Projects in Progress


What's going on...

                     Weblog Jan Westerink                                                                          




Saturday, 28 May 2011

Even the biggest kite begins with small parts.


(Fig. 140)



Lots of small parts! First bowing and then cutting them to size.



(Fig. 138 and 139)



About a year ago, somewhere in 2010 I started building the triple Malay kite, described by James Means in ‘his’ Aeronautical Annual written in 1896.



(Fig. 136 and 137)



Although I always try to build as exactly as described in the documentation I can find, this time I made the frame almost half as light as Means did. I am sure means should have liked this!


(Fig. 135)


The main stick is nailed and glued together and sawn to size.



(Fig. 133 and 134)



The supporting sticks are nailed to the main stick and also tied with yarn. All the types off brackets are tied to the frame with yarn which is covered with glue. After that the whole frame was varnished.



(Fig. 131 and 132)



Finished main stick end and finished supporting sticks ends.



(Fig. 129 and 130)


(Fig. 128)



The Eddy like bows are precisely fitting to the main stick. They can be removed to make transporting this huge kite a little easier.


(Fig. 127)



Exciting was making the holes in the three Eddy like kite sails, not that it was difficult, but none of them was in the same spot as the others. Making one mistake here should have cost the whole sail.


(Fig. 126)




Thuesday, 4 May 2010

It is really true, you can align every plane of the Kusnetzov by tighten or untighten the wires! It takes some time, but in the end you have the feeling you have done a great job.


Kusnetsov wires

(Fig. 125)



A part of the bridle of the Kusnetzov is made of elastic. In a gusty wind you can feel how the kite shakes or makes his movements. By a wind gust, the kite flattens.


Kusnetsov with elastic bridle

(Fig. 124)



Maybe I have to adjust this system better, but sometimes it tends to dive, and then you are lucky when you have given out al the line there was on the winder. But it is still not good for your nerves when all the work starts to dive at the end of 260 meter line (850 feet).


At the end of the line...

(Fig. 123)



Saturday, 24 May 2010

Beautifull weather, nice friends, lovely location at the 10th Historical Kite Workshop in Stade, Germany. And as always nice things to see and discover. The Wheelwright radio antenna kite (US2386762 and CA422725) braught by Ulli Draheim showed its details.


Wheelwright kite research    Research picture of the Wheelwright kite

(Fig. 121 and 122)



Never  get angry again when your own work is not as good as you wish, see how the professionals did it! See the Wheelwright production kite  at figure 120.


Detailed research is great fun!

(Fig. 120)



Sunday, 25 May 2010

Showed the book "A Moment in Time" by Barbara Sellers at the HKWS in Stade, with all the interesting drawings and details af Mathew Sellers technical diary. (See Bird Kite.)


Showed the book "A Moment in Time" by Barbara Sellers

(Fig. 119)



Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sometimes you are over years busy with a kite wich won’t succees. The model of Tuesday, 24 March 2009, made of paper and inspired on the Holland 1938 kite is such a model. Months ago I made a bigger version of the tiny and fragile model and tried to fly it without succes. The frame of wooden dowels was bending too much in the wind and distorting the structure of the kite.


Not flying kite

(Fig. 118)



I doubled the frame with bamboo and tried -again without succes- another time. Now I have this kite which is beautifull hanging from the ceiling set out of my mind for a longer while.


Kite with doubled frame

(Fig. 117)



But in the meanwhile another version of the frame of this kite was made and lying somewhere around. Today this frame was tested with a surface in a total other design as ment for the frame. So the first idea was absolutely not recognizable in the kite we took today to our flying field.


Failing kite

(Fig. 116)



But nevertheless, it failed again (maybe I should say: ) of course. By the way, the kite in both pictures is flown upside down in a last attempt...


Diving kite

 (Fig. 115)



So the frame has to be undone from his surface and has to get the surface as where for it was designed. And then, somewhere in the future, just once, tried again.



Wednesday, 3 maart 2010

Okay, the Voigländer has been finished long time ago, but now it is leaving its sleeve and going out into the air.


