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!

Sep 19, 2019

Flight Report:
Indoor Fan Finally Flies

Been wondering about the delay? The finicky Fan has been nothing but trouble...

I started making notes of the changes made to the original prototype of this kite, in the attempts to get it to fly at all. With a page full of notes now, I'm not going to bother you with the details of every little fix. It wasn't even clear exactly what type of frame the kite required. It was just so difficult to get the balance of strength and weight right, in various parts of the kite. On top of that, the kite was hideously unstable!

The examples online of this type of kite were all different in their framing. Plus they had the advantage of hi-tech materials. So a paper-framed version would have to come from a fresh approach.

Eventually, after many re-fits of spars and spreaders over the original and now somewhat worse-for-wear plastic sail, a solution was found. Just as well, since I came so close to tossing in the whole idea of designing an indoor fan kite :-| That would be a pity, since this type of kite really ticks the box for 'unusual'.

This is what worked: a horizontal spar with double-dihedral about 2/3rds of the way back plus a straight spreader about 1/3 of the way back from the leading edge. The spreader was attached to only 3 of the 5 radial spokes of the fan. Unfortunately, despite all the work, a fair amount of tail was also necessary.

The current kite flew stable (only just!) and up to around 40 degrees of line angle. Low speed performance was fair, as well. The solution reminded me of the very first MBK 1-Skewer Barn Door design which also required a hefty amount of dihedral. Like the Fan, double-dihedral resulted in a flat section of sail in the middle.

Version 2 is coming up soon, and with more sail area, a lower aspect ratio and even more dihedral it might just fly without a tail. If not, weight will be shaved everywhere :-) before trying again...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Sep 18, 2019

Dowel Diamond Kite

This is a previously published flight report on the Dowel Diamond kite. It was one of the earlier builds, flying in very active air on this occasion...

Continue reading "Dowel Diamond Kite"

Sep 14, 2019

Flight Report:
1-Skewer Roller Rose...

Very briefly, before descending again, unfortunately...

The breeze was a very smooth 15 kph down at the beach, according to an online weather source. And healthy puffs of breeze blew through our yard from time to time. However, the conditions were moderating quickly, as I soon found out down at the reserve.

Shoulda coulda woulda ... brought a backup light-wind kite :-| Tsk tsk.

On arrival, barely a leaf was stirring. Every few minutes, thermal activity was evident as the leaves at the tops of the trees were disturbed. This was not good, since the little 1-Skewer Roller was not a light-wind kite!

The kite had been dusted off to get some better video footage of it than what you might currently come across on the website. The early videos were quite low-res with a low frame rate as well.

Considering the conditions it would have been better to fly the kite on polyester thread. But 20 pound Dacron would still be light enough since there would be less than 30 meters (100 feet) of length out.

The little Roller responded well to tugs on the line, as I attempted to urge it up higher. Once in a while the tiny kite did find something and managed to maintain height for a few seconds (!) at a time. However, descents soon followed and they very quickly ended with the kite on the grass.

The camera was at the ready but it was nearly impossible to get a decent clip of the little kite doing its thing up there. No time. Oh for another 3 or 4 kph of average wind speed!

Eventually I gave up, but not before seeing the kite do it's absolute most in the conditions. Light gusts of warm rising air were spilling across the wide grassed area every few minutes.

On the way home it was a toss-up whether to even bother writing the flights up. As usual, I bothered :-)

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Sep 12, 2019

Global News Report:
Festival of the Winds

Here in Australia: These days it's debatable whether the Sydney event is still the biggest in the country, but anyway ;-) ...

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Thousands of kite lovers flocked to Sydney's famous Bondi Beach on Sunday for Australia's largest kite festival, the 41st Festival of the Winds.

An array of brightly coloured kites filled the sky above Bondi with professionals and amateurs alike making the most of a breezy day.

While young and old were able to enjoy launching their own smaller versions, representatives from the Australian Kiteflyers Society were on hand to show off some more elaborate designs.

Sea creatures, stylised unicorns and birds of prey lifted off, as well as many more esoteric and colourful designs.

One of the highlights of the festival was a life size whale kite, piloted by Craig Hansen from New Zealand based kite manufacturer, Peter Lynn Kites.

