Mini Sled Kites

Plus 2 Not-So-Mini Designs...

In the 'mini Sled kites' category, probably only our 1-Skewer Sled really belongs. That's because it's spars are ordinary BBQ skewers. We find the 12 cm (12 inch) variety work well.

Next up in size comes the 2-Skewer Sled, which to some people still appears rather small. Even 'mini' perhaps? When I first designed it, after only flying 1-skewer kites for quite a while, 2 skewers tall seemed a decent size!

One day, while out flying it with my young son, a lady remarked to her child 'Look at that little kite!'. I was almost offended... Looking back, it's a bit of a laugh!

Later, I started making larger kites like the Dowel Sled. In smooth air, it will soar right up over 300 feet. And hold a good angle too! Finally, the huge Multi-Dowel Sled came to be, which had twice the span of the Dowel version. This huge but simple kite was often used to lift a camera rig into the air for aerial photography.

And I didn't stop there. The Paper Sled featuring all-paper construction is 0 enough to fly on polyester thread. That's definitely a mini sled kite!




You can find instructions for making all these sleds and more in this resource...

My Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.



 

The MBK Simple Sled kite in flight.
The MBK Simple Sled kite in flight.

From here on is a photo or two of each MBK Sled. The end result illustrated, in case you decide to use our instructions to make one of these kites.

A lot of people have shied away from making my Skewer kites due to their complexity and need for gluing. Hence I did a small series of ultra-basic kites, including this Simple Sled.

The spars are about 1 meter (nearly 3 1/2 feet) long. And no gluing! In light winds, it can be flown on 20 pound line, but we usually use 50 pound line just to be safe.

This Sled does not require tails, which does help to keep things simple.



1-Skewer Sled Kite

The original 1-Skewer Sled in clear plastic.Original 1-Skewer Sled
The original 1-Skewer Sled in clear plastic.Original 1-Skewer Sled

The dinky little 1-Skewer Sled. Each spar is a 30 cm (12 inches) bamboo BBQ skewer. With the points snipped off, that's about 29 cm (11 1/2 inches).

The original was made from clear freezer-bag plastic, which made it almost impossible to see against a gray sky. A good little flier though!

We made quite a number of these mini sled kites over a period of several months. We fly this one on 50 meters (150 feet) of 20 pound line. It doesn't need that strength, but we also fly our 2-skewer kites on the same line....



 

The MBK 1-Skewer Sled kite in flight.MBK 1-Skewer Sled
The MBK 1-Skewer Sled kite in flight.MBK 1-Skewer Sled

Here's the latest version of the 1-skewer Sled, in MBK Orange of course ;-) This one can get off the ground in a light breeze, but really loves moderate breezes.

I'v had reports of Cub Scouts and similar groups having a lot of success with this little design. It's certainly quick to put together. And reliable in the air, so long as the bridle lines are equal in length.

See this kite flying in lighter winds, in the video below... 


 


2-Skewer Sled Kite

The original 2-Skewer Sled kite in flight.Original 2-Skewer Sled
The original 2-Skewer Sled kite in flight.Original 2-Skewer Sled

The 2-Skewer Sled is, as the name suggests, exactly twice as tall as the 1-Skewer design. Each spar is 2 skewers joined end-to-end. This gives it 4 times the sail area with not much more than double the weight. Hence, it's pretty good in light winds.

The original kite pictured had 2-ply plastic which made it a little heavier, but it was still a great performer. In fact, home-made sleds can have problems staying open if the sail material is too light and flimsy. 

In moderate winds, the 20 pound line was pulled quite tight, and even started to buzz when the wind strength picked up even further! The kite was also quite happy to loll about lazily in quite light wind conditions.



The MBK 2-Skewer Sled kite in flight.MBK 2-Skewer Sled
The MBK 2-Skewer Sled kite in flight.MBK 2-Skewer Sled

Some years later I decided to re-do the 2-Skewer Sled. With slightly different proportions and the spars angled in a little towards the lower end, the new kite did not require tails to fly stable. It also flew at a higher angle than the old design.

However, the new sled would accelerate so rapidly in gusts sometimes, that the leading edge would fold under causing the kite to snap shut! On the positive side, if this ever happened, the kite would soon recover and pop open again - seconds later.

The photo shows the latest 2-Skewer Sled.

Down below is a video showing the latest 2-Skewer Sled design. It does fine without tails as you can see. Of course, even if tails are optional - you might still want them just for looks!


 


Dowel Sled Kite

Sled Kites - Dowel Sled
Sled Kites - Dowel Sled

The Dowel Sled was designed from the start to be tail-less. Those diamond-shaped cut-outs create a little extra drag near the tail end of the kite to help keep it stable.

The Dowel Sled is rather sensitive to rough air but will fly at extremely high line angles in conditions that suit it.

Size? It's about twice as tall as the 2-Skewer Sled, so that's about 4 times the sail area. Compared to the 1-Skewer Sled, the Dowel Sled has about 16 times as much sail area!

There it is in the video below. Some day I'll have to re-sail the old sled and do a better video! But at least it shows you how it flies...


 


Multi-Dowel Sled Kite

The MBK Multi-Dowel Sled kite in flight.MBK Multi-Dowel Sled
The MBK Multi-Dowel Sled kite in flight.MBK Multi-Dowel Sled

The big Daddy of MBK Sleds, the Multi-Dowel Sled proved to be the hardest-pulling kite of all my designs :-)  As such, I occasionally have referred to this kite as The Horse.

In light winds, the generous amount of line tension is a bonus when doing KAP - Kite Aerial Photography. Lifting the rig plus camera is effortless!

Once, when the kite got caught up in a large thermal, it went straight overhead and pulled around 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of tension into the 200-pound Dacron line, during a gust! You see, I had the line hooked up to a set of spring scales at the time.

At other times, this kite has simply been fun to fly in very light wind conditions when some of my other large kites would have struggled.

In the video below, see the huge sled moving around in Light to Gentle wind strengths on a fairly short line...


 



We once took all 3 Sleds down to the beach and put them up in the moderate sea breeze that was blowing in from the South West.

Out In The Field

Sled kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

Even managed to get a photo, with all three in view!

That's about it for this page on mini Sled kites. Some more mini than others!

Hope you enjoyed the pics and the info. Talking about info...

My Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.



I can tell you love kites...

Otherwise you wouldn't be all the way down here near the bottom of the page :-)

So, could you do me just a small favor? 

Please sign up for my free monthly publication, "Tethered Flying". No other emails will be sent, and your details are safe with me. You do need to be at least 16 years old. There's...

  • A huge "photo of the month" (via a link)
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  • A "flight report of the month" (selected from my own flying logs, with a photo)

Looking forward to hearing from you...

P.S. My free kite-making e-book "Simplest Dowel Kites" can be downloaded as soon as you sign up.



 

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    1-Skewer Roller Lets Rip

    Sep 21, 19 09:07 AM

    No actual ripping of sail material occurred, but boy, did the little kite scoot around! ... After a short session over our roof-top the other day, the kite seemed to pull left so a side-tether was tig…

    Read More

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 ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
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

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