Category Archives: My Kites

Bulldog Kite – 75 sq. ft. lifter

Barry Ogeltree (whatakite) on the forums offered to cut the fabric and prepare a kit for 50, yep fifty 75 sq. ft. John Waters Bulldog flow form style kites (10 ft wide!). Barry has a huge shop in Texas and has the man power and the space to take on a project like this (Thanks Barry!). After a couple of months of discussion, planning, and cutting Barry had all the dogs out to their new owners. I finished mine up last week and took it out for a quick test flight at lunch one day last week.

Dave and Izaak helping with launch
Dave and Izaak helping with launch…

Bridle testing..

Bridle adjustments…

New Year’s Eve – Kite Eating Tree

Valerie and I are spending the weekend at our friends Scott and Linda’s house/antique store on Prince Edward Island. Today while visiting Daphne’s Hobby Farm Scott attempted to do some Auto-KAP. The snow was fresh, the pony and donkeys were out, and the wind was blowing nicely. The kite went up with ease and the rig was happily doing it’s standard routine, turn-click-turn-click-turn….

The wind was particularly strong and lumpy at about 120 feet or so and made the kite a little hard to handle. After about 10 minutes the kite ended up in a classic nose dive but no matter how much slack Scott fed out the kite would not right itself. The kite managed to get stuck 30 feet up in a tall spruce tree (see pic). Scott and I have both been in this situation before so we knew not to pull on the kite. The best thing to do was to fly another kite and try and lift his out.

A quick trip back to Scott and Linda’s to pick up my trusty Frogakku and back to the hobby farm. Much to our surprise and joy the kite was easily plucked from the tree in a short 15 minutes. Here are some shots of the hobby farm and the kites. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pics with the kite in the tree, but I did get one just after the kite was free from the branches. Hopefully I will have some of Scott’s pics to post shortly.. :)

Daphene's Hobby Farm - Fence Daphene's Hobby Farm - kite eating tree Daphene's Hobby Farm - Freshly liberated Rokkaku Valerie on the Farm :)

Rainer Hoffman – Bow Kite Part IV

It’s the Easter long weekend and it’s raining… Perfect kite making weather! Finally got back to the Bow Kite today, and managed to finish it.

I still have a number of tweaks I want to do but essentially here is what I did.

I “borrowed” some 3mm fiberglass from a 6 foot circoflex that I made in Dieppe last fall for all of the discs except the number 1 and number 6 ( the two smallest). I planned on using some vinyl tubing type fittings to hold the curved spar against the horizontal spar at the back of the disc but didn’t bother. (this is one of the tweaks I may try).

Once I got all the curved spars in and cut to length I added the horizontal spars. I used Sky Shark P90s as it was all I had that was substantial enough. I let the spar protrude 1 inch on each side of the kite, this is to allow room for the end-caps and c-clips (do-hickies).

So for the challenging part, the tension lines. Since the largest HQ Nock I have is 6mm it would not fit over the SkyShark spars. So I thought I would drill them out… BAD Idea… I Don’t have precise enough equipment and I think it would have been far too thin anyway. So back to the drawing board. I fought with vinyl end caps for a while trying to figure out how to tie the knots so that I could guarantee everything would be even and symmetrical etc… again no luck.

The problem I had was knowing how long to make each line segment and how much line would be soaked up by the knot/loop that I was going to use. So I got a pencil and paper and went to work figuring out the length of each segment’s tension line. So the first one was pretty easy. Since the discs and the main sail are 90 degrees and the tension line would form a right angle triangle, all I had to do was dust off my trigonometry and the Pythagorean Theorem. :) So the first segment is 66.8 cm. I was off to a good start, but then I started looking at the other segments and realized I couldn’t calculate the rest using the same formula. With a bit of figuring and the help of excel I was able to calculate all the segment lengths. Although most of the segment lengths a roughly within a cm of each other (except the top and bottom) I still found my excel calculator helpful as I could enter the spar diameter and determine how much extra line I would need for the loop and knot.

Then I just marked off each section on the tension line, used the knot allowance to tie a loop and that was almost the same diameter of the spar. I simply slipped it over the spar, added a c-clip to keep it in place. Finished it off with a vinyl end cap on the spar. It worked very well, and was simple and precise (and I hop accurate ;) ).

