Parafoil Kite

Hanging In Light Air

The second revision of the MBK Parafoil kite had recently been completed. It just so happened that the local kiting association's monthly fly day was coming up at the same time. With weather reports promising very pleasant conditions - if a little light - we duly turned up at the beach-side location.

A smooth and fairly light breeze was coming from the north and two kites were already in the air... A large Peter Lynn 4-cell design and a small retail Bird kite.

I decided to try the MBK Parafoil tail-less first of all...

On a short 50 pound Dacron line, the two-tone blue plastic kite swished around from side to side but still managed to stay up. Long enough for a few still photos to be taken from various angles. So far so good!

Space being limited on the grassy area, it was soon decided to add a drogue to the kite. The small orange windsock trailing behind kept the meanderings to a minimum as other kites were put up.

Some more line was let out, before anchoring the kite to my carry-bag. Just a couple of loops though the handles sufficed to keep things under control. In the conditions, the kite was pulling quite gently despite being a 2-surface high-lift design.

For a few minutes it was time to just sit back and observe plus get a video or two. Scampering over the nearby dunes brought a good angle, with the sun behind and a more interesting background than blue sky... Mainly tree-tops and houses further inland.

Aren, my 10 year old son, was happily flying the Parasail on a shorter line. He found that grabbing the heavy wooden winder was much more comfortable than trying to hang on to the line itself. From the perspective of a child, the parachute-like Parasail pulls fiercely even in a gentle breeze!

After being distracted for a while by conversations and other kites, I happened to look up at the large red parafoil flying overhead, and got a surprise. The kite had sprouted a drogue out the back! A moment later it was clear what had happened...

My MBK Parafoil kite had overflown the large one and descended onto it's upper surface! The small drogue had continued flying. Gently, I eased the line in and watched as my kite came into view, over the leading edge of the monster it was taking a piggy-back on...

A couple of cells filled with air and then, suddenly, the much smaller blue parafoil was off. Floating up and away to one side from the larger kite. Whew! 'Nice skills' came a slightly tongue-in-cheek comment from another flier. It certainly had a funny side to it!

Over the next hour or so, the breeze lightened up further. Kite after kite sank to the grass until only an MBK Dowel Delta and the MBK Parafoil were still airborne...

The Parafoil twitched slowly from side to side as the rear portions of it's side keels flopped first one way and then the other. The drogue hung below, wagging occasionally about it's bridle knot. See the video up there.

This scenario was very satisfying to me, since it proved the kite had a half-decent light-wind capability. A parafoil of all things! Plastic might be a humble sail material but it sure is light.

It was a successful first outing for the new MBK Parafoil kite!


Parafoil Kite Gallery

Click or tap on any photo below to start up the gallery viewer...

MBK Parafoil kite 1 - 1.
MBK Parafoil kite 1 - 2.
MBK Parafoil kite 1 - 3.
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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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