Paper Kite Posts—Delta

(Paper Spars)

It's an archive of sorts, although there are no dates and times. Kite flying is timeless, don't you agree?

I trust there is plenty in here to educate, inform, and often entertain!

These short flight reports once appeared as posts in the site-blog page, although that page is no longer present on this site. Below, the latest posts come first. Just scroll down and stop at any heading that appeals :-)

Paper Delta Kite

Introducing the Black Paper Delta

After about four plain-paper prototypes and at least a couple of spar refits, the final colored-paper kite has flown.

Paper kite posts - delta. The MBK Paper Delta in flight.MBK Paper Delta

Usually I play safe and do the photo session for the image gallery and e-book cover down at a beach. I prefer sunny weather, with a gentle-strength onshore breeze. This guarantees predictable flying and safety for the kite. Also, this enables great closeup photos, since I can practically stand next to the kite as it hovers steadily over the sand on a short line.

Well, the sun was out today, but the breeze was easterly. That was no good for the beach. A little accident with the thread and it would be goodbye kite—into the waves! And unflyable weather was on the way for the rest of the week, so it was now or never.

It was decided to try a large grassy area adjacent to a large shopping complex. There were trees surrounding the field, but they weren't too high.

Just before leaving home, a very nearby weather station was reporting 16 kph with a gust to 22 kph. Perfect! The day was warming up though, and thermals were beginning to develop.

Predictably, being inland, several attempts to fly on a short line resulted in fairly short flights. They were less than 30 seconds each, most probably. This was despite moving to the middle of the field to escape wind shadow from the trees. But plenty of photos were taken from various angles.

The next step was to let out more thread, and get some high-flying shots. At the same time, I moved upwind to allow more space downwind in case the thread broke. You can't be too careful in that respect; I've lost a couple of paper kite prototypes that way!

The bridle setting seemed to be keeping the kite a little low. So, I shortened the rear bridle line by tying a tiny loop knot into it, and tried again. Maybe it was a smidge too far back, but the little black delta certainly went higher than before.

The strongest gusts were now causing some distortion in the kite frame and a fair amount of looping around. But everything held. Some video was taken, and then some more after I had brought the delta down much lower.

On arriving home, I checked the weather station again. It had been blowing 22 kph with a gust to 26 kph around the time I left the field. So, the black Paper Delta had flown through pretty much the whole of its designed wind range.

On this site, there's more kite-making info than you can poke a stick at :-)  Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The 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.

Every kite in every MBK series.

Delta High and Dry

It's been soggy around here for days, but some sunlight yesterday and early today had largely dried out the grass.

Finally, after chasing a decent inland fly for the Paper Delta, it happened. The breeze was cool and very gusty, but the little delta managed to claw its way right up to 200 feet in the sunny blue sky. This was on a bit more than 90 meters (300 feet) of thread.

I don't have length flags or markings on the thread, like more conventional flying line, so I just pace it out under the flying kite. When the kite is low, the method is reasonably accurate. This situation might be due to a lull in the breeze, or the opposite—the kite stressing out and looping down in fast air.

A prolonged lull in the wind brought the Paper Delta down after only 5 minutes. Not to worry, since the height certification was "in the bag"!

Battling a Broken Wing

Right now, I'm chasing a long high flight inland to get height certification for the Paper Delta.

It looked ideal on the weather-station report. Down at a huge square reserve near the same location, there was promising movement in the treetops around the perimeter.

No time was wasted getting the delta into the air. Although, as usual with flying these paper kites inland, it wasn't easy to get right up into the smooth fast air.

When the little delta did soar high over the field, an old problem resurfaced. Even with a patch on, the left leading edge soon weakened. Every strong gust which should have pushed the kite to a high line angle instead forced it into tight circles to the left!

The right leading edge has held firm through everything the weather has thrown at this kite. So the design is OK. It's just that the other leading edge got bent by accident one day and has never been the same since. I'll just patch it again and hope for the best on the next outing.