I have published the calculator here.. if you would like to have a look (and verify my math) :D

So after all that here is the result! Of course it was raining when I finished it and no wind.. so the in flight pics are me running like a mad man down my drive way.

don’t ask who the goofy guy is :)

Rainer Hoffman – Bow Kite Part III

Got a chance to work on my Bow Kite today.

So I finished binding the discs, and the body panels. Then I added the dacron sleeve and all attachment points to the discs and sewed the whole thing together. It was a very busy day! :)

The last thing I did before I packed it in was added the long main leading edge framework. I used SkyShark P100s but may switch to P200 or P300 depending on the stiffness.

I have to get some long fiberglass rods for the curved discs.. time to

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put in an order at I guess :)

Here is a photo of the progress I made today.

© 2006

Rainer Hoffman – Bow Kite Part II

I didn’t get a chance to work on this kite last night, I had a repair job to do on a badly beaten HQ Tramontana.. what a night..

Anyhow on to the Bow Kite. Tonight I started to edge bind the horizontal discs that cross cut the kite every 40 cm or so. These disks are edge bound in such a way to create a sleeve for a 2mm carbon or fiberglass rod. The problem I ran into was that the discs #1 and #6 have such a narrow curve at the top that I was getting terrible puckers which resulted in a baggy sail when the rod was installed. I really wanted to use the Mil spec gorss grain I had purchased from but it wasn’t going to cut it for this small of a radius.

I turned to a good discussion on the forums titled “curved top banner” (forum registration required) which outlined several methods for sewing these types of curves. I tried a number of the suggestions but settled on using 3/4″ strips 1.5 oz fabric (ripstop) cut on the bias. This worked really really well, I have to say I never realised how well it actually worked until this evening, I have sewn curves before

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but never this tight. In this case I think the only thing that would work is fabric cut on the bias. Chalk it up as a learning experience and move on…

So after all that experimentation I only managed to get two of the discs sewn… Tada…

©2006 ©2006


“Angelina” is a kite I built after being inspired by the works of Olivier Reymond of Switzerland and “kelvin” from the forums. I have been looking for a way to transform photographs into easily appliqued images for sometime now and I think I have finally hit on a solution. I have often seen posterized photgraphs of faces and wondered how they were done (Andy Warhol’s work comes to mind). I stumbled across a few tutorials on how to create these images using photoshop and started playing around and coming up with my own method. Continue reading

Michael Moore UFO – Indoor Flying

For everyone on the kitebuilder forums

Russ Mozier shot this video on May 30, 2005 of Michael Moore competing in the indoor quad line competition at WIKF (Wildwood International Kite Festival). Michael is flying a Lee Sedgwick UFO as a quad with cool chop-stick handles. You can get a good view of the handles at around the 55 second mark. you can read the Rang-Thang thread on the kitebuilder forums here.

Click thumbnail to download

The video is about 9 mb and is in wmv (Windows Movie) format. Here is the DivX version of the file.


Double Star – First Flight!

Well today the wind was about 30 Km/H gusting to 40 km/h and I foolishly decided to try and fly my double star… woooo hoooo what a ride.

The first challenge was putting the kite together on a soggy field with howling wind and -10c temps. That didn’t stop us though. I hadn’t bridled the kite yet so I did that in the field as well, very cold fingers after that :).

It was a little too cold to adjust all of the tips so I decided to give it a go anyway.. and it Flew… It launched with the roar of a jet plane and was stapled to the sky. When the wind would shift it would sweep a little but nothing a little slack in the line didn’t fix. Very happy!!!!

What a great feeling… :D

The wind was really blowing hard and I had visions of the 10 mm Carbon rods snapping like twigs…Lot’s of pull on this kite. So I handed the kite off to my friend, and walked the kite down.

Here are is a photo taken by my friend Ian. The sky is grey today but I brightened the photo up the best I could..

Double Star – It’s Finished!!

Finally the Double Star is complete. :) I finished off the last of the bottom section late this evening. This kite is really impressive when it’s fully assembled, a full 10 foot diameter!. I haven’t adjusted the tip tension much but it seems that the MKS fittings from will work out fine.

Here are the first pictures of the kite completely assembled. I have to add the bridle and it will be ready to fly! :) :)

More photos here..