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.

Have you noticed the What's New! box near the bottom right of most pages on this site? Running your cursor over the orange RSS symbol in that box will bring up several ways to subscribe. Click/tap on whatever option is most familiar to you and you'll never miss a post!

(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....

Dec 14, 2018

Flight Report:
Tetra Takes Off

It's been a bit of an uphill battle getting a decent flight out of the heavy, crudely put-together 10-cell tetra...

Earlier today the breeze was great but misty rain persisted for hours on end. Finally the sun started to peep through small fast-moving gaps in the cloud cover. It was time to head for the beach. In search of smooth winds and soft sand.

Down at the beach, the breeze was just a fraction off-shore and this was causing a problem down on the sand... The wind was not so consistent after all. Also, the average strength of around 17kph would not be quite enough for a kite with such a high spar count!

So I headed home. But on passing a field that I sometimes use, it seemed worth another try. Just in case. On getting out and checking the wind, it was a fraction softer than at the beach. As you would expect. However, there was a huge amount of space to launch the kite. Not only that, but from time to time, really strong gusts were coming through. Real tree-top-waving stuff, that had to be well over 30kph. The stronger periods seemed to be associated with very light misty rain.

After several hops and flops (there's a new kiting turn of phrase!) I managed to get the kite out on over 30 meters of line. Great! This time, instead of a drogue that would frantically twist itself up in seconds, there were tails. Lesson - without a swivel, simple flexible drogues have their limits in fresh wind.

About 3 meters (10 feet) by half a meter (2 feet) of scrap drop-sheet plastic flowed from the downwind tip of the tetrahedron. Some longer and thinner loops of black plastic trailed from each side tip. Even so, the kite's stability was marginal due to excessive spar weight. But at least the kite flew around at a respectable line angle for several minutes in total. This was over a couple of flights, and both were captured on video.

Finally I walked up to the kite as it sat on the grass and discovered a boot-lace tie had given way. Most surprising, how a polyester boot-strap could just snap like that! Hopefully, a bigger kite with some flex in the spars won't be so incredibly hard on the joints. I'm pretty sure it's contact with the ground that really stresses those joints since it's a rigid structure. The corner cells seem to be the most vulnerable.

This tetra roughie has done it's job, teaching me many things about making and flying a 'quickie' tetrahedral design. Probably in under 15 minutes of total flying time!

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!

Dec 12, 2018

Flight Report:
Tetra Dodges Showers

The trouble with high-wind kites is... when there is enough wind, there is often rain also!

Such was the case today, but I had a go anyway. With gusts to 35 kph, the breeze was certainly ideal for lofting a 10-cell tetrahedral. Since this first tera kite was on the heavy side, it was decided to fly it with a small drogue right from the outset.

A few lessons were leaned in the first few minutes. For example, the bottom cell will experience plenty of stress on it's front joint as the kite contacts the ground after sinking out. The first time this happened, the shoelace bow simply pulled out, with no damage. So a couple of turns around the joint before tying a bow will be the way to go in future. For that joint and all the others!

After a few short hops in gusts, a short flight or 2 was obtained on around 10 meters (30 feet) of 100 pound line. Very promising, although the drogue needed to be at least 50% bigger to really stabilize more adequately.

And then the rain came down, accompanied by much stronger gusts. I managed to get everything back into the car and waited for the rain to stop. At the next opportunity, out I went again. This time an even better flight was obtained on about 20 meters (60 feet) of line.

Unfortunately, rain soon arrived once again and so there was no opportunity to fly higher.

Taking the kite back to the car, it was noticed that a couple more joints had worked loose. Not to worry - those planned extra turns around the joints should take care of that problem.

The flights today were too brief to get any photos or footage. Annoying, but next time should be a different story...

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!

Dec 12, 2018

Dowel Delta Kite

This previously published page is a flight report from soon after the first Dowel Delta prototype flew. It was a high flight in extremely light wind...

