My First MBK Delta experience

by Eric Lemay
(Tokyo, Japan)

I just wanted to let you know about my experience flying my very own and first MBK Delta (earlier today, February 13, 2011). I constructed mine using 4mm dowels measuring 900mm. I failed to notice that the spreader needed to be longer than the leading edge spars so I resorted to gluing three pieces of dowel - which turned out to be much too weak. In retrospect, 4mm is probably a bit thin, even though my kite is a bit smaller than your suggested dimensions.

Anyway... I just started walking in the park with the kite in my hand, and as it seemed eager to fly I just let out some line. It just flew straight up with no effort at all, and as soon as it caught the stronger wind it just kept pulling! Soon, the spreader started to bend quite a lot, even though there was not much wind at all on the ground. It flew perfectly well for a couple of minutes, and I managed to let out a fair amount of line (not sure how much) but after a couple of strong gusts of wind, the spreader just snapped and the folded up kite gently came down to the ground.

Inspecting the broken spreader, I found that it had snapped right in the middle, so the joint did not hold and the reinforcement piece was certainly not strong enough to withstand the wind pressure by itself. Fortunately, the spreader only pierced a small piece of sail, through the clear tape border at the bottom edge of the wing. So I just need to patch it and build a proper spreader using 5mm dowels and I should be able to fly it again.

Many thanks for the detailed instructions. I'm not sure why I started making kites this year, but so far it's been very enjoyable. If I end up spending all my free time building kites, it's probably your fault.

Cheers!

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Bending speaders
by: Tim Parish

Thanks Eric, your name rings a bell actually...
Yes, the spreader does get a bit of punishment when the wind gets stronger. I've actually thought of adding a second, shorter reinforcer to the spreader on the Dowel design. So it gets stronger in stages, towards that critical central bit!

I've noticed that many modern commercial designs have relatively shorter spreaders, positioned closer to the nose of the kite. While this is stiffer, it would also shift the center of gravity forward a little. Maybe they get away with it because of the ultra-light materials used.

Glad the MBK Dowel Delta basically flew well for you though!

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