Voigtlander Kite in Flight

(Fig. 114)



It goes up inmeadiatly without any trouble and then it stays up without any problems. This is fine kite flying. Especially with the last flight in my memory from Wednesday september the 23rd. (Yes that is long time ago…)


The Voigtländer is a really special kite, although it looks a bit messy in the air, it flies fantastic.


Voigtlander shows his aerodynamical form

(Fig. 113)



Thursday, 4 februari 2010

Tightening the fabric to the frame of the Kusnetzov is not so easy. The frame, although reinforced with wire, is bending while sewing by hand the fabric under tension to the frame.


Kuznetsov kite tightening the fabric

(Fig. 112)



Saturday, 30 januari 2010

Some years ago after I made my hundredth kite, I stopped counting them. I like kite flying, but I love kite building! So I started already before the voigländer was finished the building of a Russian Kusnetzow kite. This time I used the beatifull parts I obtained at the HKWS 2008 (Historical Kite Workshop 2008) in Friedrichshaven, Germany.


Kuznetsov Kite brackets from the Historical Kite Workshop in Friedrichshaven

(Fig. 111)



It is nice to work with one of the always good HKWS kits.


Kuznetsov kite frame corner fixation

(Fig. 110)



Monday, 25 januari 2010

And then is this kite ready also. Now it has to wait untill there is a moment with the right weather conditions and some time to go to the flying field for his maiden flight. I am afraid I made some details which where not on the original kites.


Voigtlander detail frame strut connection

(Fig. 109)



Saturday, 3 January 2010

Last month I started with ‘the Voigtländer kite’. Found some plans on the internet and some books with additive information on my bookshelf, also got some photo’s from good friends and started to get all the information into the right shape and size.


(Fig. 108)



Specially the German book “Lustige Windvögel” and some Horstenke plans gave good information about the bending and construction of the frame.



(Fig.  106 and 107)



First I made the frame, then the pattern of the cotton cloth.


(Fig. 105)



When the surface of the kite was ready, some experiments were made with the blue paint of the lettering on the kite. Lettering a finished kite is almost to exciting: nothing may go wrong otherwise your kite will be disturbed!


(Fig. 104)



(Fig. 103)



Sunday, 27 December 2009

Finished the catapult (Hochstart Vorrichtung / high start) designed by Oesterle for launching gliders from under his triplane kite. Now I have to build some gliders which can disapear behind the horizon. But I don't think I will try this thing from under Oesterle's triplane kite...


High Start system for gliders/Hoch Start Vorrichtung

(Fig. 102)



Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A great moment Oesterle at flight, with burning wick and ready to shoot a black and white picture with the Voigtländer camera from the thirties!


Airplane Kite, Triplane, Driedekker vliegtuigvlieger

(Fig. 101)



And then it happens, so short after the very big moment minutes before. Crash!


Kite crash      Kite crash

(Fig. 99 and 100)



Saturday, 19 September 2009

Transporting the Oesterle tri-plane (without wings) to an atelier of friends, nearby the kiting field. There it can wait until the circumstances are perfect for a maiden flight. So watching the weather forecast (Fig. 97) is now the daily ritual.


 Kite transport, vlieger transport, Volvo 240, station           Weather forecast on TV

   (Fig. 98 and 97)



Sunday, 6 September 2009!

Today 23:00h, a special moment:    Oesterle's triplane is ready!   


Eleven months ago I started with the work. Today I finished it... what to do now. A little project in between or, again, somewhat bigger?


Triplane kite - Fesselflugzeug - Dreidecker - Oesterle

(Fig. 96)



Saturday, 29 august

Oesterle's triplane  is almost ready. Again working on this kite, after months of working on other projects, is just fun. Doing the finishing touch of this airplane kite is relaxing, something that would not be the first test flight, I am afraid!


High school kite building :-)

(Fig. 95)



Sunday, 17 August 2009

Even the tiniest pin is important to let this project succeed.


KAP simple shutter release in the old fashioned way

(Fig. 943)


The cloth peg which will release the shutter when a little wire has been burned by a wick.