Another issue has been resolved today, regarding the bridle. On a simple delta kite with a straight-across trailing edge, the towing point lies right on 50% of the spine's length.

Not so, for deltas like the Paper Delta which have a fixed-dihedral spreader. This arrangement keeps the upper portion of the sail rather flat, compared to the lower portion which is free to take on some billow under flight loads.

The result is that the ideal towing point is somewhat further forward than on an equivalent delta with a floating spreader.

After shifting the towing point forward by a centimeter or so today, the kite did much better.

Short Flights in Wild Air

I'm really trying hard to take every opportunity to finish the testing of the Paper Delta.

Rain had been bucketing down all night, so there would be nowhere dry to fly today. However, copier paper has proved resilient enough to cope with such conditions in small doses. So out I went.

It turned out to be a difficult session, with fresh gusts snapping the thread and a near miss with trees downwind. Wind speed varied from zip to well over 30 kph, and the left leading edge had developed a weak spot. However, this spar has been bent before while on the ground, by accident. This could explain the weakness.

Just to be on the safe side, I'll be strengthening the leading edges in the appropriate areas anyway. That will be by adding external patches for the current kite, but doing something more integrated with the final colored-paper version.

After much walking back and forth, repairing thread, and relaunching on as much length as I dared, the Paper Delta finally returned a 5 minute flight. The kite landed in rain (!), so a wind-in and retreat to the car happened in a hurry.

The kite and tails are stretched out on the carpet as I type, recuperating to a drier state.

It's been a tricky road, developing this delta, but we'll get there.

Delta Tries to Tickle the Dunes

Once again, to fly the Paper Delta successfully required a 35 minute car trip out to a beach, far to our north.

Also once again, the launch was marginal. Constant working of the polyester thread was necessary to keep the kite aloft while letting out more thread. Eventually, the little paper craft was sitting up there, barely moving. It was picture perfect against the puffy white cumulus clouds.

On the way there, taking turns off the winder caused the delta to descend slowly. Holding on would allow the kite to ascend just as slowly, gaining a little height overall.

Initially I measured the breeze at 10.5 kph gusting to just over 12 kph. Fortunately, this gradually built to 16 kph gusting to 19 kph. This kept the kite high for a good 20 minutes or so, before a short period of lighter air came in.

While I watched, the delta slowly descended to just 30 feet off the dunes. Then the air freshened once again, and the kite recovered to its previous height.

Finally though, the wind dropped right out and winding-in was necessary to prevent the kite going down in the scrub behind the dunes. At that point, the clock was stopped (metaphorically!) at 35 minutes of flight time. This was a useful amount of time to log.

Earlier, I had paced out 110 meters across the sand, getting a rough measure of the line length while the Paper Delta was hanging in at a low line-angle. Later, the kite briefly achieved a 30-degree line angle, meaning it's still slightly short of making the magic 200-foot altitude for certification. All it will take is a bit more wind.

A Lean to the Right

Hey, this isn't a political blog; what were you expecting?

The kite—the kite—had a bit of a lean to the right today, high up over a beach not far from the airport. Maybe it wasn't quite the required 5.5 km away, but hey, we're talking paper, sewing thread, and no solid bits here!

It was a bit of a drive. In fact, it was almost exactly a 50 kilometer (30 mile) round trip from where we live. You gotta go where the wind blows.

Down on the beach, the breeze was measured at just 10 kph and gusting to 14 kph. That's pretty marginal. And indeed, it was only just possible to slowly let out thread while the Paper Delta hovered just a meter or two off the narrow strip of dry sand.

However, with about 60 meters of thread out, I managed to work the kite up to over 50 feet of altitude. From there, a welcome surge happened as the little delta suddenly got its teeth into some faster air. Up and up the paper-and-tape craft rose, pulling the thread tighter.

With the very slight lean to the right and not quite optimal wind speed, the kite achieved a 40-degree line angle with just the tiniest amount of sag. The delta flew steadily at just over 150 feet up, streamer tails rippling and reflecting the sunlight.

A man with young child in his arms appeared at the entrance to the beach and they just stood there for a full 5 minutes, gazing.

