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....

Feb 21, 2019

Global News Report:
New Kites In New Zealand

The workshops were busy near the beach in Ōtaki...

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Kite flying is all the rage in Ōtaki, now that the sixth annual Kite Festival has been and gone.

Experienced kite makers ran workshops for a number of local schools as well as the Levin Veterans' Home. There was also a public workshop.

"We've had about 375 kids in those workshops, while 30 adults came to the public workshop," said festival coordinator Kirsty Doyle.

Several locals had brought their own kites to Ōtaki Beach on the weekend to fly them and kites were also available for sale.

The festival attracted an estimated 10,000 people on Sunday and 12,000 on Saturday when the wind was blowing more fiercely.

"Lots of stalls sold out of their food and our own sausage sizzle was closed down by 2pm on Sunday. There were no more sausages available in town by then," said Doyle.

The local entertainment proved popular and many local clubs and organisations had a stand promoting their services and activities or sold food and drinks to raise funds.

"This is a community festival. It is from us, for us and by us and we want it to remain free for all," said Doyle.

This year the Kāpiti Coast District Council, NZCT and creative communities provided sponsorships, though the council funding has now come to an end.

"Council funding is only meant to help you get started, but we are determined to keep our festival free." They will have to find money elsewhere.

Harcourts organised the big dig for kids, giving away four bikes. The surf club allowed the team to use their building for the weekend, while police and community patrol had a big presence.

"Community patrol provides security for us."

She said the community response has been great so far.

The festival has a lot of volunteers who come back year after year, though more are always welcome.

"We aim to be zero waste, so recycle stations with a person guiding the visitors on what to put where, were everywhere. We have also had a few people who spent their weekend sorting rubbish. The volunteer input is amazing."

For more on the festival: kitefestival.org.nz/

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SOURCE: New Zealand Herald

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/horowhenua-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503788&objectid=12204864

Feb 20, 2019

Flight Report:
Tetra Terrific After Trials

As usual, the 10-cell Tetrahedral was a pain to launch inland...

In fact, I had intended to fly at the beach, but there was a due-westerly breeze. This meant a very limited flying space between rocks and a wet place :-)

So, the local archery range was selected instead. This time, no arrows were flying so the kite was soon in the air. Again and again, short hopeful hops were the best that could be achieved.

Large thermals were around and quite fresh gusts came through on a regular basis. However, it was a race against time to let out enough line and gain enough height before that sinking feeling started all over again :-( No amount of fancy line-working was working, if you get my drift.

One corner of the kite came completely undone when a shoe-lace bow worked loose and disappeared somewhere on a dusty patch of ground. However, while returning to the kite with a pair of scissors I managed to spot the missing lace. It was time to try again...

To cut a long story short, I did eventually get 60 meters (200 feet) of line out. The kite was away! With all the rising, rough and descending air, flying the tetra was remarkably similar to fighting to keep a light-wind kite in the air on an almost-calm day...

Line tension was going up and down. There was much slipping-out and pulling-in of the flying line to maximize air time. The experience was remarkably similar to the light-wind scenario - except the wind speeds were 20kph faster!

As one huge patch of lift came through, there was the very satisfying feeling of letting line out slowly for an extended period while seeing the kite hold a constant line angle. Out and out, up and up the blue tetrahedron went!

Floating around high up, the tetra would sometimes tilt from side to side in rough air as the edge of a strong lift region approached. At other times the kite would sit low but pull hard in sinking air. Also, as thermals passed by on the left and right, the kite would get pushed sideways a lot as the wind direction shifted.

Finally, and most unusually, I had 150 meters (500 feet) of 50 pound Dacron in the air. However, being a little inefficient compared to flat kites, the 10-cell Skewer Tetrahedral kite was no more than 250 feet off the grass.

It was a magnificent flight to end with, after 40 frustrating minutes trying to 'get away'.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 20, 2019

MBK Special Kites

This previously published page links to flight reports on the 'specials'. These kite designs were not part of a Series for some reason, sometimes being created on a whim! ...

Continue reading "MBK Special Kites"

Feb 18, 2019

Dopero Super Sport :-)

Some days ago, I made one MBK Dowel Dopero, scaled 1 meter x 1 meter due to my available materials. Today I tested it, sunny weather, 12 deg C and wind

Continue reading "Dopero Super Sport :-)"

Feb 17, 2019


Epic Flight Over The Roof

The neighbor's roof over the road that is, not just our own roof!