Continue reading "Dowel Delta Kite"

Dec 12, 2018

Skewer Kites Great In Light Wind

I've flown the redone 3 skewer diamond a few times now and you're not wrong about it being good in light air... Late yesterday arvo I thought there should

Continue reading "Skewer Kites Great In Light Wind"

Dec 10, 2018

Flight Report:
Club Flying At Semaphore

True to the forecast from 4 or even 5 days back, a moderate to fresh breeze ended up pumping in from the SSW...

I arrived just after 1pm to find a number of big kites up. All of them feeling the strain of the high gust strength, despite the air flow being quite smooth at flying height. Andy had a gold parafoil lifter with Frog and Crab inflatables underneath. Ian and Elly were flying a Panda flowform with a new Dragon inflatable suspended from the line. The dragon was a long and non-lifting design, inspired by traditional Chinese depictions. Impressive! Mike had his red pilot kite up with a blue Octopus flying underneath.

With a few photos taken, some minutes were spent adjusting the bridle on the Fresh Wind Sled to keep it straight and true. So after a few short, low flights, the kite was let up high.

Of course, wind speeds were even higher up at 150 feet. After tying the line to the fence railing I looked up to spot the kite dipping low to the right, over the busy car park. Not good! Back on a safer length of line, the Fresh Wind Sled hovered over the grass for the rest of the afternoon's flying.

Meanwhile, more kites were going up. Large and small. Allison and Neville had a Trilobyte up over the sand, with a large inflatable underneath. Andy swapped out the gold parafoil for a blue one which did better in the fresh wind strength. Mark arrived and soon had his trusty old delta conyne fluttering away - but holding station well - in the stiff breeze. The Lester's Legs inflatable got some air time too, but had a harder time of it, rolling onto the grass a few times. Henry and Fiona joined in with the white parafoil and an inflatable I'll just call 'that ribbed thingy'.

By this time the grassed area was getting rather crowded! The flying flotilla was drawing quite some attention from people walking past or going to and fro from the beach.

Finally, Simon put up a small delta conyne. Talking of smaller kites, there were a couple of novelty parafoils with tubular tails over the grass. Also, several other small kites being flown by members of the public down on the beach.

There was plenty of action at this kite fly!

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!

Dec 05, 2018

Global News Report:
The Only Indian Kite Museum

A wide-ranging piece of Indian kite-journalism - definitely worth a read!

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Ahmedabad, the largest city in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, boasts 30-odd museums but the Kite Museum in the 607-year-old world heritage city is in a class of its own.

The kite-flying season begins in December but visitors walking into this comparatively small treasure house of paper-birds any time of the year are instantly transported into the midst of the cacophonic, festive revelry when the sky is dotted with multi-hued kites flown by merry-making men, women and children packed like sardines on rooftops as loudspeakers belt out latest Bollywood songs.

Indeed, the 125 original, brightly-colored, unusual kites of all sizes, shapes and materials placed in vertically-mounted glass panels backlit by white, fluorescent tube-lights to simulate a background resembling a sunny sky are sure to take your breath away as you go round in well-illuminated passageways.

Add to this the 250-odd eye-catching kites captured on wondrous color slides, the countless life-size photographs depicting the kite-flying craze of Gujaratis, and various charts, sketches as well as drawings on history of kites, and you know why India’s only ‘Patang Museum’ is a must in a tourist’s itinerary.

The unique exhibits range from miniature kites to massive ones measuring more than 20 feet, kites with mind-boggling geometric designs and others depicting birds, animals, trees and human figures, the oldest being 70 years old but all of them with intricate design and craft.

(plus much more, on wildly different topics!)

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SOURCE: Al-Arabiya

URL (full story and/or photos, video): http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/art-and-culture/2018/12/03/India-s-only-kite-museum-in-Ahmedabad-passes-with-flying-colors.html

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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...

So sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!

Dec 05, 2018

Minimum Tetra Kite

This previously published page is a short flight report. The kite was a single-cell tetrahedral with tail, made entirely from paper. See the video proof that it flies...

Continue reading "Minimum Tetra Kite"

Dec 04, 2018

Flight Report:
2-Skewer Barn Door Bobs Up To 300 Feet

Or near enough to it, at rather high line angles in a variable late-afternoon breeze.

