W6SDO.COM SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA USA
PRISM STOWAWAY DIAMOND KITE
Amazon on August 12, 2015. This first kite was the very highly rated and easy to
fly Prism Stowaway Diamond. It is a very traditional diamond kite design but with
a high tech twist. When assembled, this kite measures 37 inches tall and is 36
inches wide and weighs in at three ounces. It is a very colorful kite which is
Following my newly rekindled interest in kite flying, I purchased my first kite from
available in three different and very attractive fractal patterns. The kite, as
delivered, comes packaged in a soft travel bag that measures only a little over
Following my newly rekindled interest in kite flying, I purchased my first kite from
12 inches long. This compact storage feature along with kite’s excellent flight
performance means that it is perfect for packing into a briefcase, backpack,
picnic basket or car’s glove compartment for that spur-of-the moment getaway. I
have also carried this kite in my bicycle’s handle bar bag although it does stick
out a couple of inches.
When you are ready to fly, assembling this kite is very easy and here is where
the high tech twist comes in. Just slide the kite out of it’s 12 inch long travel case
and allow the spars to spring together into the connectors at the ends of the
spars. The spars will then be held in place by the small bungee cords inside the
spars just like a tent pole. There is no way to make a mistake, nothing to
remember and no loose pieces to get lost.
The wide advertised wind range for this kite is from 4 to 25 mph although above
about 20 mph it pulls uncomfortably hard on the line. You can enjoy flying this
kite in a light breeze and later when the wind increases, just add the two tails that
are provided with the kite for additional stability. This kite excels in it’s modern
design, the use of quality materials, excellent performance and the highest
standards of manufacturing quality. If I could only have one kite this would be
the one that I would chose.
PRISM STOWAWAY DELTA KITE
The second kite that I purchase was the PRISM STOWAY DELTA. The name for
this kite is derived from it’s delta shape and from the ability to be stored and
transported in a compact travel sleeve that is only 18 inches long. The stored
sleeve also has a dedicated pocket for the whoop winder (pre filled with 200 feet
of line) that is included with the kite. This kite has a 64 inch span which gives it a
STOWAWAY DIAMOND. The addition of tails add more to the kite's visual size in
the sky. The kite comes in four different and very bright color schemes.
The 18 inch package size for storage and transportation is facilitated by utilizing
the same high tech “folding” spar technique that is featured in the PRISM
STOWAWAY DELTA kite design. This kite is said to be able to fly over a wide
range of wind conditions from 4 to 20 mph. It's super stable high flying angle
allows maximum altitude to be reached. The design also features a
counterweighted spine for extra stability in strong winds. Although not included
with the kite, there are provisions to attach tails at the spine as well as at the tips
for some added flare. I sometimes like to fly this kite fly with five equally spaced
tails or even with a 20 foot long tube tail which it carries with ease.
I usually carry this kite, along with my PRISM STOWAWAY DIAMOND, in my
camper van (which is also my daily driver) at all times for some kite flying
whenever I get the urge. If you have a flying buddy, these two kites look very nice
when flying together in the sky. Note that this kite has a medium strong pull when
flown in a brisk wind – so be careful when handing over the flying to young
Another animal kite that I purchased was a Premier Kites Black Shark. I found
this shark kite to be a very good flyer right out of the box. The kite is 55 inches
wide and 83 inches long (7 feet) and flies in wind starting at 6 mph. This kite
has a natural “swimming motion” when it is airborne which draws a lot of
attention when it is viewed from the ground. The tendency for the kite's tail
section to collapse and twist under some wind conditions was eliminated by
adding four u-shaped plastic staves positioned along the length of the tail
section. Now it flies picture perfect under all wind conditions!