Late Saturday afternoon, light gusts were disturbing palm fronds and tree leaves. It looked good for a back yard flight with a light-wind kite... The 2-Skewer Diamond was close at hand, hanging from the wall near our kitchen. So out I went, kite and block winder in hand.

A few launch attempts were made on a short line. Never an easy task, of course, in the chaotic air between houses and fences in suburbia. But soon I had the kite up over gutter level by dragging the diamond off the lawn grass on a few more meters of line. After some minutes of careful flying, the kite was bobbing and floating around over the roof in a reasonably predictable fashion. Having a bit of dihedral, the diamond kite was more predictable than a flat one anyway :-)

The scene was quite different from that of a typical kite-flying outing. The lowering sun lit up a couple of jet streams and a rising moon. Occasionally small birds would flit past at gutter-height, just missing the flying line!

After just a moment of consideration I made the decision to go out to 30 meters (100 feet) of line. The breeze would only smooth out more as sunset approached and the air's speed was ideal for the kite. Gusts had just enough energy to power the bright orange kite to 60 or 70 degrees of angle, even on the longer length of line.

So far so good. So good in fact that I got really bold and went for 60 meters (200 feet)! This time the weight of the line caused much more sag, although the breeze was gradually moderating too. Even so, the kite managed to touch about 55 degrees of angle in one of the last decent gusts of the flight. That would equate to about 140 feet over the neighbor's house - on the far side of the road running past our place!

In weaker air the kite would get up a slight wobble, sending long ripples down the 20 pound Dacron. It was at this time that I noticed that the wind direction up there was much more southerly than at roof top height, where it was south west.

The plastic diamond sail flashed through several shades as the kite's own shadow played across the rear surface. Being light and efficient, the 2-Skewer design was sitting almost flat in the air, face down as it maintained height or slowly floated down.

Eventually there were signs of the breeze dying more quickly so it was decided to take the kite down. After a long slow descent the 2-Skewer Diamond arrived right back on the lawn close to my feet. There were no dramas despite the choppier air down near our house roof.

Gentle stuff but a huge flight never-the-less!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 15, 2019

Global News Report:
To Fly Or Not To Fly

That is the question in Pakistan. It's a complex issue when so many are involved and fatalities are likely...

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ISLAMABAD: At a time when birds joyfully chirped and vernal sunshine warmed the historical city of Lahore, it is the good time for 44-year-old Malik Ramzan who used to enjoy kite flying with gentle winds in the well-known ‘garden city’ to say adieu to bleak winter and welcome vibrant spring.

The uncountable number of colourful kites flying over the iconic domes of the Badshahi Mosque was one of the images belonged to Lahore to impress the world in spring.

Kite flyers aim to celebrate Basant next month

“Friends, neighbours and relatives used to all get together and fly colourful kites from dawn to dusk on their rooftops, on terraces and in open places, while enjoying loud music, dancing and variety of food,” said Ramzan.

For Lahoris, to embrace spring by flying kites is called ‘Basant,’ or welcoming spring festival. Ramzan, the owner of a transport company, recalled that he used to spend thousands of US dollars during the festival every year. To this extent, Basant was not only a carnival of kites, but also a drive for Lahore’s tourism economy.

However, when zealous kite flyers indulged themselves in the excitement of cutting off strings of opponents’ kites, the joyful event evolved into a lethal disaster for everyone in the city.

Chasing after the kite fight victories, some flyers managed to make their kite cords stronger and sharper by using strings made of metal or coated with glass powder. The special twines, once cut, could fall on onlookers or people outside and potentially inflict fatal injuries on them, especially for motorbike riders.

After 19 people were killed and numerous cases of injuries by the special kite strings in 2005, the Supreme Court put a ban on the kite-flying in Punjab. The provincial government thereafter introduced a law prohibiting kite sales and manufacturing, including kite-related accessories such as the sharp cords.

Those found in violation of the law are liable to imprisonment for three years or to a fine of Rs 40,000 (some 290 US dollars) or both. Local authorities also announced cash rewards for the people who provide information about the manufacturing or selling of equipment used for kite flying.

But, the ban on the Basant also left hundreds of thousands of people working in the kite-related industry unemployed. Mochi Gate area in the old part of Lahore was once the centre of the kite and string business. Now, people can hardly find a single store selling kites.

