One of my passions is dual line stunt kites. This is a quick instructable for making a "kite bar" which is used to control the kite and is a heck of a lot of fun.
A Little Something About Stunt Kites....
Whereas a typical kite uses a single line, a stunt kites uses 2 (or 4) lines with which you can steer the kite and do tricks and spins. Takes flying to a whole new level. Once you get a feel for the kite it's a lot of fun and very addictive but it can be tricky to learn. There's a video at the end that give the idea. Although it looks very difficult, stunt kites are actually easy to control but difficult to master. Pull one line and not the other and the kite turns. that's it. It's tricky because things happen fast. the amount you pull changes the turn. pull light and the kite does a gentle turn. pull hard and the kite does a spin.
The Kite Bar Idea
My kids have been trying to learn but they get frustrated after a couple nose dives. I had an idea for simple handle to use as a teaching aid. My hope is that this will help them get a feel for kite and learn to read the wind. My inspiration is a "kite bar" that is used by kite surfers. I've never kite surfed but thinking about all that's involved it seems like you would want the controls to be as simple as possible so that all your focus can be on surfing rather than the kite.
I love it, but will help my kids learn?
My thought was that my kids would use this a few times just to get started with kiting but what i didn't expect is how much fun I would have using it. I really like using this and will be using it often. it's a different kids of flying. The kite is really responsive to the bar movements. You can't really do the advanced tricks....at least i couldn't, but i could do easy snap turns, axels and side slides. I haven't been able to teach my kids yet so I can't report yet on how well it works as a teaching aid. I love flying in the fall....at least in Cleveland. Blustering fall days with their constantly changing wind patterns are a lot of fun. With trees loosing their leaves, areas where you couldn't fly before are not open to you. My kids don't really share these feelings so it may be spring before i get them out.
Making the Bar
this took about half hour and used stuff I had in the garage. All of my kites use wrist straps so this bar is made for that. if your kite has different handle or finger straps, this may not work but I think this can be easily modified for different handles.
2'-0" - 3/4" diameter dowel ( broom handle )
2'-0" pipe wrap insulation for 3/4" pipe.
Scrap 1/2" plywood
1 1/4" screws
drill / bits
Step 1: How to Build
Building this is pretty straight forward. I had some dowel rods left over from another project so that's what I used. You can just as easily use a broom handle or even a tree branch. My initial inspiration was to use a swimming noodle as a handle cushion but the diameter is a little to big for my kids to be able to get a good comfortable grip. I had visions of my nice kites getting blown out of their hands end crashing into the water (I fly on a beach mostly). I found some pipe insulation from when I had bought the wrong size, so that's what I used.
1. Cut dowel to 2'-0" length.
2. drill pilot holes in either end of dowel. I made the mistake of putting on the pipe insulation before drilling the pilot holes. the insulation doesn't stick to the dowel so it just spun when i tried to drill it.
3. Cut out 2 1/2" diameter 1/2" thick plywood end caps. The diameter isn't really important. What matters is that the end caps are at least 1" bigger than the pipe insulation to keep the kite handles from slipping off.
BE CAREFUL WHEN DRILLING!!!!!!!!. Be patient and let the drill do the work. When I was finishing up the second circle I got impatient and pushed down on the hole cutter. the cutter caught and the drill jerked, injuring my wrist. nothing broken but my wrist will be wrapped for a while.
4. screw on end caps to either end. using the hole created by the hole saw screw the end caps to the rod with 1 1/4" screws. screw length can vary depending on what you have on hand. rule of thumb is to have at least as much bite as the thickness of what your going thru.
5. measure and cut pipe insulation to length with scissors or a utility knife.
6. wrap insulation around bar and stick together.
7. measure to the center of the rod and 8" on either side and wrap with electrical tape. You can get colored electrical tape. I would rather have used red but black is all I had.
that's it. now it's time to fly....or in my case wait 2 weeks until i had good wind conditions.