What's New! The 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!

Feb 25, 2021

Global News Report:
You Can't Help Looking Up..

...when flying kites. Although there are no pictures of kites, this uplifting piece from Venezuela is worth checking out...

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In Venezuela’s sprawling impoverished Petare neighborhood on the east end of Caracas, dozens of children and residents flew kites to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of what was once a small village outside the capital.

Petare was founded in 1621 by Spanish settlers who took advantage of the lush mountain surroundings to grow crops including coffee, cocoa and sugar cane, according to Venezuelan historians.

During the 20th century, the area was settled by migrants who moved to cities as the country’s oil industry took off and is now home to more than 1 million people who range from the extremely poor to middle class professionals.

The area now suffers from gang violence and chronic problems with power and water, but its residents have cultivated a sense of pride at facing adversity with a smile.

“Given the situation of the country, this is the best thing that has happened” in Petare, said Omaira Montiel, 47, a homemaker who has lived half her life in Petare. “I’m happy.”

Children and adolescents spent hours flying kites from a hilltop with majestic views of Caracas as a singers performed and a symphonic orchestra of youth musicians played in the background.

The activity helps ensure that “traditions are not lost,” said Marisela Moreno, 55, another Petare resident.

“Petare means a feeling of commitment and dedication”, said opposition leader and former mayor, Carlos Ocariz. “Politics is about spending time with the community.”

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SOURCE: Reuters

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-kites-idUSKBN2AI2JR

Feb 25, 2021

MBK Dowel Delta

We are flying one of your kites :) It is amazing that she flew one day 150 metre in windy day and she wanted to fly over but the string's length did not

Continue reading "MBK Dowel Delta"

Feb 24, 2021

Flight Report:
Fresh Wind Sled Hula

This kite is now showing it's age...

It seems that the last few times the big Fresh Wind Sled has been taken out, several splits in the sail have needed repair. UV damage from the sun has accumulated to the point where the sail plastic is quite brittle. Today, just handling the kite on the ground resulted in another couple of big splits which were duly patched up with clear packing tape.

After the frustrations of sail damage and having to wait for minutes on end for a decent gust to launch, the big blue kite was finally away. Thermals were very active, although the air was somewhat more consistent higher up, as usual. The sled alternated between sinking out slowly and climbing strongly in powerful gusts.

Before long, some pulling to the right was noticeable so I brought the kite down and shifted the bridle knot across by a few millimeters. An extra incentive to correct the imbalance was the powerlines situated not far off to the right! The correction turned out to be a very slight over-correction. But it was fine for a good high flight thereafter.

I took some video as the kite sat out there on 90 meters (300ft) of 200 pound Dacron line. During lulls, the kite would lean side to side and the twin drogues below would follow, with some delay. Towards the end of the video it gave a faint impression of a hula dancer!

On 120 meters (400 feet) of line, the kite still had no trouble pulling out most of the sag. Particularly when 20kph+ breeze strength combined with strong rising air to pull 5kg (12lb) of tension into the line. Yep, it was measured on the trusty spring-scales.There's something very satisfying about hand-flying large sparred kites. Or is that just me?

Soon it was time to go, so several minutes were spent bringing the kite down, hand-over-hand while walking around. Once the kite was down and disconnected, it was easy to reel all the line back onto the garden hose reel :-) without tangles.

A small squadron of magpies briefly followed the kite down, circling around before heading for the nearby trees...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 24, 2021

Kite Stunts

This previously published page starts with some beginner-level general discussion of stunt flying. But there is also a link to some very cool animations of official stunt figures for the more serious stunt kite pilot!

Continue reading "Kite Stunts"

Feb 18, 2021

Flight Report:
Newspaper Kite Mod

It had become apparent, from some feedback, that people could have trouble getting the flying line attached...

The original design of the Newspaper Kite included 2 strips of tape, applied diagonally across the spar crossing point of the diamond. Trouble was, many people would find that it was then tricky to get thread around the vertical tube, very close to the horizontal tube. Sticky tape being in the way!

Hence a re-design to use 2 vertical strips of tape instead, with a 3cm gap to gain easy access to the appropriate bit of the vertical tube.

Earlier this morning the breeze was somewhat too robust to fly the newspaper kite, which likes Gentle-strength wind. That is, 12kph to 19kph. However, around midday the maximum gust strength had dropped to around 15kph. Perfect! The direction had shifted to the West as well, so perhaps it was a sea breeze down there at the coast.

To begin with, I tried a local inland reserve. Interestingly, the breeze there was very gusty and it was soon clear that it was bordering on too strong as well. So perhaps the morning's weather was persisting while a sea breeze had come in at the coast.

