Kites: Site Blog

Welcome to this fun and educational Site Blog page on kites.

Keeping you up to date with our Flight Report posts and local kite club activities. Plus interesting kite-related news stories from around the world. Finally, there will be occasional contributions from visitors, which often includes photos or links to videos.

My own Flight Report videos pop up on the MBK Facebook page nearly every week.

Clicking on the orange button up there on the left will ensure you never miss a post. Running your cursor over that button will also bring up alternative ways to subscribe. Use whatever is most familiar to you.

Mobile users: You'll need to scroll right down or click the navigation button to find the orange RSS button.

(P.S. Just once a week, a good quality older page will pop up here too, so it doesn't stay buried forever. Always a good read!)

Here's all the latest posts - enjoy....

Feb 17, 2018

Flight Report:
Gulls Rok Their World

That was the most interesting thing to happen during the main flight today...

Two sea-gulls briefly interacted with the Paper Rokkaku kite as the slowly freshening breeze pushed it close to it's current limitations. The gulls hovered very close, peering at the kite as it swirled about within a small area. One gull flinched as the kite's tail flicked in it's direction. Or perhaps the gull had flown into the kite's wake in the 18kph airstream. How do you say all that in 5 words or less? See the title :-)

The flight had started in a very promising way, the little Rok launching straight up in a very smooth 14 to 16kph breeze off the sea. The sail alterations and side tails were evidently making a big difference, compared to the last outing.

After taking some video with the kite on a fairly short line, I walked closer to the waves and set the bag down on some slightly damp sand...

With the kite on nearly 30m (100 feet) of polyester thread now, it continued to fly well. Reaching a pleasing 50 degrees of line angle at times. Hey, it's just copier paper! However, the wind speed seemed to be creeping up.

The freshening breeze was handy since I was planning to shift to another beach further North later, where the breeze was currently stronger. The idea being to test the whole wind range of the kite.

As it turned out, the breeze ended up reaching 18kph gusting to 21kph. This was a little too much, with the cream-colored kite S-turning and throwing the occasional loop or three to the right.

It was interesting being able to follow the behavior of the kite as it changed in close synch with the readings on the wind meter. At this point there was no reason to go to the other location to chase more wind!

A little more tightening of the sail plus more length on the side tails should push the Paper Rokkaku's capability well into the Moderate range. Then, I can start logging air time and putting the kite through it's certification trials.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Feb 16, 2018

Flight Report:
Rok - Paper Sheet Perplexities!

So confident that the changes made would increase stability, I didn't bother with transferring the side-tails from the previous prototype...

However, down at the beach in a perfect breeze for tsting, the Paper Rokkaku still had a very limited wind range. The side tails will definitely be necessary.

At just the right wind speed, the Rok would accelerate straight up - only to descend again shortly after. Tight S-turns and loops to either side resulted when the gust put on just a few extra kph. Not good.

I didn't waste much more time down there, but noticed that the paper sail was not billowing anything like a traditional Rok does. Instead, the semi-rigid paper was holding almost no dihedral across the middle. It's simply the way a solid sheet behaves when bent around 2 axes at once, where the axes are at 90 degrees to one another... To simulate a traditional Rokkaku, this kite has dihedral in the horizontal spars AND the vertical spar or spine.

Back at home, it was clear that some extra side-area might be obtained by cutting in from the sides and overlapping the resulting edges by just a few millimeters. This caused the side edge of the sail to go nearly in a straight line from one horizontal spar tip down to the other spar tip. Viewed from the side, the kite definitely had more area to help it weather-cock into wind.

These changes plus those extra side tails, should help. From this point on, it will be a matter of piling on more tail length until the darn thing behaves itself right up to 28kph!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Feb 14, 2018

Diamond Kite Plans

This previously published page displays detailed plans for the Dowel Diamond, the 2-Skewer Diamond and the 1-Skewer Diamond kites. The Dowel and 2-Skewer versions are amazing in light wind! ...

Continue reading "Diamond Kite Plans"

Feb 14, 2018

Flight Report:
Between A Rok And A Hard Call

With a refitted and rather fancy vertical spar, there were no strength issues today.

The Paper Rokkaku kite performed better today than ever before. High flying at times in the gusty Gentle to Moderate breeze and no spar failures at all. In fact, during one furious gust, the kite managed to snap the polyester thread!

Bottom side corner tails were added after being cut from the previous prototype. That certainly helped stability but this design is still quite twitchy near the top of it's wind range. To the point of forcing the kite way down low during tight loops and S-turns.

It's a hard call. Making all the spars lighter will help stability - at the cost of strength. Adding yet more tail will also help - at the cost of extra weight. Increasing the dihedral angle will help too - at the cost of raising the kite's minimum wind speed. All-paper kites are a challenge!

So ... perhaps a small tweak to all 3 factors will do the trick! That way, the changes to strength and weight will be minimal while there should be a solid increase in stability from all 3 factors working together. It means building up a complete new kite though *sigh*.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Feb 13, 2018

Flight Report:
Rok With A Spinal Injury

That just about sums it up...

