Making The Lines
Bridle lines knotted and cut to length
Take some 20 pound Dacron flying line and tie
a Simple Loop
knot into the free end, as in the top photo.
- Anchor the loop to something fairly narrow
and cut off the line at exactly 40cm (15 3/4”). As illustrated in
the middle photo.
- Now make another seven bridle lines to
the same length. Anchor the lines one by one with the first line
so you can accurately snip off a new one at the right length.
- Repeat this process to make another group of
8 lines – but this time all 42cm (16 1/2”) in length.
- Repeat once more to make a group of 8 lines
that are 48.5cm (19”) in length. All three groups of lines are
shown in the bottom photo.
If you mark the first piece of line in each group with black marker,
right at the un-tied end, it will be easier to use it as a template
for cutting all the other pieces to the same length. Black next to
white is easy to see!
Attaching The Bridle Lines
Steps to attach a bridle line
Take one of the shortest (40cm) lines already
prepared. Push the looped end through one of the attachment points
nearest the leading edge of the canopy. See the first photo,
- Pass the other end of the line through the
loop, as in the second photo.
- Pull tight – without damaging the
attachment point of course. See the third photo.
All bridle lines attached
Continue attaching 40cm lines until the whole
row is done. See the top photo.
- Attach the mid-length (42cm) lines to the
next row of attachment points. See the middle photo.
- Finally, attach the longest (48.5cm) lines to
the remaining row of attachment points. As in the bottom photo
up there. Now, all 24 bridle lines are attached to the underside of
Tying The Bridle Lines
Three bridle lines of different lengths tied together
Bring the lines attached to a group of three
attachment points together. See the photo on the left, of a corner
of the canopy.
- Line up the ends of the lines with each
other, before tying them with a Multi-Strand
Simple knot. See the close-up in the photo on the right. You
might be able to get the lengths more even than I did!
See the photo below, where all eight groups of
lines have been tied. The knots are a little hard to spot, but have
been arranged near the top edge of the photo.....
All 8 bridle line groups tied off
Bridle Line Groups
Taping the bridle line groups of half the canopy
Bring four groups of lines together, from one
half of the canopy. See the photo on the left. Try to keep
the ends (not the knots!) level with each other.
- Wind electrical tape around a few times, just
covering the knots. See the photo on the right.
- Do the same for the four groups of lines on
the other side. See the photo below for a view of the whole
bridle at this point...
Bridle – both sides taped
The two sides of the bridle connected
Cut off 30cm (12”) of line and tie a Loop
knot into both ends. The size of the loops is not too important,
so just be guided by the top photo.
- Attach each loop behind the electrical tape
on the bridle lines, as shown in the bottom photo. Use Lark's
Although this connecting line – and the next line also, below –
are shown in 20 pound strength, it would really be a better idea to
use 30 or 50 pound line instead. These lines will take the full
tension of the kite in flight!
The bridle completed
Again, cut off a piece of flying line 30cm
- Tie a Double
Loop knot into one end. On the far left, in the top
photo above. Do a Simple
knot at the other end – just barely visible in the photo.
- Tie the end with the Simple knot around the
middle of the bridle connecting line with a Prusik
knot – or any other sliding knot. See the bottom photo.
The Brake Lines
To add a touch of realism to this parachute kite,
it will have 2 brake lines attached to the trailing edge. These can
be used to trim out a turning tendency, if required...
Tape stuck to upper surface of trailing edge
- Take a 8cm (3”) length of sticky tape and
stick half of it to the upper side of the trailing edge. The tape is
aligned with the next rib in from the tip. The tip-rib can be seen
in orange above.
Brake line attached to trailing edge
- Tie a Loop
knot into an 80cm (32”) length of 20 pound flying line. Tie a
into the other end, just to stop the tip from fraying. Thread the
tape through the loop as shown in the photo on the left.