Eventually, the Paper Delta started to descend, ever so slowly. But it was a one-way trip to the sand as the breeze died away. It had been a 15-minute flight. This was a useful amount to log, on the way to the 3-hour total needed for certification of the design.

Soggy Sortie by the Sea

The weather site was indicating flyable conditions at a nearby beach.

Launching the Paper Delta was straightforward, but the breeze was very close to the minimum strength required for this kite. It was a struggle.

By working the line a bit, the delta managed to pull out a fair amount of thread. However, gaining height was another matter!

Several times I tried, managing at one stage to get the kite perhaps 40 feet up over the damp sand. The line angle was pathetic. And that was part of the problem.

The more the paper sail and paper tails lay around on the sand and seaweed, the more moisture and hence weight they picked up. This wasn't to the point of getting "soggy" as per the slightly misleading title. But certainly the extra grams were doing the kite no favors in such marginal weather.

A couple of middle-aged guys approached the kite on the sand, intending to help me relaunch. To their surprise, the paper craft magically climbed away all of a sudden ;-) Of course, that was in response to a firm pull on the thread.

This barely qualifies as a flight report I guess, but the Paper Delta did hang in the air for a few seconds during a period of 12 kph gusting to 14 kph.

Hopefully the next outing will be bathed in sunshine, to dry out all that paper!

Paper Delta Dallies for an Hour

Down at the same beach as last time, the breeze was much different.

This time the wind was blowing ever so slightly offshore, and consequently was quite rough. The little delta flew smoothly in short spurts. At other times there was much wing-waggling, dipping, and curving to the left or right.

Initially, the air was moving quite low in the gentle range. That is, around 10 kph with gusts to 12 kph. However, as time passed, the breeze strength built up and up. The peak readings were 20 kph with a gust to 26 kph—only 2 kph short of the redline :-) At those speeds, I watched and counted just one complete loop to the right and later a complete loop to the left. The specs have been updated for a little more tail to be added!

On around 45 meters (150 feet) of thread, the kite seemed safe enough from a water landing. Whether it was on an intact thread or not.

The small delta entertained small numbers of people both on the sand and up beside the Esplanade. From time to time, the kite caught bright rays of late-afternoon sunshine as cloud cover scooted past the sun's position.

Seagulls were everywhere. One bird was a little careless and contacted the flying line with its wing before doing a midair handbrake turn, and flying on upwind. The thread survived, I'm happy to report.

Being time to make my way home, the Paper Delta Mk4 was pulled down after a round one hour of flying time. Windier weather is approaching, so it might be a while before there are more opportunities for long flights.

Paper Delta Mk4—Wow!

Today the Mk4 Paper Delta was finished off and all the tails were simply cut off Mk3 and stuck onto Mk4.

Down at the beach, the breeze was a smooth 11 kph gusting to 14.4 kph. this was a little light for the previous version, but the current kite lapped it up. Up it popped to a steady 50 to 55-degree line angle while I pottered around measuring wind speed and taking video. Also, I took the winder in hand as the odd dog owner walked by with a four-legged threat to the polyester thread.

After 10 minutes on just 15 meters (50 feet) of thread, the cream-colored delta sank unexpectedly to the sand. However, it was simply a small drop in wind speed that was the cause.

For a second flight, I let out quite a few more meters of thread. Besides putting the kite higher, this action also positioned the kite much closer to the rocky ridge. The rocks were forcing the onshore breeze up and over.

Seagulls were enjoying the ridge lift as well. One of the birds approached the delta from behind for a quick inquisitive look, before sailing off to one side.

Once again I had to duck out to the bag on the sand to pick up the winder as a dog approached. By this time, the breeze had freshened a little. The Paper Delta started to throw the occasional swish to one side or the other, in response. It might be necessary to add another meter of length to the central tails to ensure the kite stays up in even fresher breezes. Every Paper Series design is supposed to remain up in 28 kph.

So, with the greatest of ease, a total of half an hour of air time was logged today. There are 2 1/2 hours to go.

