Fun Sled Kite!

by Jolly
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

This was a really fun kite to try out! I bought the dowels and trash bags, but without being a careful shopper, the bags were shorter and thinner than expected. Also, my dowels were 3/16ths but of a cheaper wood, so one snapped under the really strong winds.

The construction of this sled kite was fairly simple, just adjusting the measurements for my 36 inch dowels and substituting on-hand packaging tape and 50 lb fishing line.

I layered the aforementioned short trash bags at their drawstrings, though if I were to make the design again i would cut the plastic drawstrings straight off. Also, my bags had seams that made it ugly to cut, so I'd make sure the side that forms the mid-line of the kite is the seamless side.

When I cut open the sail, the drawstrings were difficult to cut through, but a cool side effect was that it gave my kite streamers in its midsection. Ideally I'd use the drawstrings as tails for the kite.

Flight went well. My fishing line was 150m so I just let it all out. The park ranger came to let me know the height limit was 150 ft, but it was glorious to see it up there flapping about.

As I was reeling it in, its flight became more erratic, until it collapsed its profile and zigzagged its way to the ground. Once I finally reeled it all back in, I noticed one of the spars had snapped. I replaced the spar, but when flying the kite at low heights, albeit with a bit of ground cover behind me it kept turning prone and making its way to the ground.

One way of rectifying this was giving a bit of slack; it would resume vertical attitude and be fine. Another was making sure each guideline from the attachment point was the same distance. Perhaps adding tails could have helped? The sled kite performed best with the original spars and at very high altitudes.

The portability was nice. If I took my bike it would have been almost essential.

A passerby commented on my creativity, so thanks for that.

Overall a great first kite. I learned a lot and I'm interested in trying a few more and improving my results. It was fun although I should have followed the directions more closely.

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