KAP simple shutter release

(Fig. 93)



KAP shutter release

(Fig. 92)



Thursday, 9 July 2009

A day at the movies: hot and a lot of waiting, but in the end everything worked out.


Shooting the Po Documentary

(Fig. 91)



Wednesday, 8 July 2009

On the beach in Ferrara, Italy, testing it all: The kite, made by Alessandro Andreini and Andrea Casalboni and the messenger. Very exciting for everybody of the whole group, four architects and three kiters togheter!


Andreini and his beautiful kite with a wooden frame and handmade stick connectors. (Fig. 90)


Beautiful Cassagne Kite build by Alessandro Andreini

(Fig. 90)



"Kite Messenger" "Cerf-Volant Postillon" "Drachen Lauf Katze" "Drachen Fähre" "Vlieger Boodschapper"


Video of spreading seeds by the kite messenger:


Video 12,2 MB  Take your time to download...

Or on YouTube  



Thursday, 14 May 2009

Made two side panels to the messenger to double the surface. I think this would decrease the lifting effect like a kite. (Fig. 89) But gives the messenger more plane surface to blow it just against the kite line. I made the panels detachable.  


Kite messenger with detachable sides

(Fig. 89)



"Kite Messenger" "Cerf-Volant 
         Boodschapper" Messenger with payload: bag with seeds, ready to launch.

(Fig. 88)



Monday, 25 May 2009

The seeds of the Po documentary should be carried to a round kite by a messenger and then spread out in the air. The round kite should be made by the famous Italian kite makers Alessandro Andreini and Andrea Casalboni.


"Kite Messenger" "Cerf-Volant Postillon" "Drachen Lauf Katze" "Drachen 

(Fig. 87)



The problem of a payload carrying messenger is that the messenger also has to carry its own weight. And the problem with the beautiful round Cassagne kite is that it is not for lifting things. So a messenger with also some lifting capacities was made, l ike an Eddy or Woglom kite (Fig. 86). and tried with a water bottle (Fig. 87) as testing payload.


"Kite Messenger" "Cerf-Volant Postillon" "Drachen Lauf 
 "Vlieger Boodschapper"

(Fig. 86)



Construction of the Eddy/Woglom shaped messenger. The upper part of the stick is made in two parts to let the kite line through.


Eddy or Woglom kite messenger

(Fig. 85)



"Kite Messenger" 
    "Vlieger     Boodschapper"


A video of one of the kite messenger tests:


Video 1,93 MB  Take your time to download...

Or on YouTube  



Saturday, 28 March 2009

The full scale one didn't fly, because of the weakness of the very thin frame. I tried to make a very light kite, but evething turned out to light and fragile. But the little model was beatifull.


Paper Kite

(Fig. 84)



Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Made a model of a new paper kite inspired on the Holland 1938 kite.


Paper Kite Model

(Fig. 83)



Sunday, 22 March 2009

Some months ago a mail from Venice - Italy arrived:


"We are thinking about a no profit Po river re-naturalization project and we have to prepare a little movie to express the suggestion of the idea.


We would like to use a big kite to spread some endangered species seeds on the territory; a boat along the river should carry the kite.


Would you be interested in helping us to realize this artistic action and to solve the technical problems of the project?


Giulia and  Chiara"


It was the beginning of a new friendship with four architects from Italy, Barcelona and Servia! I can look back to many exiting adventures with this little group. Thank you, Giulia, Chiara, Masa and Vuk.


Today we started with the first tests of spreading seeds by a kite. We used the Holland 1938 kite (Fig. 82) for the first attempts and tried several spreading bags and release systems under the kite.


Spreading seeds by a kite

(Fig. 82)




We made also some video's to show the results spreading seeds by a kite, one of them:


Video 3,91 MB  Take your time to download...

Or on YouTube  


(In the very beginning of this video you can see the particular effect of the patented Holland kite steering mechanism!)



We used sawdust (Fig. 81) for experimenting in because of the low costs and it was harmless for the nature at the flying field.