Paper Delta Inland Again

Time was short and the breeze direction was ideal for the inland place I flew at last time.

So, yesterday it was another inland fly for the Paper Delta Mk3. It turned out I was a little premature with saying this design "is a proven inland flyer."

Sure, the little delta stayed up for minutes on end in the blustery conditions. The sail even put up with a few rain drops as a small squall blew through. But the Mk3 kite was still a fairly poor performer in terms of line angle. A close inspection revealed why.

After spending a short period in fresh winds, the vertical spar had taken on a slight curve. Plus there was a slight upward bend, forward of the upper bridle attachment point. So a slightly deeper spar is required.

The spreader dihedral angle, although copied from the Mk2 kite, has turned out to be excessive on the Mk3. The spreader needs to be shifted aft by a couple of cm too. These measures will bump up the effective sail area of the kite in flight and provide a bit more resistance to leading edge bending.

At least the refitted spars seemed fully up to strength! No damage was done after the kite flew through some periods of fresh wind speeds.

Now to get started on constructing ... sigh ... the Mk4.

Paper Delta Flies Inland

So what you might say. Well, previous versions of this kite just wouldn't stay up in even moderately variable inland winds.

A first attempt at a small clearing near a school didn't work out. There were too many trees upwind disturbing the breeze. So I moved on to a larger reserve.

This time the kite showed promise, rising high every now and again in gusts of moderate-strength wind. I had walked across to an area adjacent to where I usually fly, but the ground was a problem. Little thistles! Try saying that five times very quickly.

Anyway, the polyester thread kept getting caught up, each time the kite sank out to the ground. Attempts to free the line occasionally snapped it—infuriating!

So, it was back to the grassier and safer surface where I usually fly. After a minor bridle adjustment, up went the little delta in the next gust. This time I managed to get quite a bit of thread out. Perhaps it was 150 feet or more. Way above the local tree height, the Paper Delta gamely strove to stay up. It curved, dipped, and rose in sync with the breeze. Even up there, the breeze was not particularly constant. However, it was just enough to make an unaided 5-minute flight.

The sail area increase for Mk3 had paid off. Oh, plus a refit with stronger leading edges to cope with the extra power.

At last, the Paper Delta is a proven inland flyer. At an even larger reserve, on even more thread, 15 or even 30 minute flights should be possible. But I'll be flying down at the beach most of the time now to get some hours up—with less risk of losing the kite over houses!

Paper Delta Dodges Drops

Drops of rain that is, in case you didn't guess.

The weather situation didn't look promising; however, it was worth a shot to at least get the kite in the air briefly. Much can be learned from a new kite design's first 30 seconds aloft on just 10 or 15 meters of line. The location where I parked was notoriously hard to launch a kite from in gusty air, so it would be a good test.

After waiting for a decent gust to arrive, it was fairly easy to get the new delta to cruise around for a few seconds while the wind speed was up. So far, so good. The old Mk2 Paper Delta would have gone nowhere! And then I thought I felt a small raindrop on my face.

The weather radar had indicated that there was light rain just several kilometers to the south of our house. And guess where the reserve was ... about 2 kilometers to the south. The kite's paper sail showed a few hits from small rain drops, so it was definitely time to call it a day—after less than 10 minutes!

However, I had seen enough. With slightly better weather, the Paper Delta Mk3 should have no trouble staying up for half an hour or so over the reserve.

On getting back home, another weather check revealed maximum wind speeds were now in the mid-30s. So it was a good time to stop flying anyway. The bigger delta could snap the thread in 35 kph winds!

Foiled by the Tide

Once again, this outing with the Paper Delta had quite a bit of fluffing around for one measly 5-minute flight to log.

The wind strength was ample, according to the online weather station. Down at the beach, there was certainly nothing wrong with the wind. It was blowing well into the moderate range, straight down the sand, with a small onshore component.

The trouble was, I had never seen the tide so high! Hence the available strip of sand was tiny. Although the kite went up easily, I could only let out 20 meters (65 feet) or so before rocky obstacles loomed.