{much more in the article...}

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SOURCE: The Express Tribune

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://tribune.com.pk/story/1909527/1-basant-is-here-where-are-the-kites/

Feb 14, 2019

Flight Report:
Barn-Door Has A Blast

With winds squarely in the Gentle range, I selected the 2-skewer Delta but also took the 2-Skewer Barn Door kite...

As it turned out, the tree-tops were ruffling and I spotted a couple of pieces of junk mail being blown across the ground. On second thoughts, I decided the weather was a little too boisterous for the delta!

So, the bright-orange barn door was popped into the air with very little effort. This was despite launching from the wind shadow of some trees near the edge of the reserve. With just enough line out to keep the kite up for several minutes at a time, I took some video from various angles.

The kite had somewhat more tail fitted than my How To instructions recommend, but today the extra stability was very handy. Early afternoon thermals were a-popping which pushed the kite far to each side and almost directly overhead. As I let out line to over 30 meters (100 feet) and then to 60 meters (200 feet) this behavior continued! The blazing late-Summer sun lit the translucent sail brightly from above.

The kite was having a blast up there! I tried to take some video with no zoom but couldn't even spot the tiny image in the viewfinder.

Finally I allowed the barn door to pull out line, tumbling the block winder as it lay on the ground. The kite wasn't heading off downwind - it was surging straight up in strongly rising air! After the 90 meter (300 feet) marker came off the winder I anchored the line under the carry-bag. It was time to relax and just watch the action for a while. A few minutes passed and then...

To put some extra distance between the kite and a potential kite-eating tree, I wandered over to another shady spot, winder in hand...

The kite continued to soar around the largely blue sky, possibly distracting the odd driver going by the field. It brought back the early days of My Best Kite, when little over half the Skewer Series kites had been created. Although a significant amount of sag was in the 20 pound Dacron, the kite still managed to achieve 60 to 70 degrees of angle from time to time. There was plenty of rising air around! Also, there was the occasional patch of rough air near the edges of the thermals. These caused the kite to flip rapidly and descend.

In not the most open of spaces I did a quick wind check with the meter... The reading was 11kph gusting to 21kph. So higher up, the kite had probably encountered quite a few Moderate-strength gusts.

It was a great flight in pleasant weather for the 2-Skewer Barn Door kite today!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 13, 2019

Kite Images

This previously published page displays and comments on a number of out very best images from past kite festivals.

Continue reading "Kite Images"

Feb 10, 2019

Flight Report:
Club Kite Fly - Feb 2019

Earlier in the morning there seemed to be a promising amount of breeze. However, on arrival at Semaphore Park...

Large kites were lying about on the grass and nothing was actually in the air. Mike was rigging his trusty Wedge-tailed Eagle which performs well in light wind.

Many kite club members were present but it was just one of those days. More sitting around talking than flying!

Not to be deterred, I soon had my red Roller rigged and in the air. This Roller, with it's solid vertical spar and Tyvek sails, is not a purpose-built light-wind design but it's not bad in light winds. There was just enough air movement to get some line out and tug the kite up a few times.

Mike was having some success with the Eagle, managing to get quite a lot of line out at times. Only to be forced to take it all back in now and again!

It was a similar story with my Roller, which yo-yoed up and down on just over 30 meters (100 feet) of line. Every few minutes the kite would sink out tail-first to the grass. Moments later, after being held up to the bit of breeze wafting through, up it would go again. One time, a bubble of rising air from the warm sand just upwind floated the kite almost vertically overhead. For just a while :-(

On a shorter bridle, the Roller would have stayed up longer by floating down on it's face during each cycle of the breeze. But I still think it would ended up on the grass periodically! If I had brought the super-light Dowel Diamond or Delta one of them might have stayed up the whole time.

Henry's large white parafoil struggled into the air a few times. However, the kite was barely able to start lifting the inflatable attached underneath.

Apart from the lack of consistent wind, the weather was great! Cloud cover was minimal and the air temperature mild, being in the low 20s C.

Perhaps next time the flying will be much better...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 08, 2019

Flight Report:
Skewer Tetra Sets Sail

The weather station online was indicating tetrahedral-friendly winds outside...