Sawdust for experimenting

(Fig. 81)



Saturday 18, April 2009

More beautiful historical kite details appeared in Bad Hersfeld during the International Historical Kite Workshop (Fig. 97 and 80): the cerf-volant Oiseau owned and kindly made available for documentation by Axel Goldbach.


Cerf-Volant ancien Oiseau

(Fig. 80)



The French kite builders did there job very well on this patented kite!


Cerf-Volant ancien Oiseau

(Fig. 79)



Friday 17, April 2009

In Bad Hersfeld during the International Historical Kite Workshop Frits Sauvé and I were in the occasion to examine a very old and patented German kite (Fig. 78). Owned and kindly made available for documentation by Uli Draheim.


Kite Research Adler Drachen Patent 2813 - 1

(Fig. 78)



Lovely 100 year old kite making details (Fig. 77), made by professional German kite makers. This is the kite research I like the most!


Kite Research Adler Drachen Patent 2813 - 1

(Fig. 77)



Monday 23, February 2009

Oestele's Dreidekker is almost ready. Just hanging at the ceiling waiting for the finishing touch and his first test flight. But it has to wait, some other projects have to be finished first.


Kite on the ceiling

(Fig. 76)



Saturday 17, January 2009

With some good advise from some good friends, today the solution for all my problems (as it seems to be already) arrived by mail.


Spannlack für Gleitflugzeuge

(Fig. 75)



The only trouble now is to find some time to open the cans and give it a try. In the meanwhile Oesterle's body-frame takes a lot of room.


Oesterle's Dreidecker Fesselflugzeug

(Fig. 74)



Wednesday 31, December 2008

The last day of the year and I am sure: the real old fashioned shellac is not the real thing. The fabric of the little wing, below on Figure 73 has been detached and tied again and is very tight again. The others should have to be done also. But there is no more room to stretch the fabric in the frame (See as reverence Figure 70.) So I have to look for a better solution then shellac.


To slack wings

 (Fig. 73)



Friday 26, December 2008

Finishing the cloth with real old fashioned shellac (Fig. 71) seams to be more and more going the wrong way! Although having fun doing it, because it feels like real craftsman work (Fig. 72), it slowly occurs to me that it is not working. Instead of getting very tight cloth on the wings, it is getting very slack.


Real old fashioned shellac   Finishing the wings with shellac

(Fig. 71)                                                                                       (Fig. 72)



Monday, 22 December 2008

Still going on fastening fabric. This time to the frame parts. Although everything is written down in the manual: Wie baue ich mir selbst? Fesselflugzeug ~ Dreidecker from Valentin Oesterle, sometimes surprises occur. In contrast with the genius frame construction, fastening the fabric through the papered frame parts seems a bit amateurish. See Figure 70.


Leitwerk Oesterle Detail

(Fig. 70)



Sunday, 7 December 2008

Finished tying the fabric in the last Oesterle Dreidecker wing. Short lengths of thread have to be used (Figure 69), as the manual said. So that in case of breaking one piece thread during flight the fabric will stay in place and not will be blown away.


Das Festnähen 
 der Bespannung an  der  

(Fig. 69)



Sunday, 30 November 2008

Last 8 months, hours and hours have been spend on research, collecting and photographing patented and commercially manufactured kites. All about getting a unique list of kites on the web with well- or less known kites over the years. Kites which have been patented, manufactured in huge amounts and sold to customers. Who loved them or hated them for their flight qualities. Maybe you might recognize one off your first kites.

The first part of the project is almost finished, please take a look at the concept version of, and check how the new web page will be.

The second part comparing the kites with their patents. And checking their flight qualities is in full swing. I hope to be able to show the results within some months.


Start of 
 the Patented 

   (Fig. 68)



Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Cutting the sails for the wings and sewing the seems for Oesterle's Dreidecker is not difficult. Sewing two sides of the wings and then just trying and stretching the fabric until the right measurement is found.