To spice things up, I am adding two very bright red LED eyes that can be
plainly seen from the ground even in bright daylight. The LED eyes will be
powered by a small Lithium Polymer battery that will be mounted at the kite’s
center of gravity. The two lights will draw a total of about 1.5 amps and the
small 12 volt battery which weighs in at about 3 ounces will last for at least an
hour on a single charge. I am very happy with the flying characteristics of this
kite and I fly it often. It is plainly visible in the sky when “swimming” at the end of
a 300 foot line.
LEVERAGE DELTA KITE
I purchased this colorful and well-made Wind Leverager delta kite from Amazon
for $27.97. With a size of 71 x 36 inches it has nearly 50% more area than my
Prism Stowaway Delta kite. This extra size gives it an increased visual presence
even when it is flown high in the sky. The kite included a nice multi colored
windsock tail which is about three inches in diameter and two feet long. Since the
input of the windsock is not reinforced, it tends to collapse. To fix this I threaded
a short length of 1/16 inch diameter carbon fiber rod into the seam around the
input opening. Although this keeps the windsock open, the rod will have to be
removed if you want to pack it into the original storage bag. I have also added 6
additional attachment points that are equally spaced along the trailing edge of
the kite. This allows for the addition of up to seven 6 foot long tails of different
colors which created additional interest and enlarges the kite’s perceived size in
the sky. This kite has also been cleverly designed with some additional
unsupported sail material near kite’s wingtips which flutters freely in the breeze.
This fluttering of the trailing edge along with the additional tails makes this
inexpensive kite real crowd pleaser. The kite also looks very good in the sky with
a single 20 foot long tubular tail. This kite flies reliably with winds as low as 5
mph, but starts to become unstable above about 12 mph. Whenever I go kite
flying, I usually pre-assemble the kite in order to save time at the flying field and
provide more flying time.
The Mighty Bald Eagle 3D kite was the third animal kite that I purchased and
cost $31.99 on Amazon. The kite’s proportions are very close to those of a real
Bald Eagle so that it has the potential to look very real when it is in the air.
Although the kite was described as being 3D, it’s body, head and beak were
very flat, floppy and two dimensional when it arrived. To get a more realistic 3D
appearance, I stuffed the body, head and beak with tufts of light weight spun
polyester material that is commonly used to fill pillows. This gave the 3D
appearance that I wanted and only added about one ounce to the kite’s weight.
Now, when the kite crashes head first into the ground, the beak and head snap
back immediately to their original position and shape.
The next problem was the instability of the kite that occurred as the wind speed
varied during a flight. This inconsistency was partially corrected by connecting
the line attachment point of the bridle firmly to the fiberglass rod at the point
where they intersect. This kept the support rod from swinging fore and aft more
or less randomly with changes in wind speed. However, this change made it
difficult to adjust the attachment point forward and backward when needed to
correct for differing wind speeds. Therefore I added a short length of “puppy
collar chain” that is centered on the bridle attachment point. This way I can
quickly easily relocate the kite line attachment point for best kite performance
under varying wind conditions.
This has helped considerably but the kite still becomes unstable and darts
back and forth and is close to crashing when it gets close to the ground as it is
being reeled in. Because this Eagle looks and flies so realistically when it is up
in the air, it is worth the extra effort that will be needed to make it a better flyer.
I have some ideas that I want to try that might correct or at least improve this
last flaw – stay tuned.
The next kite that I added to my collection is this red PARAFOIL OCTOPUS kite.
It is 4 feet wide and 16 feet long including the 8 trailing arms (tails). The bright
red body is 4 feet square and features two nice large eyes. The kite comes
packaged in a nylon stuff bag that is to be use for carrying or storing the kite.
The kite bridle has 14 lines (7 on each side) that are connected to the edge of
the kite to maintain the kites shape and angle of attack when it is in the air.
These lines meet at a single point for connection of the single flying line. In the
event of a crash there is nothing to break since there are no ridged rods in this
kite. I can easily launch this kite by myself by simply holding the bridle at arms’
length until the structure is inflated. Then stepping back and playing out the line
slowly and it goes up and away.
