Kites: Site Blog

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

  • Our latest Flight Report posts and local kite club activities.
  • Interesting kite-related news stories from around the world.
  • Occasional contributions from visitors, which often includes photos or links to videos.
  • 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!

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

So, how do you subscribe to this blog page? Running your cursor over the orange RSS square down there on the right will bring up several ways to subscribe. Click/tap on whatever option is most familiar to you and you'll never miss a post!

Jan 23, 2020

Global News Report:
It's Raining Kites!

Titled "Mysterious kites fall into Palm Bay neighborhood", it's quite funny... The people interviewed had no idea about kite-fighting and all the string-cutting that results :-) ...

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Edgar Colon and his daughter, Arabella, have an eye for spotting them now. His Ring doorbell sees them too. Dozens of bright, handmade kites, falling from the sky over his Palm Bay neighborhood.

"Some of them got markings," he said.

They're in the trees, in people's pools, on top of homes, some are even caught in power-lines.

"We drive around. You see the garbage cans full of kites," Colon said.

He says Florida Power and Light was there, warning residents not to try to move them themselves for fear of electrocution.

That's not the only safety issue. The kites are easy to spot, but the strings attached to them are not.

"You can't see these from far away at all," Arabella said.

Colon worries that his neighbors who ride ATVs near them can get hurt. He said it all started Sunday afternoon.

"Kites keep showing up in the houses and we're like, 'Where the hell are they coming from?'" Colon said.

Colon says he came home to find hundreds of them in the sky over his home.

He thinks the kites were flown as part of a festival at a nearby community park.

Because of the strong winds that day, Colon suspects that's what made them come crashing down.

He reached out to the City of Palm Bay, who maintains the area, but offices were closed over the weekend and on Monday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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SOURCE: FOX 35 Orlando

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/mysterious-kites-fall-into-palm-bay-neighborhood

Jan 22, 2020

Kite Racing

This previously published page is an introduction to the sport for the uninitiated...

Continue reading "Kite Racing"

Jan 21, 2020

Flight Report:
A Star In The Sky

The MBK Skewer Star of course ;-) Having completed a set of illustrated step-by-step instructions for website visitors, it was time to illustrate how the kite flew by taking some video...

In sunny and mild conditions and with some movement evident in tree-tops, I was expecting an easy fly.

However, on arrival at the field the NNE breeze was barely there. Thermals accounted for the occasional ruffling of leaves in the trees, but such gusts were short-lived. The Star wouldn't stay up. Compared to my 2-Skewer designs, this Star is a little heavier and hence not a great light-wind flyer.

All was not lost though. Some 15 minutes after arriving, a sudden movement of air from the west signaled a change in conditions. Although still fairly light overall, there was now a much more consistent breeze.

The Skewer Star started spending much more time above the grass than lying on it!

Several movies were duly taken. Some clips featured the kite drifting all the way to the ground. But a longer flight on over 150 feet of 20 pound line showed what the kite could do. By now the sky was starting to fill with puffy cumulus clouds which as a backdrop highlighted every move of the kite.

The Skewer Star, with it's zero-dihedral in the upper half, required very fine adjustment of the upper bridle knot to trim it perfectly straight. Otherwise, a vice would show up which saw it head over to one side and then roll inverted into an utterly unrecoverable dive. Not the greatest ad for my designs, so perhaps a bow-string across the upper spars might be in order!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Jan 20, 2020

How To Make A Star Kite From Plastic And Bamboo BBQ Skewers!

Learn how to make a star kite from just bag plastic and bamboo BBQ skewers! It's a good looking Light to Moderate wind flyer with enough tail.

Continue reading "How To Make A Star Kite From Plastic And Bamboo BBQ Skewers!"

Jan 17, 2020

Flight Report:
Indoor Canard Near-Disaster

Just prior to getting some in-flight photos, I came close to re-doing the whole kite from scratch...

Going back a few steps: After printing out the spar shapes and applying most of the sticky tape on both sides, 1 strip of tape contacted the paper in the wrong spot by accident. Hoping for the best, I carefully peeled it off before applying another strip of tape. Unfortunately, the errant strip had taken a layer of paper with it! Even more unfortunately, the weak spot was at a critical part of the vertical spar. Right near the towing point :-|

Call me lazy, but I didn't re-print the spars and re-do all the taping. Tsk tsk tsk.

So, the construction went to completion and there I was in the living-room, doing a few pull-up launches to test the towing point position. And wouldn't you know it, on one of those rather unremarkable launches, the kite promptly folded in half. Ooops. It looked like the vertical spar was definitely below par.

But the solution was easy - just add a bit more tape over the weakened area. This I did, only to discover moments later that part of the upper sail had been caught up with the tape. Grr. Things didn't get much better as I attempted to separate the fold of plastic from the tape.

To cut a long story short as they say, the damage to the upper sail didn't show up too badly in the in-flight photo that was finally selected. And the little canard still put in some very nice flights around the house, stable and steep. Quite a few tow-ups were done while taking 1 photo per flight, with flash. And then a few more extended flights were made simply to enjoy the fruits of my labors :-)

As with the other designs in the Indoor Series, it would be hard to pick any difference in performance between this 'printable' kite and the slightly larger one built from the free online instructions.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Jan 16, 2020

Global News Report:
Kite Safety - Indian Style

The big day (Makar Sankranti) has passed, but I thought you might enjoy this perspective on the unique dangers of flying simple and not particularly large single-liners during the country-wide kite fight...

