Barn Door Kite Posts
(Fresh Wind)

This design is a fresh-wind version of the MBK Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite and has not been published in the form of plans or instructions.

In essence, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite is a roughly 2/3 size copy, with a large vent in the middle to relieve air pressure. The same diameter dowels are used however, so it is a very sturdy design which requires twin drogues to keep it stable. Most of the time - note that the picture shows it flying without them!

These Barn Door kite posts once appeared in the site blog page - that's the one you enter via the 'what's new!' site navigation link. Just scroll down and stop at any heading that appeals :-)





Barn Door Frolics In Fresh Wind

The Fresh Wind Barn Door kite of course, not its even larger light-wind-loving cousin. With little sunlight outside, aerial photography was out for today.

The MBK Fresh Wind Barn Door

Initially, my thoughts were to do some flying with the big Multi-Dowel Delta. If the wind strength crept up, out would come a drogue chute to settle the kite down. It would have been an interesting exercise, but on arrival at the field, the wind gusts were way too fresh. Only a purpose-built fresh wind kite would do today. Fortunately, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was also in the car trunk (boot).

A gusty breeze in the mid-30s kph was pummeling the tree tops and raising dust down the road where some earthworks were in progress. Weak sunlight occasionally peeped through the overcast skies.

For 20 minutes or so, I flew the Barn Door on a fairly short line, landing it a few times to make small adjustments to the bridle. The kite had never been pushed this hard, and one of the sail corner ties pulled out. Never mind, these days all the required bits for an on-field repair are stowed in the bag... Quite soon, after copying a new attachment method that was holding well on the opposite corner of the kite, the Barn Door was airworthy again.

For at least half an hour, the big kite flew in the fresh gusty conditions. Just over 60 meters (200 feet) of line was out.

Despite the steadying effect of the 3-point bridle and the central hole in the sail, the big kite got forced all over the place. But there were very satisfying moments too, when it soared very high in weak lifting air. A bit bizarre, really, since the ground had seen very little heating from the sun. At other times the kite strained hard at lower line angles.

At the launch point I measured the breeze at 10 kph gusting to 20 kph. Just enough to fly the robust Barn Door up into the wilder winds above. All up, a fun outing with this kite, where it got very close to its limits for the first time.


Cool Gusts Power Barn Door At Sunset

There was a chance to pop out for half an hour or so before sunset, so off I went to a nearby school reserve. With several multi-dowel kites that have been hibernating in the car trunk (boot) since before we went to Singapore! At the field, the Fresh Wind Barn Door was pulled out, due to the hefty cool gusts disturbing the tree tops.

The kite, which has a deliberate gaping hole in the center, was soon steadily on its way. Completely comfortable in the 20+ kph gusts that were going overhead, high up. In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing how this kite does in much stronger wind. The aim was to do KAP on days when the larger Multi-Dowel Barn Door would be completely overpowered.

As the wind strength varied up and down, the kite rose and fell between 30 and 55 degree line angles. Several turns of the flying line secured the kite to a handy sapling, with my kite bag preventing the loop from unwinding. Didn't think to do a tension check, since it was all a bit rushed on this occasion.

As the sun dropped, so did the wind strength. Inevitably, the barge-like Barn Door sank lower and lower. Ever hopeful, I encouraged it back up at one stage, but just ended up with a lot of line lying around on the grass... If this kite flies at all, it manages to pull the line quite flat nearly all the time. Very little sag in the 200 pound rated line.

A couple of firm pull-ins at the right moment helped the kite to touch down softly on its trailing edge, before flopping face-down to the grass.

The wind meter was not forgotten, registering an average of 10.1 kph gusting to 17.4 kph while perched on a large rock, which was about chest-high. 

A pleasant enough flight. But where is the really windy weather when you want it?!


Fresh Wind Barn Door In Its Element

The location we flew today is an interesting one in fresh Westerlies! That's because of the large and fairly high building which sits right next to the field. While we were rigging the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite in the lee of a small shelter, gusts came in from all directions, catching the kite sail. On the positive side, the rig was being done on a very handy patch of artificial grass. Nice and clean with no muddy mess.

After attaching twin drogue chutes, and then the flying line, the dark blue kite flitted around in the chaotic puffs of breeze. At every opportunity, I let out more line, gradually floating the kite towards the center of the field. Out there the wind was stronger and steadier. With 30 meters (100 feet) or so of line out, it was an easy matter to tug the kite into a long climb in the next hefty gust that came through.