I took out the latest build of the kite, with the mod done on it, and up it went. By a minor miracle, the tubes held and so did the thread! By the time I managed to get it down again from say 30 or 40 feet up, the little kite had been taking punishment for a couple of minutes. To it's credit, the kite never threw a loop. I felt like an airline pilot with the Overspeed warning light and buzzer going off :-|

So, it was off to a location closer to the coast...

At the large square reserve just a few km from the water, the breeze was like a tamed-down version of the weather further inland. But it was not the sea breeze. In any case, the kite could now enjoy gusts that it could comfortably handle. With all the thread out, I took some video.

Back in the car, I took a good look at the back of the little diamond kite. No damage of any sort could be seen so the kite should be able to fly for at least a few hours with no peeling tape or tearing paper...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 17, 2021

Ben Franklin Kite

This previously published page will help you build a fair replica of the famous Ben Franklin kite - that flies...

Continue reading "Ben Franklin Kite"

Feb 15, 2021

Flight Report:
Windy Club Fly

I arrived down at Semaphore Park to find plenty of kites in the air. All the usual suspects, plus a handful of non-club flyers as well.

Instead of the predicted SE breeze, the direction was considerably west of south. Brilliant! Coming off the sea, the air was fairly smooth and moving at a Gentle to Moderate pace. Perfect for the big parafoils and other lifters.

After some deliberation I found a spot to anchor the 5 Tyvek diamonds I had brought. The kites were all up in a few minutes, anchored to the hefty straps of my carry-bag as it sat on the sand.

A quick check with the wind meter showed 19kph gusting to 24kph. That being in the top half of the kites' wind range, the diamonds were moving around quite a bit.

At this time there was very little cloud and the temperature was in the very pleasant mid-20's range.

Foot traffic along the foot-path (sidewalk) was constant and many people ventured onto the grass to take photos. And video, who knows.

As the afternoon wore on the breeze freshened considerably. So after seeing the top diamond on my train do a complete loop, the 5 kites were brought down very quickly! This behavior indicated a max gust strength of around 37kph, from previous experience. Another half a minute and the train would have started taking out other nearby kites :-|

By this stage even some of the big parafoils were struggling, dipping steeply off to one side or the other. This signaled the start of all the kites being taken down one by one. Never-the-less, it had been a good fly day!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 11, 2021

Global News Report:
Long Kites In New Zealand...

...the Land of the Long White Cloud. A nice photo gallery of some festival activity. Some captions reproduced below...

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A resident takes photos during the 9th Otaki Kite Festival held on the beach of Otaki, New Zealand, Feb. 6, 2021. Hundreds of colourful kites were flying Saturday in the skies of Wellington's Otaki Beach. These kites were made by local designers under the initiative of the China Cultural Centre in Wellington, which attended this festival for the third year running and has attracted significant attention and affection from viewers.

A kite is seen in the sky during the 9th Otaki Kite Festival held on the beach of Otaki, New Zealand, Feb. 6, 2021.

A Chinese-dragon-shaped kite is seen in the sky during the 9th Otaki Kite Festival held on the beach of Otaki, New Zealand, Feb. 6, 2021.

People fly kites during the 9th Otaki Kite Festival held on the beach of Otaki, New Zealand, Feb. 6, 2021.

{and there's more}

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SOURCE: Global Times

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202102/1215163.shtml

Feb 10, 2021

Styrofoam Kites

Haven't seen any of these lately, but they did exist. On this previously published page there's some trivia from the past... (and some notes on Styrofoam that might surprise)

Continue reading "Styrofoam Kites"

Feb 06, 2021

Its all Yellow

Freezing temps cant keep us grounded🌞 If the groundhog were flying a kite, there would be no thought of shadows and fear to sending us running back to

Continue reading "Its all Yellow"

Feb 04, 2021

Flight Report:
Newsworthy Paper Diamond

But not your traditional newspaper diamond using sticks and string...

This design is being developed for a large US newspaper (ironically!), with the article due for publishing sometime in March. I'll let you know when that happens of course, and the specifics for making the kite will be available then.

Being newspaper rather than copier paper, this diamond is quite different from the MBK Paper Diamond described elsewhere on this site. (Exercise for the reader :-) - site-search for "paper diamond" using the Search box up there on the right...)

So a couple of days ago, the breeze was barely there as thermals pushed the wind direction all around. But I did manage to get the 1st prototype diamond up briefly. 'Briefly' being the operative word, since the little kite was too heavy and unstable. Even the longish tail wouldn't settle the kite down, as it persisted in flipping over onto it's back and trying to fly that way :-) Hence it was back to the drawing board...

