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....

Oct 17, 2018

The Dowel Rokkaku Kite

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...

Continue reading "The Dowel Rokkaku Kite"

Oct 15, 2018

Flight Report:
First Tetra Tries

The weather was, as we say here in Oz, 'dodgy'. It was worth a try though...

Smooth winds high in the Moderate range would have been ideal for testing the new Dowel Tetrahedral kite. As it was, the breeze was quite variable and only gusted up towards 30kph every few minutes. It was during these short windows of opportunity that the kite struggled up for a few short flights. It's a heavy contraption, not designed to stay up in anything under 20kph really.

To avoid any stability dramas right from the start, I had attached a generous sized plastic drogue from the tail end of the kite.

Being a standard 10-cell design, the bridle was just a short loop from the top and bottom of the uppermost cell. With the short upper leg of the bridle coming away from the dowel rod at right-angles, the kite seemed willing enough to climb with plenty of wind pressure in the sails.

This first prototype was an attempt to combine a very short materials list with ease of construction and assembly. Like any other of my Dowel designs. Having spent several hours making this kite, another much better idea came to mind later... A quicker, stronger and much easier construction method. Featuring flat boot-laces for the connectors and their reinforcements. You'll just have to wait for the e-book ;-)

After a little bumping around on the ground and probably less than a couple of minutes in the air, the current kite had already started to come apart. So here's what's going to happen...

The current kite will be taken apart completely, all the connectors replaced, rods slipped back into the sails and the resulting cells connected back into a kite. Whew! But it should be a solid fresh/strong wind kite when finished.

Stay tuned...

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!

Oct 14, 2018

Flight Report:
Wild Winds And Thunder

This month, the club fly day happened to coincide with a community event at the St. Kilda Adventure Playground. So it was decided to combine the two...

For more than a week, forecasts were predicting strong wind on the day of the event. And so it turned out. When we arrived on Sunday afternoon, several large parafoils were listing this way and that. One parafoil had actually broken it's flying line and had to be rescued from the adjacent car park!

Members of the public were flying small kites with limited success. We observed plenty of very bent fiberglass and flapping rip-stop nylon.

I had second thoughts about pulling out the 10-cell tetrahedral, since it was new and completely untested. No point in destroying it on it's first flight! So we walked across to the tether vehicles with the trusty Fresh Wind Sled instead. But even this kite soon had troubles when it bit into the full force of the breeze...

A gust to 41kph had been recorded minutes earlier, but up high there would have been even more! The big sled powered far to the left and right, it's twin orange drogues helpless to steady things down. Meanwhile I took a wrap of 100 pound Dacron line around my body to keep the pull force on my hands manageable.

Mike's red pilot kite, with whale inflatable below, seemed to be flying straightest. The other large parafoils owned by Ian, Elly, Allison and Neville were right on their limits, even being forced low to one side.

The nor-easterly was rough, seemingly gusting in many different directions, both horizontal and vertical. Despite the sheer wind speed, my sled surged almost overhead once or twice, in rising gusts. At other times the kite was forced close to the ground and nearby trees.

Clearly, soon after starting, it was time to stop! As if to emphasize the point, rain drops started to fall. A rain band was approaching rapidly from the north. Not long after, lightning flashed in the distance. Naturally, we then got all the kites down in a hurry.

And so the event came to a premature end. People were streaming towards the car parks as the rain intensified and thunder rumbled across the huge playground.

Despite all this, the brief appearance of several large kites had grabbed people's attention. Also, the colorful floating display had acted as a clear indication of the location of the event, for arriving visitors. Including the be-suited Mayor of Salisbury, who walked away knowing a little more about lifter kites and inflatables than when he first arrived...

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!

Oct 11, 2018

Global News Report:
Art Gives Rise To Kites

Some of the most visually interesting kites on the planet are destined never to fly, being displayed on walls. And sometimes art gives rise to kites, instead of the other way round...

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Jacob Hashimoto’s installation at SITE Santa Fe seems to hover at the crossroads of painting and sculpture, but it transcends both. The SITElab exhibit, The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About, evokes an experience akin to entering into a pixelated environment, a digital composition in three dimensions, or a geometrical painting exploded into the surrounding space. Circular and rectangular kites of Japanese rice paper, each one framed by bamboo, hang from the ceiling, creating a suspended rain of colors and forms that somehow retains a feeling of two-dimensional balance.

The idea of creating a composition in three dimensions was an evolution for Hashimoto. “When I first started making large-scale installations, I was coming out of a background of painting and drawing,” he said. In the 1990s, he was making large abstractions of what he describes as void space; when you’re standing in front of one, it fills your visual field. “Unless you’re Mark Rothko, you can’t really get away with that anymore.” His evolution into installation work came from a desire to break the elements of painting out of the canvas and, as he put it, “pull them into architectural space.”

The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About is ceiling-mounted, with grids of repeating forms strung together, like a Piet Mondrian separated into its most basic structures and arranged in physical space. It’s situated in the gallery off the lobby at SITE, separate from the main exhibition space, and used for temporary installations that are open to the public free of charge. Hashimoto’s installation takes full advantage of the architectural design of the interior space. There’s a cohesive quality to it, as in a musical arrangement. His installations recall the aesthetics of modernism and postwar abstraction, and he also cites the influence of landscape painting traditions. In a way, The Dark is a critique of the ideal representations of space that are characteristic of landscapes. “The cornerstone of the work has always been the intersection of landscape and abstraction,” he said. “When you’re dealing with landscape and abstraction, you’re playing with the world of possibilities, optimism, and perfection. I think, through my titles, I’m able to convey some of my doubts about the tradition of working that way.”

