Making Sode Kites

Tiny, Medium or Large...

Sode kites are less known than Sleds or Diamonds, but fly really well due to their cambered sail. I made at least 2 of these as part of the 1-Skewer Series, with clear plastic sails. A very long but light tail kept the tiny kites stable.

The 1-Skewer Sode flies over a very respectable wind range, and has a characteristic fish-like wriggling motion in the air.

More recently, this kite has been made more visible by doing the sail in orange plastic and using a simple ribbon tail made from black plastic. Despite some dihedral in the design, this little Sode still requires quite a lengthy tail. It looks good in the air though! Almost like a little model aircraft towing a banner.

Next up in size comes the 2-Skewer Sode, which prefers fairly light winds. A wonderful kite to fly in light wind and thermals!

Finally, we started making larger kites like the Dowel Sode. This kite has a 4-leg bridle, which keeps the kite very steady and predictable most of the time. Wind gusts accelerate the kite quickly and smoothly. Placid in smooth air, but prone to charge this way and that in gustier moderate winds! Quite an interesting single-liner to fly.

Making The MBK Dowel Sode Kite is a handy e-book of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

Down below is a photo or 2 and a video for all the MBK Sode kites. This illustrates the end result, in case you decide to use our instructions to make one of these kites.

Sode Kites - original 1-Skewer SodeOur first little Sode

Sode Kites - original 1-Skewer SodeOur first little Sode

Our first 1-Skewer Sode saw quite a lot of flying, in a range of weather conditions and locations. Its first flights were in very light wind, and we took a few close-ups at that time. See the photo over there!

Towards the end of its life, we were down at the beach with this Sode and the wind really picked up. The kite was on 20 meters or so of line. The breeze got so strong that grains of sand were being picked up and blown across the beach...

The tiny Sode gamely remained airborne, zipping violently from side to side in wild figure eights that took it close to the sand. Somehow, it survived to fly another day!

Sode Kites - 1-Skewer SodeNew improved 1-Skewer Sode
Sode Kites - 1-Skewer SodeNew improved 1-Skewer Sode

We usually fly kites of this size on 50 meters (150 feet) of 20 pound line. They don't need that strength, but we also fly our 2-skewer kites on the same line....

Here's the latest version of the 1-Skewer Sode kites, in orange garden bag plastic. The tail is cut from a cheap black garbage bag. The looped tail gives the kite more stability than if the same length was allowed to just hang by one end.

Check out the video below, which shows this kite weaving its way up to a very respectable line angle, in a moderate breeze. Some extra tail was added due to the extra wind strength.

Sode Kites - 2-Skewer SodeTwice as big, the 2-Skewer Sode
Sode Kites - 2-Skewer SodeTwice as big, the 2-Skewer Sode

The 2-Skewer Sode is, as the name suggests, exactly twice as tall as the 1-Skewer design. This gives it 4 times the sail area with not much more than double the weight. Hence, it doesn't need quite as much wind as the smaller design.

The kite pictured has 2-ply plastic which makes it a little heavier, but it still flies great. A few times we've had this kite floating around near 400 feet altitude, on a 20 pound Dacron line.

When the wind strength gets too high, the Sode starts to lazily loop in one direction, but recovers after reaching a lower height where the wind is slower.

And the new improved version
And the new improved version

More recently, another 2-Skewer Sode has been constructed, featuring more traditional proportions and a looped tail. See the photo. It looks almost like an aircraft in flight. A very efficient flier in light to moderate winds.

The video below shows the original 2-Skewer Sode on a short line in a light breeze. Being close to trees and other obstacles, the wind has plenty of turbulence. See the Sode descend a couple of times as the wind speed suddenly drops to near zero!

Sode Kites - Dowel Sode
Sode Kites - Dowel Sode

The largest of the MBK Sode kites, the Dowel Sode. The first one we made had some flaws, and it didn't get many flights before I finally made a second one with the necessary improvements. There it is in the photo. This kite has flown well in fairly light winds right through to somewhat fresh. The big Sode will get boosted high overhead if any thermals are around too!

The Dowel Sode is something different that will always get a few interested glances from onlookers.

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

The video below shows the Dowel Sode charging around in a gusty moderate breeze...

Out In The Field

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

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

Hope you enjoyed the pics and the info.

That's about it for this page on Sode kites. In 3 convenient sizes! And don't forget...

Making The MBK Dowel Sode Kite is a handy e-book of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

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" (linked from a much smaller one in the email of course)
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  • A "flight report of the month" (selected from my own flying logs and illustrated 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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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

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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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