Category Archives: Kites

Flying a Kite

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Kite #9 – Double Delta-Conyne

Kite #9 has been finished for a while, bit I have had no luck getting it to fly until this morning. This kite is a double delta-conyne, which is basically 2 triangular cells with delta wings on them. This is the first kite I've tried to make with a 'fancier' design. The wings are made of different colored stripes - black, blue, green. yellow, and white. I had to use the Trefoil Dragon's tail to get this one stable in the air, but once it was up there it flew very well. This kite is about 7-8 feet wide and about 3 feet tall.

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Kite #8 – Trefoil Dragon

Kite #7 is finished, but I can't put pictures up yet. It is a gift, and I don't want the recipient to see it here before they see it in person.

Kite #8 is a Trefoil Dragon kite. The kite itself is pretty nondescript, but the thing that makes it interesting is it's 40-foot tail. Still pictures don't do it justice. This tail looks amazing as it undulates in the wind. Very mesmerizing. The Trefoil Dragon is the blue kite in these pictures. The black kite in the pictures is the Genki from a previous post. Lately, I have been having trouble getting that one to fly, and had wondered if a tail would help. So I tried the Dragon's tail on it as an experiment. It performed MUCH better with a tail, so I will have to make one for it as well.

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Kite #6 – Dopero

My latest kite is a 3/4-size Dopero. This kite is especially designed to fly in the lightest of barely-there winds. I tried it for the first time today, and it flew great! I included some photos to give you an idea of the scale of this kite. It is huge! It is about 7 feet tall, and a little over 9 feet wide. Even in the very light wind we had this morning, I had a hard time reeling this kite back in. All that sail makes this kite pull really strong. It also seems to be really steady in the sky - so as soon as I can convince Lori to join me on an outing, I am going to try and take some aerial photos using this one.

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Kite #5 – Genki

My newest kite is a half-size Genki. Genkis are a high-aspect ratio kite, and fly really well in light winds. I built this one as a test, because I've got an idea for a kite of my own design that would use the Genki design as a leaping-off point. I tried it both with and without a drogue tail. I think I may have built the tail a little undersized for this kite though, as it didn't really change the flight angle at all. This kite is about 6 feet wide and 2 feet tall. The kite I am planning will probably be at least twice as big!

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Kite #4 – Rokkaku

This was my second attempt to get this kite to fly. The first time I had to really struggle to keep it in the air, and it gave me a lot of grief. This time I was more careful setting it up and getting the bridle lines and tow point adjusted correctly, and it flew beautifully. But egads - those Roks can pull! I'm going to need to upgrade to a stronger flying line. Several times a gust caught the kite, and I could hear the line humming as it got near it's breaking point. If I can learn to set this kite up reliably, this will probably be the kite most capable of lifting a camera for some aerial photos. My camera rig is almost finished, and I hope to try it out for the first time this weekend. I'm very excited to see how it goes! By the way - it's tough to get a sense of scale in these pictures, but this is actually a pretty big kite. It is about 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Traditionally - in Japan - these kites are built 8 feet tall!

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Kite #3 – Delta Box Trial Flight

Here's my third attempt at building a kite stable enough to loft a camera rig. I think this one is a winner. It practically leapt out of my hand when I launched it, and it rose quickly and smoothly. This one seems really stable. I'll have to start building my camera rig soon. I've also got plans to build a few more kites - they are turning out to be really fun to build! Once again, Sean was a little cutie. Look at him sitting up! He's growing up so quick!

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Go Fly a Kite!

I've subscribed to a something called "Make", which is basically a quarterly magazine full of do-it-yourself geek projects. From building robots, to hacking portable electronic devices, to making potato guns. The first issue had an article on something called "Kite Aerial Photography", which involves using a kite to lift a camera rig to take pictures from the air. This is right up my alley! A couple of years ago, I tried to do a similar thing with model rockets. So I bought a book about kite building, and tried to build a couple. The first one failed miserably - never got off the ground. The second flew beautifully. It's not quite stable enough to loft a camera rig, but it gives me some confidence that the next one will be much better. Sean was looking especially cute that day - less like a baby and more like a little boy!

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