Swallow Kite Form

Q:

What is the basic form and shape of a swallow kite? I cannot find any efficient sites on the internet to answer this question for a project I have to do for school. Thank you so much. :)

A:

You are not the first to ask about swallow kites, so for a start, check out my original answer regarding available resources. That was some time ago, so I have also searched with Bing - possibly better than using the Big G these days! Here is an interesting lead...

The traditional Chinese Swallow Kite is fairly easy to dissect, just looking at it.

See how the thin bamboo strips are formed into frames, with the fabric stretched over and attached later. Two straight strips (or perhaps they are thin bamboo rods) are attached to the main sail's trailing edge and fanned outwards to give that characteristic swallow-tail effect. That's the main feature which identifies this as a 'swallow' kite.

Note how the kite has 3 sections, corresponding to a bird's head, wings and tail.

I can't see exactly where the bridle lines are attached, on those examples. But the simplest option would be to take a piece of flying line about twice the length of the kite itself. One end could be tied to the middle of the leading edge of the wing - just behind the 'head' in other words. The other end would be tied to the middle of the trailing edge of the wing - where the tail attaches.

The flying line would then be attached to the bridle line with a sliding knot. With the kite flat on its back on the table or floor, this knot would be adjusted so it was directly over the 'head' area when both bridle lines are pulled straight. During some test flying, the knot could probably be shifted back a little at a time, towards the tail end of the kite. In this way the best flying position would be discovered, so the kite flys high and stable.

A home-made version would almost certainly need a long, light tail in order to fly stable! An authentic version made by a craftsman might not, since it would be very light and accurately made.

Hope this helps!

Comments for Swallow Kite Form

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 30, 2012
Further Comment
by: Tony Sangster

Apologies, I forgot to mention that the more traditional Chinese form of swallow kite might be further stabilized by accentuating the channeling of air through the wingtips in the style of a Yakko kite.

I am not sure from the diagrams of the bamboo/paper design whether there is any yakko style wingtip but to reduce the need for a tail and to also reduce the number of pointy bits a curved wingtip a la Yakko could help!

Apr 30, 2012
Swallow Kites
by: Tony Sangster

I love the elegance of Robert van Weer's swallow kite and I think Kite Plan Base offers some other modern and elegant designs such as Hirondelle by Bob Afonso and Zwaluw by Jan Van Leeuwen.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.


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)
  • 3 "tips of the month" (1 for beginners, 1 for parents and 1 for more experienced kite-fliers)
  • 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.



 

Back to top of page


Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Indoor Delta Expanded

    Jul 17, 19 07:59 PM

    Yep, all sail dimensions were made a little bigger, resulting in a substantial increase in sail area... Other tweaks have collectively resulted in a more rearward balance point. I added just a couple…

    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

Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...