"The kites we fly are soft kites or inflatable kites and they have no rigid structure so the wind inflates them, the fabric is sewn together to be recognisable as something but also to provide lift," Hansen told Xinhua.

Hansen said that many countries have their own unique approach to kite flying such as the masterly crafted, traditional silk and bamboo kites of China and the fighting kites of India and Pakistan.

Although Australia's kite culture is less clearly defined, Hansen said the benefits are plain to see.

"It's just fabulous, and free power, it's there to use and take hold of," Hansen said.

"It takes you out of yourself you get to look up, instead of looking down all the time."

The Festival of the Winds is a favourite among kite lovers, not just for the idyllic setting, but also its family friendly entertainment and atmosphere.

{plus a slideshow of images}

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SOURCE: Xinhua

URL (full story and/or photos, video): http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/08/c_138375537.htm

Sep 12, 2019

Flight Report:
Tale Of Two Birds

As it turned out, the MBK Indoor Bird wasn't the only one to use the airspace around our house...

As a pre-cursor to today's flights by the final and decorated Indoor Bird, a real one got chased into our garage by the approaching nose of our car! The small creature had to flap round a corner to find it's way out at the far end. Right into the airspace I use to get most of the in-flight shots of newly-completed indoor kites.

Although it's an open veranda, the roof and poles give an indoor feel. It also allows more light for photography and a bit more space for towing.

Firstly, a little flying was done inside the house to double-check the towing point position. The clear plastic bird soared straight up and flew along at a decent angle, near the ceiling. All good! Then it was time to go outside to take some in-flight photos...

Today was a little tricky since a significant amount of wind was blowing around our property. The moment for flight had to be judged carefully to avoid getting the flimsy craft flung all about. Not to mention over-stressing the frame.

Several brief tow-ups were done, as I walked backwards up and back under the veranda roof. Thread in one hand and camera in the other, with focus fixed at about 1.2 meters (4 feet).

Of the 8 or so photos taken, just 2 stood out as being usable. With a bit of a crop and re-size, you can see the result on the How To page for making the MBK Indoor Bird kite. That's under the Kite Making | indoor kites menu item on the website.

After all that, it was back to the living-room for a bit more flying. Just to enjoy the fruits of my labors...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Sep 12, 2019

Learn How To Make An Indoor Bird Kite, Step-by-Step

Easy instructions showing how to make an indoor bird kite, from copier paper, sticky tape and plastic bags.

Continue reading "Learn How To Make An Indoor Bird Kite, Step-by-Step"

Sep 11, 2019

Kite Picture

This previously published page features some great photos where a kite, although present, is not necessarily the main attraction. It's something different...

Continue reading "Kite Picture"

Sep 08, 2019

Flight Report:
Club Fly In Stiff Winds

In the morning, it was not looking promising with a rain band approaching and stiff winds blowing...

After mid-day, the rain had blown over. We turned up at the usual beach location to see big whitecaps on the ocean and a handful of kite-surfers enjoying the conditions. It was not T-shirt weather :-| A quick check with the wind meter showed the breeze was gusting to 24kph.

Mike was first up with his small traction foil, flying on short lines over the grass.

Shah soon followed with his very well-used quad kite flying near the top of it's range.

Meanwhile, the 24kph gusts had increased to 30kph but the breeze remained quite smooth with the average not a lot lower!

Room looked a bit tight over the sand but I pulled out the trusty Peter Powell Mk3 and flew it on just over half line length.

Henry decided not to fly anything big since it would be a pain to bring it down again! Big kites equal big tension.

By this stage Mike had also launched the red pilot kite (a 4-cell parafoil) with a toy rocket on a release, half-way up the line. Pity there weren't any kids around to enjoy getting bombed by the inverted rocket :-) The parafoil was coping well - I've seen it list to one side in more extreme conditions.

Out on the sand I practiced wide loops, square loops, horizontal 8s, vertical 8s, square loops, square 8s, vertical square 8s and ... cloverleafs round and square. As usual all these were done in both directions. As a single-line guy I'm just having a go - none of this could be described as competition standard :-|

Square maneuvers can get the arms rather tired - particularly the square cloverleafs. Bang-bang-bang-bang there's no relief!