With the breeze blowing 18 kph, and gusting to 24 kph, the kite started out OK. However, rain squalls were scooting past to the north, and then the breeze suddenly freshened. The wind meter was now recording 24 kph gusting to 31 kph! Some electrical tape was added to one wingtip of the Paper Delta to help fix all the looping to the left. But by then, another problem emerged; as I looked around, it appeared that my escape route back to the car was starting to close off! Hence it was time for a quick pull-down and a brisk walk back around the rocky outcrop. From there, it was up the concrete stairs and off the beach.

While driving home, tiny spots of rain appeared on the windscreen, so the timing couldn't have been better.

Try, try, try again.

Strong and Educational

The wind was strong. And I learned something about a weak spot in the leading edges.

The Paper Delta likes smooth air. Even with strong gusts around, the kite tends to come to earth very readily when the airflow around it drops below 12 kph. At an inland site, that can happen even with 45+ kph ripping through the treetops—as was the case today!

This delta has somewhat less sail area than the rok and sode in the same series. So far, the kite hasn't proved capable of snapping the thread. Admittedly, the stuff I have on the winder for the delta is good quality and is stronger than the very cheapest brands of polyester sewing thread.

It initially appeared that winds were gusting to just a little over 30 kph, so I tried a nearby inland reserve. Despite the healthy gust strength the kite wouldn't stay up long at all, due to the huge variations in wind strength. So it was off to another reserve, closer to the ocean. There was much more area to fly in too.

The wind seemed to be picking up further, and the little delta was soon away. A few short flights were had on quite long lengths of thread, but the kite was being hampered by a tendency to loop left. On close inspection, it appeared one of the leading edges had partially failed, between the spreader and the nose.

After getting home, another look confirmed that the leading edge needs some of the paper layers to extend another couple of centimeters toward the nose. That should cure the weak spot. The other leading edge was not so bad but was showing signs of stress at exactly the same spot.

To be fair on the Paper Delta, I discovered from an online weather station that the kite had been battling gusts of around 45 kph! No wonder it was bogging down and not wanting to climb. Also, the kite would loop when that leading edge decided to flex a little.

It was a lot of fiddling around for just 10 minutes of logged flight time!

Delta Hits a Low Point

Quite literally. The Paper Delta had been up in a smooth breeze for about 20 minutes, when a brief lull brought the kite to within 2 meters (6 feet) of the sand.

Seconds later, the breeze was back and freshened slowly over the next 40 minutes. Consequently, I let out more thread, to about 30 meters (100 feet). Somewhat reluctantly, I terminated the flight after exactly 1 hour of air time.

During that hour, there was ample opportunity to observe the Paper Delta kite over its entire wind range.

While hovering close to the sand, the wind would have been around 11 kph. Toward the end of the flight, gusts right at the top end of moderate (28 kph) were pushing the little delta into wide sweeping figure-eights. Below about 22 kph, the delta flew very steadily.

Throughout, the leading edges held stiff and straight. And there were no line breaks, thankfully!

A couple of young dogs came by at one point. My Dog Defense Plan swung into action. OK, so I just removed the winder from under my gear bag and held the thread out of reach of the curious canines.

On another occasion, I had to break into a jog to get to the bag before another dog got to it!

It's so easy when the wind co-operates.

Paper Delta Stiffens Up

It was refit number two, to fix those dodgy weak leading edges.

Today's 20 minute flight in a smooth westerly off the sea proved the new leading-edge design was staying stiff right into the middle of the kite's wind range. It's yet to be seen how they go in gusts up to 30 kph, but it's a good start.

On the way to the beach, tiny drops of moisture formed on the windscreen. This was disappointing, since no rain had appeared on the weather station radar. Anyway, I pressed ahead.

Over the sand, the breeze was straight in from the ocean. A very easy launch ensued.

