Multiple Kite Posts

These multiple kite posts are flight reports that describe outings involving more than one kite. For example, the weather might have changed and the back-up kite needed to come out! In other cases, testing was being done on 2 kites at once. Or, a few kites were put up just on a whim :-)

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These short flight reports once appeared in the site blog page - that's the one you enter via the 'what's new!' site navigation link. Just scroll down and stop at any heading that appeals :-)

Sled And Roller Rise

On the way to the field, trees and bushes seemed to be indicating a lot less than the expected wind strength...

On getting out of the car, it still didn't seem worth taking out the Multi-Dowel Box kite. So the red Tyvek Roller was selected instead. Also, in my carry-bag, there was the Soft Sled and Parachute which together would cover a broad range of wind speeds.

First up was the Soft Sled on 30 meters (100 feet) of 20 pound Dacron. The kite never looked like coming down and absorbed the fresher gusts with ease. Yes, the wind had started to pick up! I realized the big Box would have had a chance after all. However, at this location, it was a bit of a walk back to the car so the box kite stayed put.

With the Sled doing well, I considered putting up the Roller. But this kite had a history of getting damaged sail-tethers in moderate wind. So I waited for a while...

The conditions were getting less sunny with marbled mid-level cloud starting to filter out the sunlight. In theory, the gustiness and perhaps the overall breeze strength would die down somewhat.

Having got some video of the Sled it was time to let it up higher. Soon, 90 meters (300 feet) of line was out and the bright orange kite continued pulling hard and flying steep most of the time. In lighter periods the sled would take on it's characteristic slow waggle.

Eventually the Roller was rigged and soon soared above the field. The rather uncomfortable wind speeds often pushed the kite to the left but it always recovered and returned to a 60 degree line angle. The tethers held, despite a very healthy tension in the 50 pound flying line.

Overall, the wind speeds did eventually moderate somewhat. But fresher periods still came through occasionally and tested the Roller!

With 2 kites up on 300 feet of line and one on a small block winder, it was going to take a while to bring them both down.

The Roller provided a bit of excitement when turbulence from trees upwind caused a sudden dive at the ground. I reacted by pushing the winder at the kite just in time, and the contact with the earth was soft.

A good outing, all in all!

Paper Kites Cavort

Like my corny headline? At least you're here ;-)

The purpose of today's outing was 2-fold - log some more time on the Paper Sled and test the Paper Diamond with more dihedral.

First up was the Sled which went straight up on some almost Moderate gusts. But it was a warm, thermal-filled sky and so the breeze came through in waves. It would be Gentle to Moderate for a few minutes then Light to Gentle for another few minutes. Of course, the little Sled was inevitably shot down during the latter cycle!

While this was going on, I put up the Paper Diamond up on quite a few meters of line. Apart from a small imbalance to the left, the plain-paper kite flew admirably.

At the size it is, the Diamond's paper sail formed an almost solid surface like a model aircraft wing carved from balsa wood or foam. Despite being much heavier than traditional kite sail material, the little Diamond had no trouble going to quite high line angles. Amazing! I think this and following Paper designs are really going to rock in the Gentle to Moderate wind speed range.

At this point I probably should have moved to a bigger field. Then, all 120m (400ft) of thread could have been let out for the Sled. But instead, I persisted and finally managed to log a 5-minute and two 10-minute flights. In every case, the kite simply sank out in slow air. All the way from about 150 feet off the ground.

For some reason, magpies seem to be particularly attracted to the Paper Sled. At one point I counted 10 of the black and white birds. Almost motionless, they were just standing around peering at the kite as it lay on the grass. Eerie!

Spineless Diamond, Soaring Sled

No, not the latest kiting kung fu movie - rather, the latest Paper Kites expedition...

Winds were Gentle and only just gusting into the Moderate range, down at the reserve. First up was the Diamond prototype, with a revised horizontal spar. The first spar allowed the sail tips to fold back!

The Paper Diamond proved easy to launch in the gusts that came through, with no problems at all with the horizontal spars this time. However, once high enough to catch the full force of the breeze, the kite began to exhibit a peculiar bobbing motion. Oh, that must be the the lack of a 3rd bridle leg I thought. But there was more to it...

The bobbing was quite cyclic at times, which reminded me of what Deltas do when they have a weak spine! Yep, that would almost certainly be the problem. An inadequate vertical spar that was flexing excessively under load.

So, the Diamond was placed back in the car and the Paper Sled pulled out. A bit risky, since there was barely enough consistent breeze. Surprisingly, the Sled ended up flying very high on 2 separate flights.

Thermal activity was around. The flip side to getting great height was the lulls and areas of sinking air that came through. Enough to down a not-so-light Sled kite in less than a minute!