This is a very nice looking OCTOPUS when it is in the air. It can dominate the
sky with it’s large body size and 12 foot long tails. Both kits and grownups love
this novel kite. It is stable and very easy to fly in a wide range of wind
conditions. When I am finished flying I do my best to fold the kite to fit it into it’s
carry bag. However, when I get back home I usually take the kite out of the bag,
stretch it out on the floor and refold it properly. I purchased this kite from
Amazon and even though it is not a name brand kite, it is very well made using
quality materials. This kite checks two kite category boxes, first it is a nice flying
and stable parafoil and secondly it is a good looking animal kite.
For Valentine Day I am considering cutting out some shiny little red hearts that I
can attach to the ends of each of the eight tails.
I have recently acquired a number of different styles of kites following my return to
kite flying after many years. Flying each of them several times under different wind
conditions has resulted in this collection of kites becoming my favorites.
BEETLE STUNT KITE
The Beetle Stunt kite designed by Flying Wings is an excellent first time dual
line stunt kite. Because two line kites requires significantly more skill to master
than single line kite it is very important that a beginner first kite is as rugged
and indestructible as possible. This agile kite can be self-launched and with
practice it can perform figure eights, loops and hovers. In addition it is claimed
to be able to self-recover from dives better than other similar kites. The Beetle
can easily fly in winds ranging from 3 to 18 mph and tails can be attached at
the wingtips as well as the spine for a more interesting visual appearance.
This kite wingspan measures 57 inches by 31 inches long and weighs only
about 3.5 ounces. It can be packed into a 44 inch long case for storage or
transportation. 80 feet of 75 pound polyester flying lines with handles are
included with this kite. If the factory lines are upgraded to Dyneema the kite
becomes an entry level trick kite.
LAIMA LIGHT WIND KITE
The typical winds in the San Diego coastal area are above 5 mph between 1
pm and 4 pm most days. Earlier and later than this, the breeze is likely to be in
the range of 2 – 4 mph. Therefore, if I want to fly at any time during the day, I
needed to add a kite to my collection that is capable of flying stably in a very
The LIAMA is one of the most recent kites that I have acquired and is the
latest creation by Bell Chire. This single line gliding kite is specially designed
to fly in a very light breeze. The kite has a 75 inch wingspan, is 39 inches
long and weighs only 3 ounces. It can be flown both indoors and outdoors
and accommodates winds from 0 to 8 mph by adjusting the dihedral and
bridle attachment point. I like the way that this kite flies right out of your
hand in a gentle breeze. Its graceful birdlike shape and large 75 inch span
looks great as it gently floats in the sky on the lightest of breeze. Pulsating
tugs on the flying line cased the wings to flap realistically just like a bird flying
through the sky. The green sail color that I chose contrasts well with either a
blue or grey sky background.
The only time that this kite shows any sign of instability is when it is close to
the ground and the breeze is brisk. This usually only occurs when pulling in
the LAIMA in for a landing. I have found that I get the best results when I pull
in the line hand over hand as I walk toward the kite.
I like to fly the LAIMA kite whenever I arrive at the flying field before the winds
have risen to the level necessary to fly other kites or if the winds die down at
the end of a flying session.
This kite is truly a valuable addition to my collection of kites and it gets a lot of
air time. It packs into a 27 inch long fabric bag for storage and transportation.
However, I carry mine in a 3 inch diameter 27 inch long tube which provides a
little more protection for the fragile pultruded carbon fiber framework.
The only component failure to date on this well make kite is that the nose
fitting that is provided is very fragile. It broke the third time that the bungee
was snapped over the nose, I made a replacement from a short piece of 0.250
inch diameter plastic rod and it has worked fine ever since.