At first, the wind meter showed 14 kph gusting to 18 kph but later this built to 18 kph gusting to 22 kph. The little delta coped well, flying steadily most of the time. Occasionally, the kite threw in a swish to the right or left, in response to gusts over 20 kph. Even so, the new leading edges stayed stiff and straight as designed. Flex is a no-no in this kind of kite since it indicates a degree of failure.

Out on the horizon, there appeared to be rainfall, so I kept my eye on it every few minutes. With the kite secured on around 20 meters (65 feet) of thread, I took a few short walks up and back along the sand and pebbles.

Meanwhile, in the very ideal breeze, the kite was maintaining around 50 degrees of line angle. This is modest for a delta I know, but OK for something made entirely from 80 gsm A4 paper and sticky tape, I reckon!

Finally, a hint of moisture drifting from the sky was the signal for a hurried pull-down.

On getting the kite in hand, I was surprised to find it was already a little damp. It looked like it came down not a moment too soon. No damage was done though, since it was still flying perfectly. Perhaps it will go even better when bone dry and thus somewhat lighter!

Paper Delta Cheats a Little

OK, so it was down to the same beach again, allowing the Paper Delta to take advantage of slope lift.

Slope lift? That's when the breeze is forced up and over an obstacle, meaning there is rising air just upwind and above the obstacle.

Today, in an attempt to get the delta to stay up a bit longer in marginal wind, I let it get close to the rocky man-made slope next to the Esplanade. In fact, two of the three short flights ended up with the paper craft settling out on a rock, about a meter (3 feet) above the level of the beach sand. Thankfully, the tails didn't get caught up on anything as the kite was dragged off the slope, both times.

Midway during the second flight, the onshore breeze freshened significantly, averaging 18 kph with a gust to 26 kph. It was good to see the Paper Delta cope well with that breeze strength, even momentarily.

A small mod had been done to the spreader, cutting the tips back so they didn't overhang the leading edges. The hope was that this would help spread around the stress in the leading edge.

However, looking carefully at the kite in the air, the leading edges were still bent right near the spreader tips. One side was somewhat more affected than the other. It seems the kite should still be capable of certification like it is, but I'll try and strengthen those leading edges a bit more without adding too much weight.

Talking about certification, the weather still hasn't allowed the kite to achieve either 20 minutes duration or a 200-foot height gain. Possibly, tomorrow will be the day—if I can get in before the rain hits!

Paper Delta Logs 10 Minutes

A few minutes at a large park didn't offer much hope of a decent flight. The breeze was neither strong enough nor constant enough. But down at the beach, it was different.

At Christies Beach the tide was well in, and surfers were catching small waves to the shore. There seemed to be just enough sand available to put the kite up. For a moment it looked like there might not be quite enough strength in the breeze, as the Paper Delta sank back to the sand.

However, on quite a bit more thread, the little kite found just enough wind to keep it airborne indefinitely.

This time, tip tails had been fitted and the kite certainly behaved well—up to around 22 kph. Above that, it was clear that another meter or so of main tail would be very beneficial. Put another way, the extra tail should allow the kite to climb higher when under more pressure, instead of whipping around from side to side as stability runs out.

After the kite had spent 10 minutes in the air, on about 30 meters (100 feet) of thread, the water started to threaten my flying area. So it was time to wind in.

On looking at the kite close up, it looked like the leading edges had taken a slight permanent bend. It'll be OK if it doesn't get any worse.

Waiting for a Window...

...of opportunity. First there was not enough wind.

Then the wind came but so did the rain. Then the rain cleared, only to be replaced with gusts to 37 kph! It was hard today, chasing the weather.

In the end though, I just managed to sneak in 10 minutes or so of flying in reasonable air.

The Paper Delta soared up on just a few meters of thread, slightly flexing its stiff leading edges. But the new spreader held. It remains to be seen how it copes with a steady 25 kph down at a beach, but today's short flights were promising.

I forgot to add the tip tails before leaving, but the kite did well up to perhaps 20 kph. The extra tails should extend the wind range up toward 30 kph.

It might be necessary to shift the towing point a centimeter or so forward, since any flex at all seems to get the kite bogged down at low line-angles. And the leading edges might yet need some external wrap-around bracing to remain straight and true through the whole wind range. This is not a traditional floppy bendy light-wind delta!