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During Makar Sankranti people across India fly kites and celebrate the harvest festival in a fitting way. In Gujarat, people make it a big festival when the State Government sponsors kite flying competitions. Even foreigners participate in the celebrations.

However, the dangers relating to kite flying are too many. First and foremost, one should know his/her surroundings and watch where they are going. Tripping and falling can actually result in some rather serious injuries including head trauma and broken bones in the most severe circumstances. Even in the less severe circumstances, bad cuts and sprains are certainly no walk in the park and give a you testing time. Having your throat slit is statistically very rare but it obviously can occur when flying a kite as evidenced above.

If the wind takes hold of your kite and causes it to crash, it could also cause harm to another person such as hitting them very hard on the head. This could cause just bruising or if it hits them in the eye, a very serious and potentially life-threatening injury might occur.

Do not fly a kite near power lines because if it gets entangled in these power lines, electrocution is a possibility. Standard power lines carry thousands of volts of electricity and this can be fatal to a human. If you ever have a kite that gets away from you and ends up in power lines, do not attempt to retrieve it yourself. Instead, call the utility company and notify them right away. They will come out and remove it. We do not read media reports of kite-related deaths daily or even monthly but they can and do happen.

When you are flying a kite, practice safety to ensure that your next kite-flying adventure remains fun for everyone involved. Safety is of foremost importance when you fly kites. The manja used for flying kites is sharp one and can cause damage to the human limps and animals as well. Even when a kite is flying high and in the competition, is cut by another kite, then the remaining manja along with the kite drags around the busy streets. It sometimes crosses the railway lines and children in their own spirit go to catch the kite. Sometimes they hit a passing train and either get injured or are killed.

So, it is better to take all precautions rather than risk our lives only for the sake of flying a kite during the Makar Sankranti day.

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SOURCE: Afternoon Voice

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.afternoonvoice.com/avoid-fatalities-while-flying-kites.html

Jan 15, 2020

Surfing Kites

This previously published page takes a look at a number of different types of surfing kites...

Continue reading "Surfing Kites"

Jan 12, 2020

Flight Report:
Club Kite Fly

Down we were at the usual spot, with a decent breeze for a change...

Forecasts had been for a south easterly, but on arrival around mid-day it turned out to be a stiff on-shore westerly! Plenty of large kites were up and I spent some time walking around getting photos.

Spotting a gap in the array of kites, I soon had the Eagle tethered to the metal fence railing. Around that time the breeze was measured at 16kph gusting to 26kph. Ample!

All the usual suspects were there plus a few of the much younger club members. Hence a few smaller kites were hitched to the fence as well.

Mike F. had the big red foil over the grass, dangling a small ball for anyone to hit around. Plenty of children of all ages had fun with the swinging target.

Michael managed a day off and turned up with a Rev and a colorful small power-sled. The Rev was soon rushing around and hovering over the sand.

Julie had an interesting sparred kite up. Perhaps a Dragonfly design although I didn't take a good closeup look. Apparently constructed at a Robert Brasington workshop. Classy!

Mark had one of his big deltas anchored in the dunes.

I put up a refurbished Animal Train over the dunes as well. 3 Tyvek diamonds with black and white designs - cow, dalmatian and zebra :-) Just checking it out, with the plastic loop tails replaced with black Tyvek drogues. It all seemed to be coping pretty well.

It was like a mini-festival, with people down on the beach and pedestrians along the footpath not failing to notice the spectacle. And I haven't even mentioned the really big kites yet. Here they are...

Down on the sand, Simon had a venerable flowform doing it's thing, with twin spinners. All the other big kites were over the grass...

Ian and Elly had a number of kites up including their Panda flowform and long Dragon inflatable.

Henry and Fiona had the yellow lifter with the shark inflatable underneath. There was also the blue lifter with large mermaid inflatable.

Andy had a large lifter with a Frog inflatable underneath. I also spotted a blue Octopus further down the reserve.

By the time everything was up, the breeze had crept up to 26kph with a gust to 36kph!

With the temperature remaining well under 30 degrees C, it was a close to perfect day for flying kites...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Jan 10, 2020

Flight Report:
Printable Indoor Delta

Just the spars are printable. The sail also requires no measuring, being traced onto plastic from a printout. It was time to test the dinky little delta...

The rain showers that happened outside were no concern at all of course. That's the great thing about indoor kites :-)

The craft had been flown the day before as well, but that was just to check that the towing point was still working well for this slightly smaller version of the Indoor Delta. On the website, the free instructions for the original version have a heap of measurements. Easy stuff really. But with the printable e-book version you will have the convenience of by-passing the measuring and hence getting to the flying stage a whole lot quicker.

