Tie the other end around the central
bridle line with a Prusik
knot, or any other sliding knot. See the photo above, which
also shows the sliding knot on the bridle loop.
The central bridle line is the one running off to the right, between
the other two lines of the bridle loop.
Bridle knots adjusted
Lay the kite down with all three bridle
attachment points as close together as possible. Weigh the keels
down with a mug or other handy weight. See the upper photo.
Pull on the short bridle line to stretch the
other bridle lines out.
Adjust both of the Prusik knots until
everything is laying straight, with no slackness in any line. See
the lower photo. Double check that the attachment points on
the keels are still all in the same spot.
The kite should fly like this, although you
can experiment with fine tuning later—for example, to correct a
tendency to pull to the left during gusts.
The Plastic and Tape
This parafoil copes much better with fresh
winds when a small drogue is attached to the rear of the central
Start with a piece of plastic, at least 30 cm x
30 cm square. Fold the plastic in half, down the middle, with the
crease on the left. I have used orange plastic to contrast with my
mainly blue kite.
One side of the drogue measured and cut
Photo 1: Make a mark on the crease
near the top. Then measure from there as indicated in the photo,
making dots on the plastic.
Photo 2: Using marker and pen, rule
black lines to connect the dots.
Photo 3: Flip the plastic over and
trace over the lines showing through.
Photo 4: Open out the plastic and cut
the lines with scissors. There's one half of your drogue!
The second side copied and cut
Lay the shape you have just cut out over some
more plastic and mark the four corners. See the photo on the left.
Draw lines between the marks to duplicate the
shape as in the middle photo.
Cut the second shape out—there it is with
the first one, in the photo on the right.
Seams and leading edge taped
Bring two of the long edges together as in the
photo on the left and tack them together with bits of sticky
tape. Also run sticky tape across the two top edges of the
Run packing tape down the middle,
which is also indicated in the photo on the left. Trim any
overhanging tape with scissors.
Keeping all the tape on the outside of
the drogue, tack the outer two long edges together with bits of sticky
tape before running packing tape down the entire length. See the
photo on the right.
Bridle holes added
Stick squares of packing tape where
indicated in the photo on the left.
Punch holes in the plastic where the edges of
sticky tape and packing tape meet. Black dots show where the holes
are and the tape edges are highlighted in yellow. See the photo on
Flip the plastic over and add packing tape
squares and holes to the other side too. So, you should end up with
four holes in the drogue altogether. Ideally, the holes should be
equally spaced around the rim.
Firstly the four-point bridle lines:
How to thread and secure drogue bridle lines
Cut off two pieces of 20-pound Dacron or
nylon line, each to a length of 120 cm (47 in.). See the top
Slip one line through a pair of holes in the
drogue. The middle photo shows how. Try to get the lengths as
equal as possible.
Secure the line with a strip of sticky tape,
as shown in the bottom photo.
Flip the plastic over and secure the other
line through the other pair of holes similarly.
Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end of this page.
Drogue lines brought together and knotted
Hang the drogue from your hand, and adjust so
the seams are hanging perfectly vertical. See the photo on the left.
Put a couple of Multi-Strand
Simple knots into the lines, fairly close to the ends. Trim the
ends with scissors for a neat look. See the photo on the right.
The tether connecting central keel and the drogue
Cut off a piece of 100-pound line to a length
of 3 m (10 ft.) and tie a Loop
knot into one end. See the upper photo. Heavier line is
just easier to handle and see; that sort of strength certainly
isn't needed here!
Pass the unknotted end of the line through
the hole in the rear end of the central keel and secure with several
Secure the other end to the drogue bridle
with a Lark's
Head, behind the first knot. See the lower photo.
Fold, roll, fold twice more, and wind bridle
Fold the kite in half, down the centerline.
As in the top photo. If you have the drogue attached,
just lay it flat over the keel. The tether line can go in too,
Roll from the top down into a narrow tube—as
in the middle photo. Out in the field, it's best to have the
wind on your back and roll away from you!
Starting from the left, fold in half and then
fold in half again.
Wind the bridle lines around, as in the
bottom photo. Now it's all ready to stow!
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.
Avoid flying in very windy weather.
If the kite seems to be moving around a lot due to
higher wind speeds, attach the drogue. Of course, for simplicity, you
can just leave the drogue on all the time. It looks good too, hanging
out the back!
If the kite is struggling to stay up in light
wind, try using lighter flying line and take the drogue off.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to make my four-cell
parafoil kite design and its drogue!
As mentioned earlier, there's more kite making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)
Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads — printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.