Tragflach ohne Bespannung  Tragflach ohne 

(Fig. 67 and 68)



Saturday, 22 November 2008

From all the vertical parts which has to be covered, both sides are covered with paper as described in the building manual. A picture of the back part  (Leitwerk in German) of the body. (Figure 66)


Valentine Oesterle's 
 Dreidecker    - 

(Fig. 66)



Saturday, 15 November 2008

The triplane body, Oesterle's Dreidecker, is ready. The question yet is which kind of covering I have to choose, fabric or paper. Both kind of materials are described in the manual and have there own benefits and disadvantages. Paper is lighter than fabric, but it is weaker. It is shrinking when getting very dry. On a hot sunny day in summer it might tear by this. It is also cheaper than fabric. All this is also mentioned in the old building manual. Not mentioned, but really true is that paper is easier to apply to the wings. The horizontal parts which has to be covered are covered with paper.


Valentin Oesterle's 
 Dreidecker  -  

(Fig. 65)








The lightness is very important in this project while I intent to raise an old 1936 camera with the kite to take 'as it was done' black and white pictures in the historical way.

And while doing this I like to video the whole process in a modern digital way on the same kite.

(I hope everything will work out!)


Oesterle made a very simple but ingenious construction. Al the wooden parts are nailed(!) together. And it works out when nailed and bored with care even the square 6x6 mm sticks. The ends of the sticks are bound with yarn to protect against splitting. See figure 64 with one of the wing connections from aluminium.



Valentin Oesterle's 
 Dreidecker -   Rumpf 

(Fig. 64)


Knotenblech und 
            Schellen   Knotenblech und 

(Fig. 62 and 63)



October 2008

The work on the 'as original as possible' Oesterle Dreidecker project started with sawing the ribs and other parts of frame and wings. There are three sizes of sticks described in the German building manual from 1936: "Wir baue ich mir selbst ein Fesselflugzeug - Dreidecker" from Valentin Oesterle. (How to build my own triplane kite):


8 mm for the longerons in the body

7 mm for wings and  ribs in the front of the body

6 mm ribs in the end of the body


Very many meters had to be sawn, luckily my father gave some help. But still there was a lot of work to do, before the building could be started.



 Sawing the 

(Fig. 61)



Saturday and Sunday, 26 and 27 April 2008

Two beautiful days at the Zeppelin Museum with a lot of kite friends at the Historical Kite Workshop in Friedrichshafen at the Bodensee in Germany. A lot of great kites were exposed in the front of the museum. The Sellers kite was finished just in time and photographed in the museum, see picture 60.



Sellers Patented Kite in the Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen, Germany

(Fig. 60)


A beautiful shot (fig. 59) from the balcony at the Zeppelin Museum of the launch of a replica of a N-Drachen as used a 100 years before by the daily kite launches at the Bodensee to do the meteorological  observations. The replica is build by Charles Tacheron and is more than two meters high.



Replica N-Drachen flown from a ship at Friedrichshafen, Germany

(Fig. 59)


Thursday, 10 April 2008

The kites doesn't fit anymore in the room. This is not so pretty because all the parts are ready and the adjusting of all the parts together has to be done now.



Sellers Kite in Workshop

(Fig. 58)


Sellers in his Patent description about the coupling rods on which he seems to be particular proud of:

"In this construction the coupling bar 2 is bent between its ends to form an eye 3 and line wire 1 passes along the shank 4, through the eye 3 and is given one or more turns about the eye and then several turns around the shank, then one or more turns at 5 around the line wire, then several turns around the shank back to the eye, then one or more turns at 6 in the eye."  See figures 56 and 57.



Kite Patent Drawing

(Fig. 57)



Sellers Patented Coupling Rod

(Fig. 56)



Wednesday, 2 April 2008

UPS-World Wide brought me yesterday  the patented Fire Bird kite. The kite was still in his original box and must be 40 to 50 years old yet. I could not help it, I had to try this kite in spite of his remarkable age (fig. 55).



Gayla Patented Fire Bird Kite

(Fig. 55)


Flying this kite I had the same experience as with some of the patented kites I build myself. It flew, but not perfect! Maybe the wind was to turbulent this day. The kite flew almost like a fighter kite as be said on the kite box.



