How To Make A Parafoil Kite

Step-by-Step - Page 2 of 3

The MBK Parafoil


Attaching Lower Surface To Central Keel

The Parafoil kite - a Lower Surface panel taped to the Central Keel.A Lower Surface panel taped to the Central Keel
  • Referring to the photo on the left, position a Lower Surface shape along the black line on the keel. Face the shape's tape edging towards the floor as you line things up.
  • You know the drill. Hold in place with small bits of tape first, then run one long length of packing tape. As illustrated by the yellow rectangle.
  • Now flip the Lower Surface plastic over, flatten the join and run packing tape down the whole length. See the photo on the right.


Attaching Divider To Upper Surface

Note that the Divider is part of the plastic panel already attached to the Central Keel...

The Parafoil kite - divider taped to Upper Surface.Divider taped to Upper Surface
  • Look carefully at the photo. See how the Lower Surface plastic is drawn across and attached with packing tape – on one side only – to the nearest black line on the Upper Surface plastic. The yellow rectangles show where each edge of the Divider is taped, with small overlaps. One cell down, 3 to go!


Attaching Lower Surface Rectangle a)

The Parafoil kite - lower Surface rectangle taped to Divider.Lower Surface rectangle taped to Divider
  • With the edging tape facing the floor, line up the right-hand side of a Lower Surface Rectangle with the guide line on the Lower Surface plastic already in place.
  • Tape the join with packing tape over the full length. See the yellow rectangle in the photo on the left.
  • Flip the rectangle over to the right, flatten the join and tape it along the whole length. Again using packing tape. See the photo on the right.


Attaching Lower Surface Rectangle b)

The Parafoil kite - Lower Surface rectangle taped to Side Keel.Lower Surface rectangle taped to Side Keel
  • Line up the free edge of the Lower Surface rectangle with the guide line on the Side Keel of the Upper Surface plastic.
  • Lay down packing tape along the full length, as indicated by the yellow rectangle. As usual, you can make that easier by using a few short bits of sticky tape first. Half the sail is starting to look like a Parafoil, up the top there!


Completing The Lower Surface

The Parafoil kite - The entire Lower Surface attached.The entire Lower Surface attached
  • Starting from the page titled Attaching Lower Surface To Central Keel, work through all those steps again. This time on the other side of the kite.
  • When you are finished, all the plastic shapes should be used up and the result should look like the photo above. It's really starting to look like a Parafoil now!


Reinforcing Air Intake

Lay the kite down with the lower surface plastic against the floor.

View the kite from the front while lifting the upper surface plastic away from the floor a little.

Notice how there are 8 T-shapes in the air intake, including where the side keels meet the lower surface plastic. See below for a close-up of one such T-shape...

The Parafoil kite - where to tape air intake.Where to tape air intake
  • Find the top-center T-shape illustrated in the photo.
  • Using 5cm (2”) strips of sticky tape, wrap one strip around each of the 3 leading edges. The yellow lines in the photo should give you the right idea.
  • Repeat this process for all the other T-shapes. All this taping will help extend the life of the kite – especially in fresh winds!


Closing The Trailing Edge

The Parafoil kite - trimming and closing the rear end of the kite.Trimming and closing the rear end of the kite
  • At this point the rear end of the kite will be somewhat untidy – as in the first photo.
  • Draw a straight line across the trailing edge, skipping the Central Keel, as in the second photo.
  • Following the line, snip across both layers of plastic with scissors, as in the third photo. Again,skipping the Central Keel.
  • Finally, fold packing tape around the edge, on either side of the Central Keel. As in the fourth photo. Snip off any excess tape with scissors..


Drogue Attachment

The pictures show the tail end of the Central Keel...

The Parafoil kite - reinforcing and hole punched for drogue line.Reinforcing and hole punched for drogue line
  • Place a short strip of sticky tape across the corner at an angle as shown in the photo on the left. Wrap any overhang around to the other side. There is already another strip of sticky tape running along the bottom edge of the keel.
  • Flip the keel over and do the same on the other side.
  • Punch a hole through the plastic in an area not covered by sticky tape. The drogue line will be tied on here later.


Making The Bridle

Bridle Attachment Points

The Parafoil kite - attachment point tapes stuck on.Attachment point tapes stuck on
  • Place a 5cm (2") length of sticky tape over the free corner of the Central Keel as illustrated by the yellow rectangle in the top photo. Try not to let the tape stick to the floor or table-top.
  • Flip the keel over and stick another similar piece of tape right over the first one, pressing them together. See the more close-up bottom photo.
  • You know what's coming... Do exactly the same for the extreme left and right portions of the Upper Surface plastic, which in fact are the Side Keels.


Tying The Attachment Points

The Parafoil kite - attachment point tape crushed and tied.Attachment point tape crushed and tied
  • Cut off a piece of the flying line, 4.6m (15ft) long.
  • Tie one end of the line to a pair of towing point tapes on one Side Keel, as in the photo. Use any knot you know but make it tight, to crush the tape. A reliable method I prefer is to use a Double Wrap Slip knot. It helps to fold the tape in half before winding the line around and tightening the knot.
  • Tie the other end of the line to the other Side Keel attachment point, in the same way. This line is called the Bridle Loop.
  • Cut off another piece of flying line, this time 2.5m (8ft) long.
  • Tie one end of this line to the Central Keel attachment point, just like the others.


The Bridle So Far

The Parafoil kite - the Bridle Loop and Central Bridle Line attached to the sail.The Bridle Loop and Central Bridle Line attached to the sail
  • The above front-on photo just makes it clear where you should be up to. A long Bridle Loop connects the two side keels, while the Central Bridle Line is attached to the orange Central Keel. All 3 keels are folded in the photo.
  • With the kite suspended from the loop, the central line should be somewhat longer than the two side ones.



Tying The Central Bridle Line

The Parafoil kite - Central Bridle Line tied to Bridle Loop.Central Bridle Line tied to Bridle Loop
  • Using a sliding knot such as the Prusik, tie the Central Bridle Line to the middle of the Bridle Loop. The photo shows the keels partly suspended by all three bridle lines.



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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