Like the paper Series kites, it might take a prototype or 3 before a decent kite emerges! After a couple of hours at home, number 2 was put together. This time I opted for a more traditional diamond shape with the all-newspaper spars crossing at exactly 25% down from the nose.

Although the weather was heading in a bad direction, I managed to pop out and get the kite in the air on quite a few meters of thread. Bingo! The newspaper diamond soared up to a steep angle. A surprise, given the rather long and not particularly light tail. The newspaper tail had plenty of sticky tape to prevent it falling apart from the rigors of flying.

The breeze was gusting well into the Moderate range and this soon caused the inevitable to happen, folding the vertical spar under the strain. But that's ok - the next prototype will have more strength at that crossing-point. And of course, I'll be recommending that people fly this kite in Light to Gentle conditions. That is, up to around 20kph (12mph) of wind speed only...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Feb 03, 2021

Diamond Kites

Interestingly, this iconic design is rarely seen among the 'official' craft aloft at a kite festival. But it's still popular with kids and beginners. Here are some diamonds that *were* seen at a festival... (previously published page)

Continue reading "Diamond Kites"

Jan 28, 2021

Global News Report:
Powerful Kites In Germany

It takes a powerful kite to generate power ...

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RWE Renewables is working with SkySails Power to deploy a 120 square metre kite to capture the wind at heights of up to 400 metres to generate power.

For three years, RWE Renewables will operate the SkySails Power system as part of the pilot project to evaluate the technology.

Suitable locations in Germany are being investigated.

Air wind turbines use the strong and steady wind in air layers of several hundred metres above the ground. The SkySails Power system consists of a ground station with a winch with a generator.

During its ascent, a large kite pulls a rope in controlled flight figures off a winch and the connected generator generates electricity.

As soon as the cable reaches its maximum length, the retrieval phase begins: the kite automatically places itself in a position where its pulling force creates little resistance.

The retrieval process requires only a fraction of the energy generated during the power phase.

Energy produced from kites produce outputs of 100-200kW.

SkySails is working on scaling up the technology.

SkySails CEO Stephan Wrage said: “The lightweight, compact design of air wind turbines takes special account of humans and animals.

“The systems work very quietly, are practically unnoticeable in the landscape and hardly cast any shadow.

“This makes SkySails technology a fascinating variant of renewable power generation with wind power."

RWE Europe wind and solar chief operating officer Katja Wunschel said: “It has the potential to be used both onshore and offshore, thus complementing conventional wind energy.”

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SOURCE: reNEWS

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://renews.biz/66026/sky-s-the-limit-for-rwe-renewables-energy-kite-pilot/

Jan 28, 2021

Flight Report:
Paper Delta On Dacron

Winds outside were gusting firmly into the Moderate range...

Rather than take out the same old kites, I opted for one of the Paper Series designs which would happily take some Moderate-level punishment. Despite having spars made entirely of paper. OK, the layered paper strips were laminated with sticky tape, but it still sounds kind of counter-intuitive doesn't it :-)

Now, these Paper Series kites were designed to fly on polyester sewing thread. In smooth air, the thread gives adequate strength. But today there was a risk of the thread parting due to thermal activity on top of sheer wind speed. Hence the 20 pound Dacron was pulled out and Lark's Headed to the kite bridle.

The little black kite was soon flying around in the ample gusts, on 20 meters or so of line. There was some difficulty in getting any higher though since the kite would sink out quickly in lulls. And then the average wind speed dropped for a while, resulting in a number of short flights.

Finally, some furious gusts shook the nearby tree tops and the Paper Delta reached for the sky once again. In fact the maximum gust strength was as much as the kite could handle, causing the occasional loop to the left. Tension could be felt in the line despite the tiny amount of sail area! It was then possible to let out well over 60 meters (200 feet) of line, which of course caused some sag! At that length, line angles were modest with the kite touching 40 degrees from time to time. The black triangle was so tiny at 200 feet distant, with pale yellow paper tails rippling hard enough to be audible.

Eventually an extended period of fresh wind put the kite in danger of coming down in trees, so I walked back and wound on some line to stay out of trouble.

All the Paper Series designs will do better with light plastic tails, but the challenge was to design all-paper sparred kites - 'real' kites :-)

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Jan 27, 2021

Funny Kites

This previously published page is a look at several kites that I'm sure were designed to be funny above all else! ...

Continue reading "Funny Kites"