Kites, Bikes and Picnics

The 2015 Event

A local kite business had organized Kites, Bikes and Picnics and had advertised the event via the usual social media channels. Where there are kites flying, the MBK camera follows! And often a fair turnout of local AKFA (Adelaide Kite Fliers Association) members too.

Aren (9) and I turned up for a look, although not equipped with our really large kites this time. Just a couple of 2-Skewer designs sitting on the back seat, ready for a quick fly with no setup/rigging necessary.

First impressions... Well, it was pretty much the modern concept of 'kite flying' - small kids flying small commercial kites, aided by patient parents and a few grand-parents. But wait - there's a big Delta. And higher up, a large single-line parafoil was trailing twin tails in the light variable breeze...

Just a couple of AKFA members were present initially, but it looked like they (or the organizers!) might have done a good job advising the kids that you just need to stand still most of the time. Let the kite fly itself, unless there really is 'not enough wind'.

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Here's the two AKFA kites that were aloft when we arrived at 'Kites, Bikes and Picnics'...

Small Kids, Small Kites

One little fellow was having trouble with one of those popular paper-and-straw (as in drinking-straw) home-made designs. As far as I could tell, his father correctly diagnosed the problem as 'not enough tail'. 6 to 10 times the length of a fairly small kite is sometimes the tail length necessary!

There are exceptions to small kites needing lots of tail. Notably, those exquisitely designed and engineered 'miniatures'. With sufficient accuracy and a suitable design, kites smaller than your hand can fly without any tail at all.

With the breeze dropping out from time to time, helpers were kept busy re-launching kites into the next gust that came along. Of course, sometimes it was the opposite problem, with a kid over-speeding a kite whilst running into the breeze! One side bends a little more than the other and round the kite goes - smack into the grass. The sort of treatment fiberglass and rip-stop nylon designs can put up with time and again. They might not fly nearly as well as tissue and bamboo, but they certainly are tougher.

Eagle kites were popular at Kites, Bikes and Picnics. At one stage there were a couple of these birds in the air at once, almost side by side. One of these became tangled in its own line as it blew over a few times on the ground. A small voice behind said 'thank-you!' as I unwound the fiberglass and nylon bird and set it free to soar once more.

Another would-be kite flier of very tender age was spotted trotting off downwind. Naturally, the kite started drifting to the ground with so little 'wind beneath its wings'. A few words to both him and his helper set things straight and soon the kite was up where it belonged.

Fun fun fun!

Our Barn Door Kite

After getting plenty of camera-work out of the way, it was time to fly. Actually, it was Aren who ended up doing most of the string-holding. He had become enthused by seeing other kids having a great time keeping their novelty kites in the air.

We walked back to the car and grabbed the 58cm (2ft) span 2-Skewer Barn Door, which features a simple ribbon tail looped from one side of the trailing edge to the other. Up it went, the plastic and bamboo-skewer construction ideal for the light and variable conditions.

We also had the 2-Skewer Delta in the car. But deltas are so common now, why not go for something other people might find more interesting!

The bright orange Barn Door flew well most of the time, listing to the left a bit during some of the stronger wind gusts. Aren did well to coax the kite back into the air when the breeze strength went the other way and dropped out.

On around 150 feet of 20-pound Dacron line, the kite was holding about 100 feet over the field. Eventually the Barn Door came down nose-first into a wet cordoned-off patch of grass. With a spar poking through an old piece of tape and needing repair we then called it a day.

Check out our Making Skewer Kites e-book, if you have any sort of DIY kite-making urges. These are very low-cost but high-performing designs. Easily repaired too, so you can keep them flying for many months or even years - like ours!

Henley Grange Memorial Oval

A very good venue, here in Adelaide, South Australia, for an event like Kites, Bikes and Picnics. The field size was ample, extending well past the usual confines of a traditional oval-shaped 'oval'. Most of the perimeter was free of large trees and obstacles. In fact, on the day, the wind direction put the larger buildings and tallest foliage directly downwind. Thus, launching kites was easy in the relatively smooth and uninterrupted breeze.

Free As A Bird Kites did a nice public service by putting on such an event and managed to get plenty of people to attend. It would appear they sold a decent number of kites on the day, as well! Their colorful display was a focal point. See below...

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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. The Dowel Rokkaku Kite

    Oct 17, 18 06:00 AM

    This previously published page is a flight report featuring the 1.2m (4ft) span Dowel Rokkaku kite. Read how the kite performs in light winds and thermals...

    Read More


Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

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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 breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
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