It's a weather feature where we live. Occasionally, when the wind flows over the hills from a particular direction, it can get very gusty and chaotic for many kilometers downwind. Even with no or very little thermal activity to disturb the air. Yesterday was such a day.

Although the sun was in a similar direction as the kite, it didn't prove to be a problem for photos or video. The kite was very high and the sun was close to the horizon which worked out OK.

It took a little while to get the 2-Skewer Barn Door away since the average wind speed near the ground was quite low. But I persisted, urged on by the sight of waving tree-tops here and there. After a couple of short flights, a little more height was gained. Just enough to move around a clump of trees into a more open section of the reserve.

The barn door kite flew for a while on 30 meters (100 feet) of line, but seemed eager to lean to the right much of the time. Then I noticed the tail plastic was all caught up, about half-way down. After fixing that, the kite soared up straight and true. Right up to 60 degrees on 60 meters (200 feet) of 20 pound line. The 58cm (23") span kite seemed far away on that modest length!

I backed up some more and let out more line to over 90 meters (300 feet). Strangely, despite the very late time of day, the kite seemed to be in rising air since it pulled firmly and climbed very high. Below the kite, the line dropped almost vertically before curving back to where I stood.

By this time the breeze strength had dropped overall, which often happens near sun-set. The kite even descended most of the way down before a little working of the line restored it to it's previous altitude. Sometimes, during lulls, the sail flashed bright and dull orange as it descended slowly with a falling leaf motion.

A small child had noticed the kite and dragged his grandfather across to meet me. Appropriately for this time of year, the guy could have been Father Christmas himself, minus the red trappings! He just had the look from head to toe. Anyway, back to kite-flying...

Just when I thought breeze had really died down, it was on again... In all directions, treetops could be seen waving around.

So, after a bit of fiddling around, the 2-Skewer Barn Door returned a great flight. The kite looked good with it's bright orange plastic lit by the setting sun.

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!

Nov 30, 2018

Flight Report:
2-Skewer Sled Found And Flown

So, what other Skewer kite was there, that hadn't been flown this month? ...

Hiding behind the 2-Skewer Sode on top of the book case was the 2-Skewer Sled, all rolled up. And surprise, surprise, also the little and very faded 1-Skewer Sled! Taking both kites, Aren and I headed out to fly. Correction, only I headed out to fly - Aren had his scooter ;-)

Winds had been very light for most of the day and this seemed to continue into the late afternoon. However, puffs of light wind kept wafting through every few minutes, which provided ample pressure for the bigger sled to launch on it's polyester embroidery thread line.

Despite the frequent lulls, the 2-Skewer Sled managed to gain some height and flit around on over 30 meters of line. Without tails, the kite tended to weave strongly and even loop around as the wind speed pushed over double figures in kph. This kite really should be flown with a tail from the bottom of each vertical spar! Not just for stability, but to slow down it's fierce forward acceleration which can occasionally collapse the leading edge.

With the kite on the grass after sinking out, I spent some time flying the tiny 1-Skewer Sled. Ah the memories!

Today the little kite was being flown on 20 pound Dacron which was quite heavy for it to support. This kite does better in Gentle to Moderate winds. However, it gamely hung up there for a minute or 2 at a time in the fitful Light breeze.

And that was about it for today. Next time I might try the 1-Skewer Sled on the embroidery thread instead...

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!

Nov 29, 2018

Global News Report:
Prolific Chinese Kite Maker 2

Another set of kite craftsmanship images, although these are on a sequence of pages. Amazing work...

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(collated from captions...)

Fu Xianming and his wife display self-made kites in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Nov. 21, 2018. Fu Xianming, a 66-year-old craftsman, has devoted himself in kites making for 20 years. Fu and his wife have made more than 1,500 kites of various shapes since 1998.

Fu Xianming and his wife discuss kites making techniques ...

Fu Xianming makes framework of kite ...

Fu Xianming (1st L, front) introduces self-made kites to neighbors ...

