Shown below are some of the kites I have designed and built. They are mostly different than the mainstream stunt kites that you see.
This large kite was designed for traction. It has a 140 inch leading edge each side and a wingspan of 18 feet. With an area of 53 square feet. This kite weighs 6.5 lbs. Not shown are a pair of outboard standoffs that were added to provide some washout to the tips to prevent tip stall during turns. These were added after this picture was taken. You can buggy with this kite but it suffers from being fragile in crashes as large framed kites always are. But this kite was designed to have the same relative frame stiffness as a normal 8 foot wingspan kite.
Just to prove it flys.
This was my first kite that used curved battens and a large curved leading edge sail(2.5 inches at mid span). The battens had a large curve most of which was at the front. This kite could fly in very low wind (less than 2 mph) but if you flew 1 foot to far into the window edge then the tips would stall when you made your turn. I later added outboard standoffs to washout the tip area. This stopped the tip stall but was too much washout to fly in the same low wind speed. At a wind speed of 10 mph this kite pulls like a TOL Team kite at 15 mph. I learned on this kite that enhanced shape wings become a liability as the wind speed increases unless you are interested in traction. Not a bad kite though and with proper tuning could have done better.
This is one of the very few kite designs I ever attempted to copy. This is my version of a "California Wasp". I did it only to see if I was missing something in my own designs, since I couldn't get my kites to do what the competetion flyers could do. Anyway, I did learn something. The kite I built seemed even more unresponsive to me than my own designs so one day at a kite festival I talked a Wasp flyer into giving my kite a try with the idea that he could tell me where I went wrong. Well, he launched it and flew his typical routine. When I asked him what the problems were with the kite he said he thought it was pretty good as is but that he might be able to tune a litte more out of it. Being a reasonably smart guy I immediately knew what the problem was, I am not a very accomplished flyer and that is that. It is a different kite to fly (the wasp) you need to tug on it even in a dive.
This was the first ultra light kite I designed, it is called the "Walkabout". This kite is made from "Orcon AN 36 and uses Clearwater 0.157 2 wrap spars. This kite was designed back in 1991 when there were no commercial ultra light kites available. It weighs 4.2 ounces and has a sail area of 10 square feet. This kite is not sewn but tapped together using 3M 9460 pc adhesive. It employs two sets of standoffs, an inboard set to tighten the sail and an outboard set to provide tip washout. The out board standoffs are adjusted until tip stall is just averted during a turn at the window edge. This design was published in the KBI journal and several were constructed. I recieved much positive feedback from the people that built the "Walkabout".
This kite is the second in a series of ultra lights, it is called the "Higher Tech". This kite has a higher aspect ratio than one is accustomed to seeing. The high aspect wing with airfoil shaped battens and a straight line approximation to elliptical wing tips was an attempt to get enhanced wing performance. The increase in aspect ratio provided less tip vortex drag as did the elliptical wing tips (since less washout was required). The curved battens are intended to provide a higher coefficient of lift. Of course this required more structure and more weight. The Higher Tech is constructed of Orcon AN 36 with Icarex Spar pockets and re-enforcment. Spars are Clearwater .202 2 wrap. It is also taped together using 3M 9460 PC adhesive. This kite was designed in the late fall of 1991. I like flying this kite the best of all the ultralights I designed because it has a wide window and accelerates well, but the increased weight pretty much cancelled out the enhanced wing performance at the lowest wind speeds. But it is hard to make definitive judgements since there is so little energy to work with at 2 mph and below.
This kite is an ultra light version of the "Tip Turn" kite with larger winglets(see Kiteplans Page). I theorized that the lower aerodynamic forces would require larger tips to get enough dynamic washout to prevent tip stalling during turns. After flying this kite I can see that I made the winglets too large. The kite flies ok, but would be faster with smaller tips and never comes any where near a tip stall. Although the picture does not show it clearly, the kite is made of aluminized Orcon that has a bright mirror finish. It has blue Icarex spar pockets, re-enforcing and edging. Spars are Clearwater 0.202 2 wrap. This is also a tape together kite using 3M 9460 PC.
This is a relatively hi aspect design with four battens and two standoffs each side of the sail. The first two battens are curved and the two outboard battens are straight each side of the sail. This kite was made from 3/4 ounce sail cloth and used some experimental spars. The spars had a 0.385 I.D. and were 2 wrap. They were incredibly stiff and weighed about the same as an Advantage 2 wrap. Unfortunately the wall thickness to diameter ratio was too small and the spar was very fragile since it could not maintain hoop under load. But if you did not crash the kite it was an excellent flier.
This is the highest aspect ratio delta stunt kite I have designed and built. It has a nose angle of 140 degrees. The leading edge spars are 65 inches long which is standard for an 8 foot wing span stunter, but the wing span on this kite is 10.6 feet. By using a large wing tip I was able to use the high aspect ratio, reduce washout and maintain a large sail area. If you want to surprise yourself draw a pointy wing tip on this design and calculate total wing area. It is appalingly less. Anyway as stated earlier for one of the other designs, the high aspect ratio and the limited washout of the tips greatly reduce vortex drag at low speeds. This kite is a very graceful low wind flyer that turns easily. I used Clearwater 0.202 2 wrap spars everywhere except for the lower spreaders. Their spans of 46 inches each dictated a stiffer spar, in this case a Clearwater 0.280 3 wrap spar. The sail is 1/2 oz Icarex. The three longest battens on each wing half are curved with the other two being straight. The battens can be made using 1/8 in diameter aluminum tube. Insert a fiberglass rod down the center and bend to the desired shape then pull the fiberglass rod out and you have a nice curved batten.
All my kite designs presented on this web page are to be considered public domain.
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