Plastic Kite Box

(Fig. 54)


There is a difference between the patent drawings and the kite Gayla Manufactured. See the patent drawings below. This proves that it is not always necessary to follow the patent drawings (fig. 53) as exact as possible by building patented kites. (How much proof do you need to do something......) Check figure 8 on the patent drawing and the photo of this part of the kite below.



 US Patent 2785870  Kite Construction Detail

(Fig. 53)                                                                                                            (Fig. 52)


Monday, 24 March 2008

Several weeks ago I started the building of the US Patent: US 886159, patented April 28, 1908. It is a kite from Mr. Matthew B. Sellers see figure 51. As usual there were no measurements in the patent so measurements have been chosen by careful looking at the drawings in the patent. And by trying to get some good conclusions about the kite measurement by comparing the constructions details by each other.


But you can imagine how lucky I got when I came in contact with the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, USA which made photographs of a replica of Sellers' plane available and also his personal notes from 1904 with drawings of the construction details and even a photograph of the first made kite of this type. Special thanks in this to Mr. Philip Baugh and Mr. Dennis Sparks.


Now I am trying to finish the building of this kite before April the 28th this year 2008. Because on that date it will be 100 years ago that this kite, called by Sellers Bird Kite model No. 2, was patented.



Sellers Kite Patent US 886159   Historical Kite 

(Fig. 51)                                                                                                                    (Fig. 50)


On figure 50 you can see the wing adjustment hook as drawn at figure 7 on the patent. This hook is placed in the cylindrical tail. Today I finished the fuselage of the kite. The cotton covering of the wings is ready and also the cylindrical tail (fig. 49).


Historical Kite Fuselage

(Fig. 49)



Thursday, 26 February 2008


Réplique Cerf-Volant Perrin

(Pic. 48)


Before I started the building of the Perrin kite from 1912, I had some thoughts to chance the model in a better shape. See picture 2. But now when I finished the test flights, I am glad I didn't! Only the use of two clothes pegs was enough to get this kite in the air and let it stay there as long as I desired. In his original, beautiful, historical shape. (Pic. 48 and Pic. 46). See the leading edges of the triangle wings for the clothes pegs.



Sketch Cerf-Volant Perrin  La Revue du Cerf-Volant 1912 Perrin

(Pic. 47)                                                                 (Pic. 46 From La Revue du Cerf-Volant, December 1912, P. 276)



Monday, 25 February


We tested the by Jan Kits improved version of the SOS Brookite, and it indeed flew like a Jan Kits kite. Check the plan on the SOS Kite page. (Not ready yet!)


Replica SOS BrooKite

(Pic. 45)



Only the red and yellow parts are 'original' at picture 45 but the important improvements are almost invisible.



Monday, 4 February 2008


The Dunne kite of Frantzen is ready, most of the bamboo is changed for stiffer ones and now at the third trial it flies very well. (Pic. 44)


Réplique Cerf-Volant Frantzen / Dunne

(Pic. 44)


The Big One, started building somewhere in 2007, weights almost 5 kilo's and has a span of 4,5  meter!



Réplique Cerf-Volant Frantzen / Dunne

(Pic. 43)


A little dramatically video of the first test flight. I was alone, so I couldn't do everything that had to be done. I even could not get the outer two bridles. So the kite was flying with only one third of the bridle pinned to the ground. Which proofs how remarkable this kite is. It can fly a bit with almost no bridle and with very weak and to thin bamboo sticks. These sticks were replaced later.




Video 7,37 MB  Take your time to download..



Sunday, 12 January 2008


Racke (Around 1900) is still waiting for a nice sunshiny day. In the last months the whole bamboo frame is split into half to get the frame as light as described in the old books where this kite from Belgium is mentioned. (Pic. 42)


Réplique Cerf-Volant Racke

(Pic. 42)



Picture 41 is taken at a test flight some months ago.