- Fold the tape under and stick it to the lower
surface plastic. To prevent splitting of the tape, fold around a
couple more pieces of tape. Just like the first one, but they can be
much shorter. The loop is now attached to the trailing edge, as in
the photo on the right. The tape is quite invisible in that
Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...
Both brake lines attached
- Using the steps already done, add another
brake line to the canopy. One rib in from the other tip rib.
- Flip the canopy over and tie each brake line
just behind the electrical tape nearest to it – red-colored and
near the middle in the photo above. Use Half-Hitches,
since these are easy to loosen off and re-tie if necessary.
Both brake lines should be left quite slack when the kite is
suspended from it's bridle. If the kite has a tendency to turn or
lean in one direction during flight, you can tighten one line
to make that side more 'draggy' and hence cure the problem.
For yet another touch of realism, you can add a
drogue 'chute. This is entirely optional! Just for looks. On a
full-size canopy, this is what drags the main 'chute out of it's
Measuring The Drogue
Measured and dots marked
- Place some plastic
on the floor. I went with the rib color – orange plastic. Fold it
in half from left to right and run a sharp, straight crease down the
left hand side.
- Starting from near the top-left corner,
measure and mark dots on the plastic. Follow the arrows – see the
photo on the left. Dots have been highlighted in yellow.
- Flip all the plastic over. Smooth out the 2
layers of plastic, double-checking that the vertical crease stays in
- Make dots over all the dots showing through
the 2 layers of plastic. See the photo on the right.
Completing The Drogue
Lines marked and drogue shape cut out
- Open out the sheet of plastic and lay it
- Connect the dots with marked lines as
shown in the photo on the left.
- With scissors, cut all around the outline.
See the photo on the right.
Square piece of plastic scrunched up and attached to line with tape
- Cut out a 10cm x 10cm (4” x 4”) square of
sail plastic, scrunch it up and attach it to the free end of some
flying line with sticky tape. The tape should also hold the ball of
plastic together. See the photo.
Folded and taped drogue
- Place the ball of plastic inside the
cut-out drogue plastic.
- Fold up the corners around the plastic ball
and secure with a few turns of sticky tape. The line should exit
where the corners came together. See the photo.
Attaching Drogue To Canopy
Drogue attached to trailing edge of canopy
- Cut off the flying line about 60cm from the
ball of plastic and attach it to the trailing edge of the canopy,
right in the middle. Use a Loop knot plus sticky tape, just like you
did for the brake lines. See the photo up there.
Kite laid out, showing the Upper Surface
Lay the kite down, stretched to full width,
with the Upper Surface plastic on top.
- Take the drogue and place it near the leading
edge of the kite, right in the middle. Now the kite should look
like the photo up there.
Remaining steps to pack away without tangles!
- Take the left hand edge of the canopy and
fold it to the right until it lines up with the opposite edge. See
the first photo.
- Starting from the left hand side, roll the
plastic into a narrow tube. Notice how the left and right sets of
bridle lines are kept separate by this process. There's the rolled
up kite in the second photo.
- Fold the tube up from bottom to top. Then
insert the tube into a suitable plastic bag for storage or transport
to the flying field.
Attach line, inflate, let out line
After unrolling the kite at a flying field, your
flying line can be tied through the Loop knot of the bridle. That's
it, you're ready to fly.
Alternatively, you can Lark's
Head the flying line behind the knot. This makes it easier
to attach the flying line and take it off again.
If the kite needs it, in fresh winds,
adjust one of the brake lines to keep it flying straight. For
example, if the kite seems to spend a lot of time leaning to the
left, you need to tighten the brake line on the right – as seen
from the flier's perspective. Experiment until the kite behaves
itself. The other brake line should have some slack in it –
while the kite is flying.
Hope you enjoyed learning how to make my 14-Cell
Parachute kite design!
Consider using my e-book Making Soft Kites to try any of the 5 spar-less designs in there. Hi-res, close-up photos help you through.
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