First of all I spent around 20 minutes just towing the kite up again and again, taking a photo each time. This time, with the focus set to 1 meter, I had the thread in my left hand and the camera in the other hand. Most of the resulting images were usable. I ended up picking one image in particular that emphasized the indoor location of the flight. The camera flash had the nice effect of highlighting the kite against the darker and softer-focus background.

This little delta responded very well to being towing in tight circles. On a steep short line, the nose just remained tangential to the circle of flight. Sorry to bring geometry into this ;-)

Duration-wise, the delta was a little hot compared to other designs in this Indoor series. That is, the craft's minimum speed over a set course was a little higher. But still within my Indoor design limits.

The red-line test involved being towed at 6kph and this showed up a weak spot in one of the leading edges. Perhaps the spar had been over-stressed a couple of days ago during my towing-point checks. In any case, a short strip of sticky tape wrapped around the affected part of the leading edge restored the kite's flying characteristics completely. Not only that, but it proved that the kite was fairly tolerant of a small weight imbalance. Despite hanging slightly lop-sided when suspended by the flying line, the way the kite flew could not be faulted :-)

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Jan 09, 2020

Global News Report:
That Time Of Year In India

Besides preparations beginning for the massive annual Sankranti event, a large International kite festival is also planned...

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Hyderabad: With Sankranti festival just a week away, youngsters and children are preparing to dot the blue skies with colourful kites and accordingly, vendors in parts of old city are stocking up on kites and manjas.

Sankranti is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and flying kites is an integral part of the festivities. This tradition is being followed for decades wherein friends, relatives and well-wishers get together to fly kites.

Already, areas such as Dhoolpet, Begum Bazaar, Gulzar Houz, General Bazaar and Chanchalguda are abuzz with kites and manjas and customers are flocking shops here to purchase them before the prices shoot up during the festival. There is a huge demand for kites in Dhoolpet, which is popular for many seasonal businesses and vendors have been selling kites since November. Given the good response from customers, wholesale shops have been increased from 80-90 last year to around 150 shops this time.

According to Navin Singh, a trader in Dhoolpet, fancy kites sporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Baahubali, Valentine’s Day and Happy New Year are in good demand from customers while children prefer cartoon character-based ones like Pokemon, Ben 10, Angry Birds and Doraemon.

“The prices differ depending on size of the kite and its design. All the wholesale shops here have been selling kites starting from Rs.2 to Rs.25. The plastic kites, popular as cover kite, are being sold at prices ranging from Rs.5 to Rs.10 while paper ones cost Rs.15 to Rs.25,” he said.

On the other hand, Chinese kites and manja are not being sold in the city, traders say, adding that they are selling high quality manja brought from Jaipur and Ahmedabad while kites are prepared locally.

L. Rohit Singh, a trader in SS Kite Centre, Dhoolpet said he has been doing good business as he could sell around 100 to 150 kites per day. He is expecting the business to peak from January 11 to 15, when holidays are declared for schools and colleges.

“Our kites are made by local women as it generates good income to them. They make around 100 kites a day with good quality. Traders from Begum Bazaar also come here and order in bulk,” he added.

There are also ‘packages’ for children that includes a kite, manja, goggles and mask.

Festival to draw kite flyers from 50 nations

The fifth International Kite and Sweets Festival scheduled to be held from January 13 to 15 will showcase Telangana’s culture, tradition and food. Internationally renowned kite flyers from about 50 nations and domestic kite flyers from 25 States are expected to participate in the kite festival. Sweets and traditional food from about 25 States will cater to food lovers’ delight, said Tourism Minister V Srinivas Goud.

The three-day kite festival will be organised at Parade Grounds in Secunderabad, coinciding with Sankranti.

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SOURCE: Telangana Today

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://telanganatoday.com/hyderabads-markets-abuzz-as-kite-festival-nears

Jan 08, 2020

Roller Kites

This previously published page has commentary, photos and video of all our MBK Rollers. Get inspired to make one!

Continue reading "Roller Kites"

Jan 07, 2020

Flight Report:
Improved Skewer Star

Although the breeze was looking rather too fresh out there, I decided to chance it, a few days ago...

The Skewer Star had been tweaked a little by removing some length (hence weight) from the upper spreader. And also by removing a few centimeters of length from the inboard ends of the upper horizontal spars. Again, this resulted in less weight up there.

Finally, an extra length of skewer had been glued beside the lower half of the spine, purely to shift the balance point some more. If I do another build, the 2 lower spine pieces will sandwich the upper one, where they overlap.

Out at the field, with the kite pinned under my carry bag, a quick wind check showed up 14kph gusting to 24kph. A bit stiff but probably flyable!

Letting up the kite, gusts kept pushing it over to the right. Several times, tiny adjustments were made to the bridle-loop sliding knot. Then the star flew with little preference for moving right or left. However, the breeze was not letting up at all! The kite flew gamely on, soaring up very high at times.

But eventually, the wind won...

One upper horizontal spar had worked loose after some hard contacts with the ground and the other was weakening as well. This was easily fixed at home, with a couple of spots of glue. But for now, the flying was over. A wind check revealed it was now averaging 18kph with a gust to 32kph!

Sporting a black border done with permanent marker, the Skewer Star had at least looked good while it fought the weather...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.


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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...