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SOURCE: Santa Fe New Mexican

URL (full story and/or photos, video): http://www.santafenewmexican.com/pasatiempo/art/museum_shows/don-t-be-afraid-of-the-dark-jacob-hashimoto/article_b748d42e-3d85-5615-a540-7b77d1047daf.html

Oct 10, 2018

Flight Report:
Patchwork Diamond Drifts

At last, after a run of unflyable days, the weather seemed ideal for putting something up...

Why not the big Patchwork Diamond, as I have dubbed it now. This club kite is a bit of a barge, with its fiberglass tubes and metal fittings. The wind today was mainly in the Gentle range, gusting just into Moderate. The wind meter registered 12 kph with a gust to 20 soon after I arrived at the field.

Some time was spent hauling the big diamond up in every gust that came through. Being from the east, which is overland here, there was nothing smooth about the conditions. But eventually the kite settled down for a while, on 75 meters (250 feet) of 200 pound Dacron.

In the strongest gusts, there was just a hint of the left-turn tendency which had been noticed in the previous outing. I had come prepared though...

With the kite back on the grass, I tied on a small cylinder of rolled-up plastic to one of the short lines that hung from each side tip of the kite. Exactly what these lines were originally used for is a bit of a mystery, since the horizontal spar has it's own bow-line. Perhaps small spinners, tails or other decoration hung off the lines at one time.

The Patchwork Diamond does not seem to be a particularly efficient kite since it rarely makes 45 degrees of line angle. Over quite a range of wind speeds. But I might try adjusting the towing point even further forward to reduce drag. Since it's last outing, the 3 bridle lines had been lengthened as planned, and this did seem to reduce the flexing of the vertical spar.

The rolled up plastic hanging from one tip had the desired effect, keeping the kite straighter in gusts. Not to mention an extra few degrees of line angle. I think it looks less distracting than an entire tail hanging off just one side of the kite...

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!

Oct 10, 2018

Multi-Dowel Rokkaku Kite

This previously published page is a flight report featuring the first prototype of the big 2.4m (8ft) span Multi-Dowel Rokkaku. It turned out to be a very-light-wind kite! The design was beefed up somewhat in later versions...

Continue reading "Multi-Dowel Rokkaku Kite"

Oct 08, 2018

Global News Report:
Taiwan Kite Festival

Taiwan has an old kite culture, but this piece has a more modern feel...

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Colorful kites were seen flying above the sky of Taiwan’s Baisha Bay in Shimen as the 2018 New Taipei City International Kite Festival took place on Sept. 30.

Now in its 19th year, the event has evolved from a local attraction to a large-scale international kite showcase, featuring works by 20 teams from the U.S., Japan, Germany, Thailand, China, and Taiwan, according to the New Taipei City Government.

Shimen, reputed to be the “home of the wind” in Taiwan, boasts a plethora of both natural and cultural resources, and is a top choice for family recreation as well as kite flying.

The festival saw a wild variety of ingeniously created kites, spotlighting characters such as Peppa Pig, Elmo from Sesame Street, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Shimen’s signature delicacy Zongzi, noted the organizers.

The event also featured DIY kite sessions, kite craft shows, and an agricultural produce marketplace. Visitors could also collect stamps from events at the festival and exchange them for various kite souvenirs.

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SOURCE: Taiwan News

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3542261

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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!

Oct 06, 2018

Flight Report:
Light Wind Tail Tale

It was a day for the ultra-light version of the Dowel Diamond....

This kite, with it's packing-tape sail attachment and no glue or boot-lace at the spar crossing-point, was a good choice for very light wind conditions. At least that was the case for the first few minutes. Walking some distance from the wind-shadow of the trees, there was still only the barest of puffs from minute to minute.

I played with the kite down low for a while, pulling it up and letting it drift repeatedly, on a 20 pound Dacron line. That's pretty light line for a 1.2 meter (4 feet) span Diamond, but it had ample strength for today's conditions.

Eventually, the pale orange kite was just hanging up there on 30 meters (100 feet) of line. Pulling out the wind meter, the little cups were sluggish. After a minute or so, the device was reading around 1kph with a gust to 1.9! However, about 5 minutes later, the cups suddenly whirred faster and the max gust strength popped up to 4.7kph. Quite ideal for the Dowel Diamond.

In the slightly faster air it was straightforward to let out line to over 60 meters (200 feet). The Diamond hovered at a 45 degree line angle and occasionally fish-tailed a little as gusts well above 5kph pressured the sail. Some weak rising air was about too, pushing the kite up to a 60 degree angle now and then.

The gusts continued to increase in strength and duration. This was evident in the motion of the tree-tops around the reserve. Now on 90 meters (300 feet) of line, the kite responded by leaning over one way or the other. It does go slightly unstable when pushed! It was time to add some tail, to help the kite cope in the 8 to 12 kph or so that was up there.

After walking down the kite, I attached a 6 meter (20 feet) length of thin black plastic loops as a tail. Upon release, the kite soon soared right back up to 200 feet off the grass.

It was a pleasure watching the light-weight Diamond easing around the sky at a high angle, long ripples moving down the thin black tail.

I wasted no time in letting the line out to 120 meters (400 feet). At 60 degrees, the kite reached it's maximum height of about 350 feet off the grass. Most of the time though it was at about 300 feet, drifting left or right a few degrees at a time as the breeze shifted.

Excellent flight!

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!

 

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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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