Very soon, there was considerable tension in the flying line as the big Barn Door bit into the moderate-to-fresh breeze above 100 feet. Although I didn't get any wind speed readings on this occasion, the waving branches of large trees suggested speeds around 40 kph at times. Waves of leaf noise were another clue. You didn't have to be that close to a tree to hear it today!

On 60 meters (200 feet) of line, a couple of movies were taken, before letting the line out to 90 meters (300 feet). At this point I secured the line to a metal railing. At Aren's insistence I later tied in the spring scales as well, to give a continuous readout of line tension! The heaviest gusts were pulling 7 kg into the line.

Soon it was time to pack up and meet May (my wife) for Mother's Day coffee and cake at a nearby shopping center. I walked out to the kite, using our stainless steel carabiner to bring it down. After the de-rig, Aren had fun reeling in the line on its hose-reel. Nice flight!


Barn Door Kite To The Rescue

Winds appeared just light enough to give the big light-wind Rokkaku a go this morning. The kite had recently been refurbished with a heavier lower horizontal spar for more strength. After arriving at the field and rigging the kite, it became clear that conditions were not good for it after all.

Holding the wind meter at shoulder height, it soon registered a gust to 24kph. So I had to forget the Rok and reached for the backup kite!

The Fresh Wind Barn Door taking shape on the dry grass would revel in the gusty breeze, particularly with it's drogues on. In fact, I nearly always fly this kite with drogues since it is intentionally built somewhat heavier and hence is less stable than my other Multi-Dowel designs.

A little line-working soon had the kite well up on 30 meters (100 feet) of line. With a couple of short videos 'in the can', it was time to let out the line and have some fun...

Between 60 and 90 meters (200 and 300 feet) of line length I did a 'constant angle' climb-out. This was achieved by letting line slip just fast enough to prevent the kite rising higher than 45 degrees. At one point, some sinking air made it necessary to just hang on for half a minute or so to prevent the kite sinking, despite some hefty tension in the flying line.

Finally, I went to 120 meters (400 feet) of line, which placed the kite at roughly the legal ceiling over the field. The dark blue shape trailing bright orange 'chutes must have been spotted by dozens of motorists on the road beside the field. A large flying kite is not something you see every day, or even every month, in Adelaide.

For a couple of minutes, buoyed by rising air, the 6-sided kite rose a little higher. The long stretch of 200 pound Dacron took on a gentle S-bend as it was tugged by layers of wind blowing in different directions.

So, it turned out to be a very enjoyable outing after all, despite the Rok flight being thwarted! A final check with the wind meter showed an average of 14 kph and a gust to 26 kph, hence well over 30 kph higher up.


Sea-sick Barn Door Kite

This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30 kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...

In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.

It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously far from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.

Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.

A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9 kph gusting to 18.5 kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40 kph.


First Flight - Fresh Wind Barn Door Kite

Wind-wise it has been an interesting couple of days. Through yesterday, the breeze was averaging over 40 kph and gusting into the mid-60s. Then overnight it freshened up a bit more, averaging 50 kph and touching 80 at times!

Needless to say, the roads were a mess with branches and greenery torn off and strewn everywhere. Someone's paling fence had caved in. We woke up to find a small branch lying over the clothesline.

Anyway, down at the reserve just hours ago, things had settled down quite a bit. Gusts were merely in the mid 30s - a fraction too much for the original Multi-Dowel Barn Door. 

The Fresh Wind Barn Door has been based on the Multi-Dowel kite. Same dowel diameter, much less sail area, more bow and double-taped sail edging for added strength. Plus a giant hole right in the middle, just under the horizontal spar. All these features worked together to result in satisfyingly smooth flight in fresh gusty wind.

Actually, I had a little mishap early on, with a loop and nose-in while fiddling with the bridle adjustments. A couple of knots in the bow line increased the bow considerably, after which there were no more problems.

The kite was very stable and felt a lot like a large Box kite. Smooth strong tension but rapid height loss when the air pressure reduced.

Some minutes were spent with the kite soaring around on 60m (200 feet) of line before I let it out to 75 meters for a while.

Under strong pressure, the kite would sit on its left edge and descend until it reached slower air, before very deliberately and smoothly righting itself and climbing back up. A small bridle adjustment needed there, or perhaps a little wood shaved off the horizontal spar on one side.

When completely trimmed out, this kite should do very nicely for KAP work in breezes from 20 to perhaps 45 kph. On coming home and checking the weather site, it looked like gusts had been in the mid 30s.




What's New!

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    Dec 10, 17 08:19 PM

    Warm, breezy and sunny. That's how it often is at this time of year, far south of the equator... The monthly club fly at Semaphore had a center-piece of sorts. Mike had a big red Pilot kite with an ev…

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

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

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19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

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25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

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