The first flight had an interesting interlude when the kite line almost brushed a tall tree with the kite struggling for height while drifting sideways. Touching the line would end the timing for the flight, so I resisted the urge to 'work the line'. After half a minute or so the Sled crept back up again and the flight continued for several more minutes. A 10 minute flight all up.

Flight number 2 saw the Paper Sled catch a quite strong patch of lift. Stepping out of leafy shade, I looked up and couldn't believe the line angle! Really, there's no kite of modest performance that a decent thermal can't fix :-)

The next outing might be down at the beach, to get some close-up photos of the Sled. And to test a Diamond that hopefully will exhibit a bit of back-bone.

Paper Sled And Diamond Dance

A slightly risky proposition, taking out paper kites with small patches of rain on the radar! But the patches of approaching light rain were dissipating, so out I went...

After the usual fiddling about in wind shadow, the Paper Sled finally found enough height and line length at the right moment. The newly minted #2, made in colored sheets of A4 toiled upwards on a tight polyester thread.

All-paper winders are also being developed, just to be consistent. The winder paired with this Paper Sled had a total of 120 meters (400 feet) of sewing thread wound on. I'll buy some more for my wife later ;-)

Leaving a few turns on the winder for safety, the line was passed under my gear bag. It held OK, with the winder jammed up against the upwind side of the bag. And there it was - a good 35 degrees of angle with the kite quite steady up at 200 feet off the grass. And perhaps 50 feet more when rising air and fresher breeze strengths came through.

While the MBK Paper Sled did it's thing up high, it was time to test the Paper Diamond #1. Earlier tests in the back yard had established that single-line bridles would not be practical in moderate winds. Not surprised? Neither was I really. Paper and tape has it's limits. So, to drastically reduce the stresses on the horizontal spar, a simple 2-leg bridle was tried.

The Diamond lifted off with greater ease than the Sled, which was surprising, However, the horizontal spar failed at the bridle attachment points whenever the wind gusted. No problem - a bit of extra paper and tape at just the right spots will fix it. A much easier problem to solve than making a 1-line bridle work! A little extra tail will be needed too.

After 15 minutes in the air, the Sled came down. Possibly due to a bridle line finding it's way around an upper corner of the sail in rough air. No damage was evident and the kite sailed straight back up to 200 feet after one false start. This second flight lasted for 25 minutes - almost 10 of which was during the laborious wind-in of thread!

Some Kites Just Need The Beach

The local kite club bought a load of second hand gear - including kites - from interstate some months ago...

With the power supposedly being cut sometime between 8am and 3pm today, it was an opportunity to do something off-line. Several large kites from Queensland were lying packed away in the shed. It was time to pull out one or two and see what condition they were in. And, possibly, get one in the air...

The first craft to be unrolled and rigged was a large single-liner with 2 bowed horizontal spars and several battens. Interesting! The outline was an odd low-aspect-ratio shape - nothing standard like a Diamond or Rokkaku. The owner had a huge amount of bow in the lower spar but I guess he did it in response to the kite's behavior in the air. In fact, a small loop knot had been tied into the bow-line to pull even more curvature into the glass-fiber tube. Only the horizontal spars had been removed from the sail to allow the kite to be packed away.

Two tails were included with the kite...

One tail was a series of panels that formed a long rectangular shape. Thin fiberglass rods were arranged horizontally at regular intervals to hold the material flat.

The other tail was a series of Diamonds, nose to tail. Each Diamond shape had it's own little horizontal spar. Like the big long rectangle, the whole thing just rolled up for storage.

Down at the reserve...

After the breeze picked up and proved too much for my super-light-wind Dowel Diamond, the big battened kite was rigged. On some dry leaves and twigs away from the damp grass. With just the rectangular tail attached, the colorful kite seemed a little too unstable to risk flying it high. So, after attaching the nose-to-tail Diamonds as well, up the craft went for a more full-blooded attempt.

To cut a long story short as they say - the big kite didn't cope well with inland gusty air. The front end would twist and luff occasionally, sometimes coming close to pulling the kite into a dive. Eventually, that's exactly what happened - a nose-over followed by a steep dive into a wet section of the field. The nose pocket buried itself 8cm (3 inches) into the mud. At least that might have prevented any damage!

Despite this experience, I'm confident that this kite will behave itself in a smooth sea breeze. Anything in the Gentle to Moderate ranges should keep this kite up. And it does look good in the air!

And don't forget, if you want to take a closer look at my other MBK designs...

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of printable PDF file downloads.

FREE E-Book!

I'm referring to Simplest Dowel Kites, my popular kite-making download. It's a printable PDF file. Make a diamond, delta or sled. Each kite is capable of flying hundreds of feet up for hours on end.

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What's New!

  1. Tiny light wind newspaper kites

    Jul 09, 20 08:25 PM

    As a child (around 6) one of my parent's friends with children near my age took us outside and taught us how to make the smallest of light-wind kites from

    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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