A moment of confusion during a vertical square 8 resulted in a nose-first smack into the sand. This popped one horizontal spar out of the center fitting but no damage was done. The only other mishap was contacting a short wooden post that bordered a walk-way onto the sand. From horizontal flight near the sand, the kite bounced back a meter or 2 and floundered for a moment before I managed to fly it up and away :-)

I kept flying until my arms were really starting to feel it. Meanwhile Shah was feeling the strain in his shoulders from the un-vented quad kite. In addition my face was getting slow-cooked in the sun so I called it a day. As Spring progresses it might be time to start using protective head-wear again...

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Sep 08, 2019

Delta wood dowel kite - 3/4 scale

I purchased the E-book on building the MBK Delta (Light) wood dowel kite. Highly recommended and I am an experienced kite builder. Here where I live

Continue reading "Delta wood dowel kite - 3/4 scale"

Sep 05, 2019

Global News Report:
Having A Beach Day

Still in the USA - some smaller events have a completely different feel to the biggest kite festivals...

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Clear skies and a hint of a breeze made for the perfect day for the 5th Annual Kite Festival by the Onset Bay Association.

Over 200 people came out to Onset beach on Saturday to fly kites of all shapes and sizes.

“This festival is bringing all nationalities together to one place. People are having a good time, and all the riff raff is staying outside the beach,” said Rodney "Sandman" Johnson. “It’s a very family-oriented beach. And that's what makes it great."

Festival-goers could bring their own kites, buy one, or build and design their own for five dollars. Kite flyers and watchers alike said the festival is always fun for the whole family.

“My husband and I came here to have a beach day with our kids,” said Onset resident Amanda Jones. “I love these types of things where children and parents can participate together in something fun.”

Wareham resident Scott Lash said one of his favorite things about being at the kite festival is the event’s mellow atmosphere.

“Most festivals have a lot of stimuli: music, lots of vendors, and all these different things,” he said. “Here, you just hang out with your family and look at the sky. You can wear pants, you can wear shorts, you can wear a swimsuit, it doesn't matter, as long as you are comfortable.”

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SOURCE: Wareham Week

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://wareham.theweektoday.com/article/flying-high-annual-kite-festival/43451

Sep 04, 2019

Flight Report:
Indoor Bird Passes

... the all-important flight tests of course...

Since prototype #1 failed the duration test miserably, #2 has been designed and constructed with a couple of centimeters extra, all around the perimeter of the bird shape. This equated to a good 20% or so of extra area, which has certainly helped the duration score.

However, it didn't take a lot of flying around indoors to discover that the spreader strength was under-done...

Trying to save weight by lightening the spreader was not such a good idea after all, particularly since there was now more sail area. First it failed in the middle, during a routine pull-up. After a quick patch-up with tape, it failed off to one side on another flight! So it was back to the drawing board. I ended up adding 1 millimeter to the tip width and 4 millimeters to the width across the middle.

The towing point had been successfully established before the original spreader failed. Now, with a decent stiff spreader, the Indoor Bird was a delight to fly. I could only get 8 seconds out of it over the duration course, though. Due to the nature of the design and the constraints of using paper and tape, that might have to do.

Out on the open veranda with almost calm conditions outdoors, the kite sped along at a peak speed of 7.1 kph with no dramas. So that's the strength aspect sorted :-)

Next, it was out over the wet grass of the back lawn. I let the thread out to almost a couple of meters (7 feet) and towed the clear-plastic bird kite around the corner of the house and back. Beautiful! At one point the thread definitely exceeded 45 degrees from horizontal so that proves the efficiency is good enough.

Back inside again I walked around in a small circle with my flying arm extended outwards, to check the kite's behavior on a short line. No problems there. It stayed airborne obediently for 2 complete circuits.

So it's time to commit to doing the free online instructions for the MBK Indoor Bird. What it lacks in slow speed performance it will make up for in sheer good looks I think!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

Sep 04, 2019

MBK Roller Kite Reports

This previously published page is a collection of links to flight reports on the various MBK Rollers over the years. Photos and videos on those pages...

Continue reading "MBK Roller Kite Reports"


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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...