simplest Dowel Kites" can be downloaded as soon as you sign up.



 

Back to top of page


Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. Global News Report:
    Family Kite-Flying Tradition

    May 23, 19 08:13 PM

    Swinging back to the USA. The 7 images (captions collated below) point out distinct aspects of kite-flying recreation. This day out was almost a kite festival within a family…

    Read More

Wind Speeds

Light Air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2

Gentle ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7

Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...

Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...