Fu Xianming displays a palm-sized kite ...

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SOURCE: Xinhua

URL (full story and/or photos, video): http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-11/27/c_137635320.htm

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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...

So sign up for the e-book and fly something high tomorrow!



Nov 27, 2018

Flight Report:
2-Skewer Dopero Re-fit

Looking at the online weather site - and out the window - there appeared to be ample breeze to fly...

Why not take yet another Skewer kite? Hence the 2-Skewer Dopero was selected, since it would be tolerant of heavier gusts.

But before heading out, a quick check revealed that this old kite needed some attention...

The next half an hour was spent doing a re-fit. All the electrical tape at all 8 spar tips was carefully peeled off and replaced with sticky tape. This was a bit of an experiment, since so far I have only used sticky tape spar caps for the 1-Skewer Series kites.

The upper and lower bridle knots were adjusted to center. Also, one sail tie had pulled out.

Down at the reserve, the sky was overcast with dark patches. Active air! Indeed, moderate strength gusts were pummeling through the trees every few minutes.

For a while, the pale orange craft flew on 30 meters (100 feet) of line. There were hints of instability, with the kite racing to and fro and even going right over into a loop and landing at times. And it wasn't always to the same side!

I realized that removing heavy electrical tape had probably shifted the balance point a little towards the nose. So the kite was certainly nice and light, but evidently too nose-heavy to fly reliably near the top of it's wind range. So I added 2 strips of electrical tape right across the trailing edge of the central portion of the lower sail.

The dopero now did much better in the air!

Then followed an amazing flight on 60m (200 feet) of 20 pound Dacron. The kite was steady much of the time, but pulled hard and shifted left and right as stronger gusts in the mid-20s (kph) came through. The twin keels were quick to kick the nose back into wind.

Delta-like flying angles were seen, but with more tolerance of high wind pressure than an equivalent delta or diamond.

Finally, during lulls, I wound line on to the block winder to bring the kite down. It wasn't a bad little outing!

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!



Nov 23, 2018

Flight Report:
Influential Rain Clouds

The crazy winds and rain of the last 3 days had duly ceased, as foreseen by the weather forecasters...

Today's flying was pre-arranged with another local kite club member, Mark. Such was the strength of some of the gusts around our house in the morning, that I stowed the Multi-Dowel Box in the car. Just in case the breeze was too much for the 5 Tyvek and carbon diamonds I had also packed. On arrival at the reserve, the gusts were indeed pretty healthy. But it was nothing that the diamonds couldn't cope with, so out they came.

Soon after the diamonds made it to around 200 feet, Mark arrived and started to launch a large yellow parafoil. But the air was tricky. After a promising gust pushed through the trees and boosted the kite up, rough patches would collapse the kite. At one point the kite went charging off to the side, parallel with the ground. Fortunately the flying line was just short enough to miss my diamond train's line!

Other attempts were made, but the air was just too volatile to keep the big parafoil fully inflated.

Meanwhile, lulls were causing trouble with the train, allowing the drogues to occasionally wrap around the flying line. This would force me to take down the train, fix the situation and then get the 5 kites away again. Tedious. I never seem to learn - thermic conditions and kite trains don't mix, no matter how bomb-proof you think you've made it! All the same, drogues are vastly less trouble on a train than conventional tails.

A large dark cloud that was initially overhead headed off downwind. As it departed, wind speeds started to moderate too. By the time the 5-kite diamond train had been up for half an hour or so, the average breeze strength was much reduced. As the sky went blue overhead, it became a real exercise in light-wind flying.

By this stage, Mark was having some success with a big fiberglass and rip-stop delta. Even that kite ended up on the grass several times. In between thermal gusts ruffling the tree-tops, there was now almost nothing to fly in.

Finally I decided to call it a day and go home for lunch. At least the train had spent quite a few glorious minutes flying high and stable over the field. A spectacle for all the car drivers passing the field on South Road.

As we packed up, more clouds started to form, filling in the blue areas of sky. And the trees started to wave...

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!




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