But, it seems we have a flying Paper Delta. Progress has been made.

In for a Refit

Paper Delta #2 had a taste of moderate wind today, with gusts into the fresh range.

While getting some thread out, the Paper Delta swished around and it seemed the leading edges were holding well.

On somewhat more thread, with higher heights and stronger gusts, the leading edges continued to hold. The kite reached quite high line-angles a couple of times, which was encouraging. At home, I had inserted a 2 cm x 10 cm piece of rolled-up paper into each leading edge. The roll was then poked down until only 3 cm were forward of the spreader. My joy was short-lived however.

Suddenly, the thread slackened and the kite tucked its wings in like a diving hawk. Clearly, the spreader had failed—right in the middle as it turned out.

For some time I experimented with the now variable-geometry design :-) In lulls, the wingtips would spread, but under pressure they would tuck back in, and only a very fresh gust would push the kite higher. All in all, the failed airframe wasn't doing so well, and it soon ended up lying on the grass.

So it was back to the drawing board. Some more mods are coming up—a beefed-up spreader which will be a little lighter at the tips, a little bigger in the middle, and having a few more layers of paper and tape where it counts.

Oh, and for good measure, tip tails will prevent tight looping when the kite is flying in 30 kph gusts.

Delta #2 Climbs Higher

After #1 proved to be totally unairworthy, #2 has briefly flown around the backyard.

A raft of changes, based on observation of #1 attempting to fly, seem to have resulted in a flyable Paper Delta. A gusty breeze was making noise outside, and the sun was nearly down, so a trip further afield was not possible.

On a few meters of thread, #2 showed promise as it sat stable in a nose-up attitude.

Occasionally the delta made it just above the gutters of the house. The gusts were very chaotic of course, blowing around the tiny side lawn in the midst of trees and houses. But at least the delta was behaving like a kite.

A tug on the thread, coinciding with some extra wind, caused one leading edge to fold for a moment, right near the spreader. This was a sign that the current kite might prove to have a rather limited wind-range when taken out for a real fly.

However, it should just be a matter of beefing up the leading edges with an extra layer of paper over the critical few centimeters.

Also, rather than attempting to make a V-section, a more rounded shape might work better for the leading edges. This would be easily achieved by flattening the crease of the V a little with fingers and thumbs.

It will be interesting to see this kite try and break its very modest height and duration records over the weekend. It shouldn't be necessary to rebuild the kite to get it up to the full wind-range required. A couple of retrofits and tweaks should do the trick.

The Worst Delta Ever

Well, my first prototype of anything is often quite bad, but the Paper Delta took the cake.

Despite rain clouds about, and damp conditions, I decided to take the delta out for some first impressions. The wind was of ample strength, so the breeze would not be a problem.

The delta dangled briefly before catching a swirl of wind. The kite made several pathetic attempts to sit back and climb. However, it was all just bobbing and spinning around, wildly out of control.

This thing will never even achieve a positive line angle, I don't think! I guess it would make a great toddler kite ;-| (The droll wink. That just might be an original emoticon.)

After just a couple more attempts to coax the kite to at least waist height, and failing, it was time to go home and consider the problem:

  1. The center of gravity (balance point) could probably go back some more, despite a deliberately heavy trailing-edge paper frill that was doing a good job in that respect.
  2. The leading edges could possibly cope with being much thinner and thus lighter. Particularly near the nose, the paper sail itself is helping to resist distortion.
  3. As with a Paper Diamond prototype, the single attachment point of the flying line to the kite might not work at all. It does work for bigger and lighter kites with less inertia.
  4. Tip tails will always help, but they aren't a cure-all.

Total flying time logged today? Oh, about 4 seconds. Ha. This is my blog, so I'm calling it a flight report anyway :-) 


The story or stories above document actual flying experiences. My write-ups are definitely "warts and all" since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!


As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making info here than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The 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.

Every kite in every MBK series.