The Paper Rok is in the process of test it / break it / test it again. This time it was the spine - the vertical spar - that gave way. I had a feeling the current dimensions were a little optimistic. So, I'm going to try the same approach as used by the horizontal spars. Nice and wide in the middle and tapering to quite thin out at the sail corners.

Even with ample dihedral, this little Rok is going to need tails on the lower sail corners to damp out 'the flicks'. Descriptive enough? The main tail does a reasonable job most of the time but is less effective when the kite is at low line angles.

It's a pity to make the design more complex, but it will probably help a lot to introduce a slight kink in the vertical spar. This would have the same effect as the graceful curve that a traditional Rok takes on when under pressure. With rigid paper spars of course, there's no bending! Holding a slight angle between 2 straight bits is the best you can do.

Hopefully I can put together a new vertical spar and retro-fit it to the current kite tomorrow. Perhaps there will be time to fly as well...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Feb 11, 2018

Flight Report:
Perfect Weather For Club Kiting

Weather prediction and reality came together perfectly...

The temperature was in the mid-20's and a sea-breeze averaged around 20 kph, making for absolutely ideal kite-flying conditions last Sunday at Semaphore Park.

Most of us arrived around 1pm and soon had kites in the air with ridiculous ease. Anything would fly in this wind!

First up were a couple of large parafoils. Red and yellow 8 square-meter Peter Lynn Pilot kites. Mark put up the yellow kite while Mike added a large inflatable Hammerhead Shark as line laundry under the red parafoil.

I soon had the little MBK Parachute waving about on just enough line to stay clear of a tree downwind - and the 2 parafoils. Trev also joined in with the small Pterodactyl, tip tails gleaming in the sun. Mark had also added a purple Elephant foil to the fray. OK, the foil was rather stylized, the most recognizable elephantine feature being the trunk/tail! Eyes and tusks were mere graphics and don't even ask about the 'ears'. Anyhow, the purple curiosity flew well enough and helped entertain the pedestrians along the footpath. Cristina had a foil Bird kite in the air on quite a short line.

By this time, the odd mobile phone was making an appearance, with people snapping pictures of the colorful aerial show.

Since the grassy area was becoming crowded with kite lines, some of us retreated to the sandy beach with more kites...

With Aren's help, I used a calico shopping bag as a sand anchor and put up 4 Tyvek Diamonds. Not being able to use my broken winder with it's 100 pound line, I ended up using 50 pound Dacron for the Diamond train. Four kites was plenty in the Moderate breeze, which was already causing the tightly stretched line to sing!

A little further up the beach a couple of soft 2-line stunt kites were being put through some aerobatics.

I've probably missed a kite or 2 but it was a great outing for the club. Perfect weather prevailed and nearly everyone had several kites up at once.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Feb 11, 2018

Global News Report:
Kites In Cyprus on Green Monday

A lot of kite-related news comes out of India and the USA, so it's good to report on other corners of the globe when it comes up...

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With Green Monday only a few Mondays away – three to be exact – the kids are probably already asking for their kites to prepare for the day when we all head to the fields and beaches to fly our kites and celebrate the start of Lent.

Instead of getting a store-bought kite, you might want to consider a kite-making workshop day for the whole family on Sunday, January 11, organised by the Leventis Museum in Nicosia, together with the Nicosia branch of the Red Cross.

This is the third year in a row that the We Make Kites workshop is being held at the museum. Just like in the two previous years, the museum invites grandparents, parents and children to construct traditional kites under the guidance of museum staff.

The idea is that the older generation works with the younger one to create a joint kite. While the creative process is going on and the kites are made using traditional methods and materials, grandparents will have the chance to tell their grandchildren about the Green Monday traditions. In this way, children learn from their grandparents and parents and traditions are passed on in a constructive and entertaining way.

The cost is €20 per family which includes materials. All proceeds from the event will go to support the humanitarian program of the Red Cross.For families who would like to make a kite the traditional way but cannot make the workshop, a package with the materials for kite construction will be available from the Nicosia branch of the Red Cross from Monday, February 12 for €15.

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SOURCE: Cypus Mail (online)

URL (full story and/or photos, video): http://cyprus-mail.com/2018/02/03/get-ready-green-monday-home-made-kite/

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"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Feb 09, 2018

Make A Minimum Tetra Kite - A Paper Single-Cell Tetrahedral!

How to make a minimum tetra kite from only copier paper and ordinary sticky tape. This tiny tetrahedral with twin tails flies well in Moderate strength wind. If made accurately, the design will also zip around in Fresh wind.

Continue reading "Make A Minimum Tetra Kite - A Paper Single-Cell Tetrahedral!"

Feb 09, 2018

Flight Report: Minimum Tetra Kite - Posing In Warm Gusty Air

Imagery of the new MBK Minimum Tetra kite design was needed so out I went and flew the kite in a warm gusty breeze. Mission accomplished, with photos and a video clip on this page.

Continue reading "Flight Report: Minimum Tetra Kite - Posing In Warm Gusty Air"

Feb 07, 2018

Dragon Kites

This previously published page gives an introduction to the traditional centipede-style Chinese Dragon kite. Illustrated of course! ...

Continue reading "Dragon Kites"

 

Comments

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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E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
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More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"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."

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"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."

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"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."

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"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!"

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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





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