The 10-cell Skewer Tetra had only just been completed. Being sparred with bamboo, the kite was much lighter than the earlier dowel version in the same size. Hence I was confident to attach much less tail than was used for the Dowel Tetra. All other things being equal, lighter means steadier in the air!

Down at the huge square grounds of a local school, the Moderate breeze was moving small branches around as the gusts came through. On a short line, the 10-cell tetrahedral immediately showed itself to be stable and willing to rise. However, tetras come down quickly in lulls, so a few more launch attempts were made. Much more line was used this time - about 30 meters (100 feet).

A couple of flights were spent to get the simple 2-leg bridle adjusted.

Finally some good consistent air pressure was found as the kite floated near the middle of the large field. I didn't waste any time letting line out to 60 meters (200 feet). However, even on this length, the kite was spending some time at rather low line angles.

While there was some good tension I continued to let the line out to 90 meters (300 feet). The 50 pound Dacron felt about right for this kite. Even so, there was plenty of sag when the breeze strength dropped into the Gentle range. That is, under 20 kph.

With the kite tied off to the substantial wooden railings I took some video footage from various angles. The kite helped out by moving towards me and dropping low at times! It was satisfying seeing the kite steadily climb away again when the breeze freshened.

So, it was a quite successful outing with the new tetrahedral kite. This one is easy to land softly using a tug on the line just before it touches.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 07, 2019

Global News Report:
Pushing The Limits Of Kite Design

A fascinating peek into idea development by one of the most well-known kite designers on the planet...

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In 2013, I began developing single-skin, single-line kites. They were reliable enough in a range of winds to be useful as pilot and show kites at kite events, but don't have sticks, inflated tubes or ram-air inflated spaces.

It hadn't been done yet, it was probably possible, and it was a project I thought myself well suited to by resources and experience - somewhat hubristically as it's turned out.

I've now put some thousands of hours into this, and it's time for an accounting as to where things are at. Not much progress.

Certainly not enough to justify the time and resources applied.

I've been a magnet for lost causes: kite sailing, another developmental field I've put inordinate effort into, has sucked up a fair portion of many people's lives without achieving commercial success - though the spin-offs of kite buggying, kitesurfing, foil boarding and snow kiting have been paybacks.

Last week, I had a reality check. At this year's Nelson Kite Festival (number 29), the wind was so strong and turbulent that no maxi kites were flown until very late in the day, by which time I'd left to come back to Ashburton.

Flying Single-Skin Pilot Kites

I tried flying some single-skin pilot kites.

Most of these were of the 1Skin style, which has been intensively developed through 50 or more prototypes and can be very useful in low-to-mid range winds because of their excellent lift, high-flying angle, and low cost.

"Out of the bag," none would stay up. In the strong gusty winds, they sooner or later dived off unrecoverably to one side or the other.

This was neither a surprise nor a new problem, but I had thought it would have yielded to accurate construction, and relentless iterative development by now.

It hasn't. But then again, as the ditty says; "any problem worth attack will prove its worth by fighting back," and this is exactly what I signed on for.

{much more in the article...}

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SOURCE: SurferToday

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.surfertoday.com/kiteboarding/are-single-skin-single-line-kites-a-lost-cause

Feb 06, 2019

Flight Report:
Animal Train Trials

It's always a trial, flying kite trains inland ;-) ...

Anyway, it was decided that the 3-diamond Animal Train was worth a shot since wind speeds appeared ideal. However, on arrival at the field, it was 'light winds and thermals'. And I mean light!

So the first 30 minutes were pretty forgettable. There was much fiddling around with downed kites and tails wrapping the line or getting snagged in thistles. Grr :-( It was the usual low-wind, kite train mayhem :-|

Eventually a prolonged puff of thermal-induced breeze caught up the 3 kites. I was able to let out perhaps 60 meters (200 feet) of line.

Although most of the sky was blue, the distant backdrop was amazing... Magnificent cumulo-nimbus clouds were building up over and behind the range of hills on the horizon.

Half a dozen pelicans soared past, downwind and much higher than the kites. The birds were in a line, as one side of the classic V-formation favored by ducks!

The high flight of swaying black-and-white diamond kites was brought to an end when the middle kite wrapped it's tail around the line during a lull. In a sorry kite-train cascade, the number 1 kite and then the number 3 kite also got into trouble soon after, bringing down the whole line.

After a short period trying to re-launch, I gave up, packed up and went home. Maybe the beach next time...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.


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