Réplique Cerf-Volant Racke

(Pic. 41)



Sunday  09-12-2007


Not the most beautiful kite, but designed as it is as a good flyer, just fun to fly: The Potter Diamond Kite. Almost build as described in the Monthly Weather Review. But this time build as a light wind kite with a paper covering on light poplar wood. (Pic. 39 & 40)


Replica Potter Weather Bureau Kite

(Pic. 40)



Replica Potter Weather Bureau Kite

(Pic. 39)


Detail of the notched strut (Pic. 40)



Historical Kite Construction Detail Potter Weather Bureau Kite

(Pic. 40)


Guests from 30 km/h  - 18 mph are to much for the poplar light wind frame. See the deformation of the frame at picture 39.



Replica Potter Weather Bureau Kite

(Pic. 39)



Sunday  25-11-2007


First test flight of the whole size Ickx kite ended in barbed wire. But the second and others were a great success. Only some adjustments to the bridle have to be done yet. (Pic. 38)



Réplique Cerf-Volant Ickx

(Pic. 38)



Réplique Cerf-Volant Ickx

(Pic. 37)



Big kites belong in the air, but the problem is, you have to build them at home. (Pic. 37)



Tuesday  23-10-2007


Today I broke my personal altitude record with a simple somewhat heavy winged triangular box kite (Pic. 36) constructed as if it was a toy kite. Dimensions: 160 cm. wide, 117 cm. high, 390 g. weight.

We had a 4 Bft. today and it was big fun with simple kites. I think there are two kinds of kites: Kites you like to make, test and experiment with and another kind of kites for flying them with great fun and no problems!


Winged Box Kite

(Pic. 36)



Sunday 23-09-2007


The Hirondelle doesn't still fly very well. Every adjustment has been tried out, also a second Hirondelle has been made (Pic. 33), with the same results. The latest idea now is a modification of the frame, see pictures 34 (before modification) and 35 (after modification). With this modification the kite gets his wings somewhat higher and in a better shape. It also looks more like the picture shown in the article in Le Revue du Cerf-Volant, July 1912 by V. Aston, where this kite comes from.



Cerf-Volant Hirondelle          Cerf-Volant Hirondelle

(Pic. 34 and 35)


The white swallow kite (Pic. 33) has his wings and major part of the body cut out of one piece of cloth, as described in the article from 1912. A more open cloth has been used to give the kite more stability, but it wasn't enough as you can see at picture 33.



Cerf-Volant Hirondelle

(Pic. 33)



Saturday 25-08-2007


Its a good thing: taking as much pictures as you can during test flying. Afterwards at home you see things you didn't see at your flying field...

Maiden test flight of the Hirondelle, 1912. A bird kite (swallow) which has been flown 2000 m. high once. Our record this particular day: almost 20 meters!



Cerf-Volant Hirondelle

(Pic. 32)



The Hirondelle with al the adjustment lines untied (Pic. 32) has nice shaped wings, but doesn't fly very well...



Saturday 21-07-2007


Third test flight of the kite of the Ickx brothers. Not enough wind... no real flight.



Cerf-Volant Ickx

(Pic. 31)


The only picture taken some seconds before the front wing stick broke. (A little sharpened picture 31.)


First thoughts on the test results:

-          Quick raiser (We pulled the line by running as an authentic kite flying child!)

-          Stable kite

-          Small wind range

-          But strong puller, when the kites catches some wind (As described by the Ickx brothers.)

-          This heavy half size model needs almost 5 Beaufort (Densité of this kite: a little more then 0,6)

-          The whole size one, which is under construction, must be able to have a better practice.

-          This kite has absolutely no aero dynamical wings, the wings are as flat as possible.


Construction detail from one of the small wing spreader sticks. (Pic. 27 - 30) The stick on his place at picture 26.



Construction Details Historical Kite Construction Details Historical Kite Construction Details Historical Kite Construction Details Historical Kite

(Pic. 27 - 30)



Construction Details Historical Kite

(Pic. 26)



Thursday 12-07-2007


What more do you need...?



Vliegers maken bouwen van papier en bamboe prikkers. Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen

(Pic. 25)



20 Minutes work and there it is: a real Bell tetrahedral kite, made of barbeque pins (bamboo), rubber bands and some pieces of rice paper.