Due to the very nice year round weather here in San Diego, I usually fly my kites at
least once a week with my kite flying buddies. We fly at a local park, that is less than a
mile away, as well as at several spots around San Diego's beautiful Mission Bay. I have
also joined the San Diego Kite Club which sponsors many interesting and fun kite flying
events. The Club members have been very helpful to me in getting my kites adjusted
and flying at their best - in addition to showing me how to rescue one of my kites from
the top of a very tall palm tree.
The kites described here cover the wind speed range from 2 mph to over 20 mph which
allows me to go kite flying at virtually any time of the day. Also, the animal kites are fun
for my grandkids and their young friends to fly. I am looking forward to many years of
kite design, building and flying.
|Last modified July 27, 2016
PRISM D-4 LIGHT WIND STUNT KITE
My most recent purchase is the newly designed Prism 4-D super light stunt
kite that is based on the previously very successful 3-D design. This 58 inch
kite will fly in winds that are so low that none of my other kites will fly except
maybe for my LAIMA kite. The sail is made of strong but super light ripstop
Icarus mylar laminated Polyester . The frame has been cleverly designed and
fabricated using high modulus solid carbon fiber rods. This kite is very light as
well as strong for it’s size and weighs just 2 ½ ounces. This light weight is
extremely difficult to accomplish for a 6 foot delta kite but is well worth the
effort as it allows the kite to provide unusually good buoyancy in the air. The
kite has a responsive feel and seems to require smaller than usual motions to
fly and perform stunts. This kite is wind rated from 0 to 15 mph and can easily
perform stunts indoors when you are simply walking backwards slowly!
Outdoors I have found that a modest 2 ½ mph breeze will keep it floating
along in the air. This light wind capability provides some extra time that may
be needed to recover from short term weak wind conditions.
The kite’s bridle has preset limit knots so that you are always within the
proper operating range. Special wing tip fittings are also proved which make
the kite easy to put together. The 50 foot light weight Spectra lines that were
provided with the kite are great for a small space. However they tend to
tangle unless you are very careful with them. The two foot long travel case
that is provided with the kite is well made and has plenty of room for
additional line sets.
ITW RIVIERA HIGHLANDER KITE
With it's impressive size and pull, this colorful and well made 12-ft Highlighter
Delta Kite is perfect for anyone seeking a lifter that’s also great for casual
flying. Light winds make it soar with moderate pull. Strong winds give it the
power to lift lots of line laundry, but will require that it is anchored down. This
kite is made of ripstop nylon with fiberglass spars. It measures 12'-0 x 6'-1
feet. The wind range is 4 to 22 mph. This kite is easy and quick to assemble
and break down. It fits into a 43 inch long carry case for storage or
transportation. It is recommended that the fly line is rated at 200 pounds or
Because this kite can be transported in my camper van, even when partially
assembled, it requites very little time at the field before it is in the air. This kite
also gets a lot of flying time because it looks so good in the air when carrying
numerous and varying tails as well as some very interesting laundry.
Finally, this kite has sufficient lifting capability to transport a full size 20 meter
dipole amateur radio antenna hundreds of feet into the air. The antenna that
it carries can also be easily tuned to 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 or 6 meters
depending on the band that is open at the time. A length of small diameter,
light weight RG-8x coaxial cable is used to connect the transceiver on the
ground to the antenna carried by the kite. The kite antenna can be powered
at remote locations using my 100 watt backpack or bicycle mobile rig. It can
also be tethered to my camper van and powered by the van's 500 watt
mobile. When the van is parked on the beach and the kite is flown out over
salt water, the radiation angle is significantly lowered so that this kite antenna
provides truly outstanding performance.
The details of this kite antenna project will be posted on the KITES
G-KITES WHITE GHOST DELTA KITE
This big Ghost Delta kite dominates the sky with it's two long flowing tails.
The secret to it's beautiful floating flight is the lightweight ripstop nylon
that allows the tails to float and fluiter on the very lightest of breezes.
