Projects in Progress
Saturday, 28 May 2011
Even the biggest kite begins with small
Lots of small parts! First bowing and then cutting them
(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
The main stick is nailed and glued together and sawn to
(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
(Fig. 129 and 130)
The Eddy like bows are precisely fitting to the main
stick. They can be removed to make transporting this huge kite a
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
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
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.
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).
Saturday, 24 May 2010
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.
(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
Sunday, 25 May 2010
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
the Voigländer has been finished long time ago, but now it is
leaving its sleeve and going out into the air.
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…)
Voigtländer is a really special kite, although it looks a bit messy
in the air, it flies fantastic.
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
Saturday, 30 januari 2010
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,
nice to work with one of the always good HKWS
Monday, 25 januari
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
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
Specially the German book “Lustige Windvögel” and some Horstenke
plans gave good information about the bending and construction of
(Fig. 106 and
First I made the frame, then the pattern of the
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!
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...
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!
And then it happens, so short after
the very big moment minutes before. 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.
(Fig. 98 and
Sunday, 6 September
23:00h, a special moment: Oesterle's triplane is
months ago I started with the work. Today I finished it... what to
do now. A little project in between or, again, somewhat
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!
Sunday, 17 August
Even the tiniest pin is important to
let this project succeed.
The cloth peg which will release the
shutter when a little wire has been burned by a wick.
Thursday, 9 July
A day at the movies: hot and a lot
of waiting, but in the end everything worked out.
Wednesday, 8 July
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)
Video of spreading seeds by the kite
Video 12,2 MB Take
your time to download...
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
with payload: bag with seeds, ready to launch.
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.
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.
Construction of the Eddy/Woglom
shaped messenger. The upper part of the stick is made in two
parts to let the kite line through.
A video of one of the kite messenger
Video 1,93 MB Take
your time to download...
Saturday, 28 March
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.
Tuesday, 24 March
model of a new paper kite inspired on the Holland 1938 kite.
Sunday, 22 March
Some months ago a mail from Venice -
"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
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.
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...
(In the very beginning of this video
you can see the particular effect of the patented Holland kite steering
We used sawdust (Fig. 81) for
experimenting in because of the low costs and it was harmless for
the nature at the flying field.
Saturday 18, April
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.
The French kite builders did
there job very well on this patented kite!
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
Lovely 100 year old kite making
details (Fig. 77), made by professional German kite makers. This is
the kite research I like the most!
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
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.
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.
Wednesday 31, December
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.
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.
(Fig. 71) (Fig. 72)
Monday, 22 December
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.
Sunday, 7 December
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
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
The first part of the project is
almost finished, please take a look at the concept version of www.firstkites.nl/patentedkites.html, 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
Wednesday, 26 November
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.
(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
Saturday, 15 November
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.
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
(I hope everything will work
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
(Fig. 62 and
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
8 mm for the longerons in the
7 mm for wings and ribs in
the front of the body
6 mm ribs in the end of the
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.
Sunday, 26 and 27 April 2008
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.
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.
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 in his Patent description
about the coupling rods on which he seems to be particular proud
"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
Wednesday, 2 April
UPS-World Wide brought me
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
26 February 2008
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.
(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!)
Only the red and yellow parts are
'original' at picture 45 but the important improvements are almost
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)
One, started building somewhere in 2007, weights almost 5 kilo's
and has a span of 4,5 meter!
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)
Picture 41 is taken at a test
flight some months ago.
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)
Detail of the notched strut (Pic.
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.
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)
Big kites belong in the air, but the
problem is, you have to build them at home. (Pic. 37)
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!
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
(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.
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!
The Hirondelle with al the
adjustment lines untied (Pic. 32) has nice shaped wings, but doesn't
fly very well...
Third test flight of the kite of the
Ickx brothers. Not enough wind... no real flight.
The only picture taken some seconds
before the front wing stick broke. (A little sharpened picture
First thoughts on the test
Quick raiser (We pulled the line by running as
an authentic kite flying child!)
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
(Pic. 27 - 30)
What more do you need...?
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.
But there seems to be some relation
between time spent building your kite and stability in the
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
has more similarity to the drawings in the patent.
Irvin before modification:
Irvin after modification:
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: http://www.firstkites.nl/m7.html
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)
(Pic. 18 & 19)
Kite flying on top of Germany. (Pic.
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.
Some children with basic kite flying
between all the historical kites, the real thing... (Pic. 13 -
(Pic. 13 - 16)
The workshop kite from Gotlob
Espenlaub in its origin environment. (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
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
"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)
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.)
Third test flight of the Kurkjian.
Everything is working! (Pic. 5)
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)
Second test flight of the Kurkjian.
Some problems with the bridle point. (Pic. 1)
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