Papieren vlieger, paper kites, Drachen aus Papier, Cerf-Volants

(Pic. 24)


But there seems to be some relation between time spent building your kite and stability in the end...



Sunday 29-04-2007


The improved Irvin kite has been tested and the results are very good! It can even fly (better!) without a tail. The improved shape of the front sail of the kite,  has more similarity to the drawings in the patent.

Irvin before modification:



Kite experiments with paper kites

(Pic. 22)


Irvin after modification:



Kite experiments with paper kites

(Pic. 21)



Friday 27-04-2007


Although we had to coop with the usual problems (Pic. 18) when flying experimental paper kites, in the end we succeeded to take good pictures of the paper version of the patented kite from Mr. Holland. (Pic. 20) See how the principals of this kites works:



Kite experiments with paper kites

(Pic. 20)


The usual problems with experimental paper kites. (Pic. 18)  A difficult moment: the principle of the patent doesn't work for some seconds. (Pic. 20)



Broken Kite          Kite experiments with paper kites

(Pic. 18 & 19)


Sunday  22-04-2007


Kite flying on top of Germany. (Pic. 17)

Very rarely: Kite flying on the glider airfield 'Wasserkuppe' during the International Historical Kite Workshop 2007. Three new built historical kites, from left to the right: Roloplan, Dahl and a Pearson Roller.



Drachen fliegen über Wasserkuppe

(Pic. 17)


Some children with basic kite flying between all the historical kites, the real thing... (Pic. 13 - 16)



 Drachen fliegen über Wasserkuppe    Drachen fliegen über Wasserkuppe

(Pic. 13 - 16)


The workshop kite from Gotlob Espenlaub in its origin environment. (Pic. 12)



Drachen fliegen über Wasserkuppe

(Pic. 12)



March - April 2007


Nothing special, still working on a bigger Frantzen (See Saturday 24-02-2007). This one will be in black cotton. Nothing special, only bigger kites need more ours sewing...



Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen  Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen

(Pic. 10)                                                                                         (Pic. 11)


In the meanwhile on sunny Saturdays, some test flying and adjusting on other kites is be done. For instance to decrease the flapping effect of the sail of the Dahl kite (pic. 9) with keeping the principle working of the kite in mind...



Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen

(Pic. 9)



Saturday 24-02-2007


"Etude pour une cerf-volant", wrote Lucien Pierre Frantzen above  his sketches in 1914. Today I had a perfect second series of test flights and it felt like a symphony! Everything was perfect, the weather, the wind and most of all the kite: half size model #76, span: 230 cm. (Pic. 8)



Vlieger foto

(Pic. 8)



Saturday 17-02-2007


First flight of Génesis. (Pic. 7) Four pieces straw, an orange wrapping paper and very little glue, that was all. Lounged from a playing field between houses one stick broke when it got to high and caught the 'full' 2 Beaufort. But it still was capable of flying!

Surface: 0,0925 cm², span: 37 cm, length: 115 cm, weight: 4 g.

('Génesis' is the brand of the oranges which were covered with the paper.)



Papieren vlieger, paper kites, Drachen aus Papier, Cerf-Volants     Papieren vlieger, paper kites, Drachen aus Papier, Cerf-Volants

(Pic. 6)                                                                                             (Pic. 7)



Friday  6-02-2007


Third test flight of the Kurkjian. Everything is working! (Pic. 5)



Kites in the air

(Pic. 5)



Sunday 21-01-2006


Starting again (after the first test flight at 01-10-2006) with the Frantzen/Dunne project: Adjusting the half size model #76. (Pic. 2-4)



Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen

(Pic. 4)



Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen

(Pic. 3)



Kite Building, Drachen bauen, vliegers maken bouwen

(Pic. 2)



Saturday  20-01-2007


Second test flight of the Kurkjian. Some problems with the bridle point. (Pic. 1)



Testing kites

(Pic. 1)


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 Copyright   ©   by Jan Westerink - Last update: 28-05-2011