Designed by Frank Schwiemann and licensed to G-Kites, this Ghost has
long been a festival favorite and is ideal for all kinds of wind. This kite is
extremely stable and is capable of lifting lots of tube tails and line art. If
you put it up at night, you'll quickly see why it is called a "ghost". It looks
even more spectacular if it is equipped with a flashing strobe light.
This delta kite is seven feet wide and has two 20 foot long tails. The
frame is fabricated using strong fiberglass tubing. This kite pulls strongly
in winds ranging from 4 to 25 mph. It is best to use a good quality fly line
that is rated at 50 pounds or higher. Assembly is extremely easy and the
kite can be in the air in under five minutes.
This kite has proven itself to be extremely stable even at the highest
wind speeds. Therefore I carry it with me always in my Sprinter van.
|The Ghost Delta kite is renamed Alien Transporter One whenever it is carrying
visitors from outer space on a tour around the beautiful San Diego Mission Bay.
LARGE HENGDA COBRA SNAKE KITE
This Hengda Cobra Snake Kite is a full 30 meters long. It easily floats on
winds of 5 mph or more and its enormous tail dominates the sky. This kite
attracts considerable attention and can be easily seen from a mile or more.
The large kite head measures 50 inches by 50 inches while the 100 foot
long tail is a full 15 inches wide where it attaches to the head and tapers to 4
½ inches along its length. The face design is sewn on while the tail’s pattern
appears to be screen printed. The kite is fabricated using polyester material
and is given its shape by two strong fiberglass rods. These two rods break
down to into four 25 inch lengths for storage and transportation.
The kite is easy to hand launch by a single person and is very stable in
flight. However, it does take suitably large clear space for flying due to the
100 foot long tail. Also, please note that in winds over 15 mph it pulls quite
hard and is not suitable for flying by small children under certain wind
conditions. Fly line rated at 100 pounds or more may be desirable.
The kite is delivered complete with a well-made soft case. However, I have
found that the 100 foot long kite tail takes so much time to fold that I have
decided to store the kite and tail in a 28 inch duffel bag. This allows me to
quickly and easily store the tail loosely without folding. In addition I have
found that attaching the tail using the provided “ties” is not easy to do in the
field, especially if the wind blowing the kite around. Therefore, I have
attached metal snaps to the corners of the tail which makes this activity very
easy and quick (see photo).
Finally, I have added a second 30 meter tail in parallel with the original tail.
The two tails flowing in the wind adds a spectacular visual effect!
This is a very nice kite and is a pleasure to fly.
GIANT PREMIER DIAMOND KITE
This Premier 65 inch by 65 inch giant diamond kite has a bright neon sail
design. The proportions of this kite are based on a Malay design platform
with the horizontal spreader and fly line attachment point positioned at 20%
down from the top of the kite. This kite is rated to fly in winds from 4 to 18
mph and a 50 pound rated fly line is recommended. The descriptive literature
states that it will fly well under most wind conditions without the need for a tail
which is typical of diamond kites with a high cross bar position. This kite
features Velcro tensioning provisions at each of the four corners that are
used to set the sail tension. In addition, a second horizontal spreader has
been added to the kite framework, in parallel with the main spreader which
adds some strength as well as sets the sail's bow. As delivered, the preset
bow (dihedral) is about 8 inches, as measured at the center of the spreader.
The quality of the materials used in the fabrication of this kite as will as the
workmanship is first class. The neon color scheme of this kite has received
many compliments starting with it's very first flight. It's large size is quite
noticeable, especially if there are other "normal" size diamond kites in the air
at the same time.
However, on it's maiden flight, this kite (as delivered) had a very large
nonstop wobble in flight which was visually distracting. It also suffered several
death dives all the way to the ground. The application of the following
completely eliminated these flaws:
1. A 50 foot long 2 inch wide rainbow tail was added
2. A three point bridle was added.
3. Loops were added to the bridle to accommodate different wind speeds
This large diamond kite is well worth the additional effort since I originally
acquired it so that I can fit the frame with different sail designs.