Sled Kite Posts
(Fresh Wind)

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

In essence, the Fresh Wind Sled kite is a roughly 2/3 size copy, with 2 vents to relieve air pressure and smooth airflow over the back of the kite. The same diameter dowels are used however, so it is a very sturdy design which requires twin drogues to keep it stable over most of it's considerable wind range. Hence the photo must have been taken in fairly light wind!

These Sled 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 :-)


The MBK Fresh Wind Sled
The MBK Fresh Wind Sled

Fresh Wind Sled Pulls Hard

Turning up to my customary monthly Saturday afternoon at Knox Park, the sky was still threatening to rain and fresh gusts were moving tree-tops around. Having seen even worse weather earlier in the day, I had brought the Fresh Wind Sled and the Fresh Wind Barn Door kites along. To be on the safe side, the trusty hose-reel carrying 200 pound Dacron was also in the car.

Perhaps inspired by the sight of a kite in the sky, another flyer turned up almost immediately, with a medium-sized retail Diamond. This kite proceeded to cope quite well with the conditions, but was forced down by some of the heaviest gusts when a squall came through later.

Meanwhile, the big Sled just tightened up the line and rode the wind at a 60 degree line angle. Drogues and all! A few minutes with the spring scales attached revealed a maximum momentary pull of 11 kg. That must be a record for this kite! For much of the time, the tension hovered around 6 - 8 kg.

The wind speed peaked in the mid-twenties in kph between the two squalls that went over. During the squalls, it was more like the mid to high thirties. I actually took the kite down at one stage due to a light misty rain that began to fall. Thankfully the shower was short-lived and both kites - the Sled and the other guy's Diamond went up again.

The Sled had spent almost an hour on 100 meters (330 feet) of line. Not a bad outing, despite the Wintery feel.

Fresh Wind Sled At 300 Feet

This morning was meant to be another testing session but there was a possibility of severe gusts and some rain. Instead, I pulled out the Fresh Wind Sled and flew it on 200 pound line for a while.

Initially, the Sled meandered around just about level with the tree-tops upwind. This put it in slower and more chaotic air than was up higher - but the videos should be more appealing to those following along on FaceBook! Occasional gusts into the mid-thirties in kph tended to pull the Sled to the right. But I thought I would try it higher first...

On a longer line, the pull to the right was confirmed at least twice, when the kite uncharacteristically swerved all the way round in a great loop to the right. After a couple of quick bridle adjustments, the kite ended up nicely trimmed and promptly shot up to a high line angle. And that's where it stayed for half an hour or so. A check with the spring scales revealed a line tension hovering around just 3 or 4 kilograms, but popping up to 6 during the heaviest gusts.

Before leaving the field, I just had to let out more line so the kite could brush the legal altitude limit at just over 300 feet above the field. It sure was satisfying seeing the dark blue Sled flying so smooth and high, twin drogues trailing behind. One drogue line had twisted around the other, resulting in an uneven pull on the rear end of the kite. However, the effect of this must have been fairly small since the kite was high and quite straight.

While the sun peeked in and out between magnificent tall and puffy cumulus clouds, I ran the steel carabiner out to the big Sled, bringing it down. Just on impulse, I ran the carabiner all the way up the bridle lines too. Squeezing them together and thus collapsing the kite for packing away.

Fresh Wind Sled Comfortable With Drogues

Winds gusting into the high 20s provided another opportunity to test the new Fresh Wind Sled. This time round I was wiser and attached the two 30 centimeter (12 inch) drogues. They certainly did the job, keeping the kite very steady most of the time.

Launching proved a bit tricky in the wind shadow of some buildings and trees but soon the 1.5 meter (5 feet) tall dark blue Sled was powering up into the evening breeze. And a very gusty breeze it was too.

Often the kite was just hanging there, pulling a mere couple of kilos of line tension. At other times the kite would pull much harder when hit by strong gusts. The ones that were causing loud leaf noise and plenty of movement in the nearby tree-tops. This corresponded to 7 or even 8 kilos of line tension. Had the spring scales hooked on for a while, you see...

It seems this kite should handle a steady 30 or 35 kph with the drogues. It also helped that I managed to trim out a leftward lean by pulling the bridle knot across a bit! Importantly, the strongest gusts just made the kite rise higher and pull harder. A good sign - as long as everything holds together!

Although I was too busy taking photos and video to let more than 30 meters (100 feet) of line out, it was a gratifyingly trouble-free period of kite flying today. It might not be long before a KAP report will feature this kite as the lifter.

Fresh Wind Sled Thrown In The Deep End

Today was a good opportunity to test whether my cut-down version of the huge Multi-Dowel Sled would do well in strong wind. Well, it turned out to be a torture test alright...

A brief foray out to just 15 meters (50 feet) of line revealed an oversight - the 1.5 meter (5 feet) spars were only secured at the top and bottom ends and needed more attachment points to the sail. Particularly in strong and gusty conditions! In fact, I think it would be a good idea to secure them all the way from top to bottom. Can't be too safe when the sail pressure really piles on. I have seen Sled spars bend outwards as the kite approaches its limits.

After whacking on a few extra bits of tape in several spots along the side spars, the dark blue Sled leaped into the air once again.

No chance of doing KAP in these winds - at least without a couple of drogues attached. The Sled was less stable than its Multi-Dowel cousin, due to the higher sail loading. But the extra strength was required, and this kite will be flown with drogues most of the time.

The kite eventually crashed into the field during a tight loop low down, splitting the sail in a couple of places. No broken dowels though. All in all, I think with drogues attached, this kite might be a decent KAP work-horse in winds ranging from about 15 kph up to the mid-thirties.

The spars are one-piece, so rig time is zero. Unless you count the few seconds spent attaching the flying line. Perhaps the big Box would be safer and even steadier between 30 and 40 kph, but the darn thing takes so long to rig!

Today, at shoulder level, a brief wind meter check recorded an average of 16 kph with gusts to 29 kph. Meanwhile, the online weather station reported higher-level gusts to 37 kph down here at Noarlunga.

Making The MBK Dowel Sled Kite is a handy e-book of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Big Box In Booming Air

    Jan 19, 19 02:53 AM

    Remarkable. Before leaving for the field, the online weather station reported 20kph gusting to 28kph. And then on arriving back, again, the speeds were 20kph gusting to 28kph! However, the direction w…

    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

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