A Flying Kite

On The End Of A String...

Is a wonderful thing! Is watching a flying kite one of your hobbies? Seeing your own creation up there definitely adds a new dimension to the experience. Read on for all sorts of kite flying stories plus of course plenty of photos and some short videos.

This section of the site is devoted to a whole bunch of flight reports...

Some of these are full-length pages complete with a photo and video of the kite that I flew on the day. Other pages are compilations of my shorter-format blog posts for a particular type of kite.

For a year or so, this site had a couple of dedicated MBK Flight Reporters. These reporters built my designs, flew them, took photos and then submitted great illustrated reports on their outings.

You just never know what random incident might happen while a kite is up. Nothing earth-shattering generally, but often enough to make the flier - or a number of the by-standers - crack a smile!

If any of the flying reports below get you inspired, there's a comprehensive How To resource that will help you make those same kites...

The Big MBK E-book Bundle consists of several e-book downloads. The files are PDFs which are printable. A convenient way to work through the steps after you have picked a design to try.

Everybody has a favorite kind of kite, so the reports are organized accordingly, below..


Sticked (oak dowel or bamboo skewer)

Soft (no sticks)


Doing Flight Reports is my preferred method of keeping a record of my flights. However, it could be worth your while to keep a Kite Log Book. Check it out!

These next 4 links are to pages normally viewed by my Tips-n-Ideas email series subscribers. But you can look if you want to!

 

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world. Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."

A Flying Kite
In Any Size You Like...

From age 3 to 103, there's something for everyone with an MBK design. Here's a break-down of the various categories by size...

  • Multi-Dowel Kites (very large, tail-less, in e-books only)
  • Dowel Series (large and tail-less)
  • Soft Series (medium sized, no spars)
  • 3-Skewer Kites (particularly good in light winds)
  • 2-Skewer Series (modest sized, but high-performance)
  • 1-Skewer Series (small, but quick to make)
  • Paper Series (small, only require paper and tape)

In addition, there are a few which don't neatly slot into any of the above categories.

Here's some photos of a flying kite in the various sizes, along with some general information about them...



Multi-Dowel Series

The huge MBK 2-Dowel Sled in flight.The Multi-Dowel Sled aka 'The Horse'
The huge MBK 2-Dowel Sled in flight.The Multi-Dowel Sled aka 'The Horse'

'Big' was once redefined here at MBK, after the 1.2m (4ft) Dowel Series was complete... So far in this series are the Sled, Diamond, Barn Door, Rokkaku, Delta and Box kites. The Sled and Box are 2.4 meters (nearly 8 feet) long, while the others have a span of that same amount. Except the mighty Delta, where each leading edge spar is 2.4m long!

These are a little more challenging to build, in comparison to all the other smaller and simpler designs. And due to the considerable pull they exert on the flying line, even in light winds - not for kids of any age!




Dowel Series

The MBK Dowel Rokkaku in flight.The Dowel Rokkaku with 'clouds' character
The MBK Dowel Rokkaku in flight.The Dowel Rokkaku with 'clouds' character

The designs in this series were made with adults in mind, who want something of a decent size to fly. Older kids would also have the strength to handle these in most wind conditions.

The first thing you might notice about a flying kite of the Dowel variety is that it doesn't have a tail. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from adding a tail just for looks! These kites will fly a little higher and steeper without tails though.




Soft Series

The MBK Parafoil in flight.The MBK Parafoil has a wide wind range
The MBK Parafoil in flight.The MBK Parafoil has a wide wind range

This Parafoil is the third kite in the series. It's flying with a drogue here but doesn't really need it in most winds.

The main attraction of these designs is the fact you don't need to hunt around for spar material! Just drop-sheet plastic and packing tape is enough to get started on a kite that 'looks like a bought one'.

The kites in the Soft Series are all very distinct from one another. Both in looks and the way they fly.




3-Skewer Series

The MBK 3-Skewer A-Frame kite in flight.The 3-Skewer A-Frame just hanging still
The MBK 3-Skewer A-Frame kite in flight.The 3-Skewer A-Frame just hanging still

The 3-skewer kites have a span or height of ... you guessed it, the length of three 30cm (12") bamboo skewers. A bit less actually, since the points need to be snipped off!

There might eventually be a few more 3-Skewer designs to choose from.




2-Skewer Series

The MBK 2-Skewer Diamond kite in flight.The 2-Skewer Diamond does S-bends in a light breeze
The MBK 2-Skewer Diamond kite in flight.The 2-Skewer Diamond does S-bends in a light breeze

I've had some fantastic flights with 2-Skewer kites on light-wind days. What I love about them personally is that despite being fairly small, they hit a performance sweet spot. Here's what I mean...

Two bamboo BBQ skewers end to end turns out to be a very ideal combination of strength, rigidity and light weight. Add extremely light single-ply plastic, and you have one super light-weight flying kite! Saving weight is what it's all about, as any kite-maker will tell you.

Read the stories to see what some of these kites get up to, on a long 20 pound Dacron line.




1-Skewer Series

The MBK 1-Skewer Dopero kite in flight.The 1-Skewer Dopero is truly cute at only 29cm (1ft) across
The MBK 1-Skewer Dopero kite in flight.The 1-Skewer Dopero is truly cute at only 29cm (1ft) across

The 1-Skewer kites have wing-spans the length of a single BBQ skewer. The Delta is actually a little wider than that, but both leading edge spars are a single BBQ skewer. Most of the designs in this series are rarely seen in such small sizes. But I thought it would be fun to re-create them anyway!

How about a ... 29cm (1 foot) wide Dopero? Just for moderate wind fun. It's simply too tiny to lift a camera of any kind, unlike its much larger cousins.




Paper Series

The MBK Paper Diamond in flight.The MBK Paper Diamond sharing the air with a sea-gull
The MBK Paper Diamond in flight.The MBK Paper Diamond sharing the air with a sea-gull

This series makes the task of gathering materials dead-easy. Just copier-paper and sticky-tape! And yet these kites have been designed to behave like 'real kites'. That is, you can expect them to fly very high if desired - and for as long as the wind blows!

A little care in handling is required since they are only paper after all. But a well-kept Paper Series kite can easily return many hours of flying pleasure. Over months or even years.

The Big MBK E-book Bundle consists of several e-book downloads. All the kite designs mentioned on this page or pages linked from this one are covered in that Bundle.



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

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Tetra Takes Off

    Dec 14, 18 01:55 AM

    It's been a bit of an uphill battle getting a decent flight out of the heavy, crudely put-together 10-cell tetra... Earlier today the breeze was great but misty rain persisted for hours on end. Finall…

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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

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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...