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delta kite designs

Delta kite design 1991

specializing in light wind kite designs since 1975

Please note: The most-used sizes of fiberglass and some of the carbon fiber rods and tubes used in most of my medium sized kites are no longer being made. Until substitutes can be found those kites will be off the menu.
Prototypes are being modified and new stock for testing is on order, but no orders for the affected designs can be taken until the new parts, if found, pass testing in a variety of different weather conditions.
Affected designs are Whirlwind, Wildcard, Trooper, R5, R7 and M7. In the past some of the discontinued fiberglass parts have been successfully replaced by carbon equivalents in experimental kites—this incurs an average 3.5x increase in the costs of those parts. Replacements for the discontinued carbon parts may never be found.
Fiberglass and Carbon order finally arrived this morning. On first appraisal it appears that 5mm carbon rod may be the only substitute for the Whirlwind, R7, and Wildcard - it's already been tested in the Carbon Whirlwind and a Carbon Wildcard. It will also work on the R7. However, they will be quite expensive thanks to a huge rise in the cost of stock from the manufacturer. For fiberglass-sparred versions of those three, 6mm fiberglass tube could be used, but to do so the three kites will need to be scaled down a certain percentage (as yet unknown) in overall size to maintain the right level of rigidity. The Trooper, at this point in time, may or may not require scaling down, pending tests using alternative parts in the wing leading edges and the spine.
A Whirlwind, a Wildcard and an R7 have been given new frames and the former two's are pretty much settled—there just aren't that many alternative parts to choose from. The R7's new wing spars are as yet unconfirmed, as there are several more yet to be tested.
The Trooper, unfortunately, was hopeless in admittedly a too-horrendous wind with 5.5 carbon (too stiff) and 6mm fiberglass rods (too heavy), and may well require or scaling down (or up, but preferably down, since they can pull so hard in strong wind).
UPDATE 4 August
The fiberglass tube used for spines in the Whirlwind and Wildcard is due to be discontinued, and on the most recent test flights the test kites still had their old original spines. I meant to replace them with an available size of fiberglass tube, which is considerably heavier. But after several really great flights in a perfect testing wind (gusty, but dropping in late afternoon), I realized that I could just substitute 5mm carbon rod which is almost the same weight as the old stock spines - weighing roughly the same as the original wood spines. These have now been made, but they are not yet tested.

The R7 was flown for the first time with its 4th set of new carbon rod wing spars; no problems there. A new spine has since been fitted and is ready for testing at the next opportunity.

The R4's center spine needs replacing, too. If it has to be carbon, it will affect the price along with the others.

There is still plenty of testing to be done. The biggest holdup is the local weather. In the last four months the lightest wind I measured was 16mph, which is no good for testing deltas, and the gusts were well above that. These winds are also very turbulent, and it changes direction wildly by the second.

The old Trooper actually flew for once, which was a relief, but there are several more parts yet to try, including some new-style fiberglass called Pullbraided Vinylester. This may prove to be good in all the test kites, but I have yet to order some, because I have not been able to get the manufacturer to tell me how it compares to other materials in stiffness. Although it costs more than 5mm carbon rod, I will buy some with my next order. Fiberglass spars in deltas make smoother flyers. They're less snappy compared with carbon spars, though the rod I've been using in the latest round of testing is pretty nice to work with, and certainly the new kites have flown well. Rod is also more durable than thin walled tubing. So, the preliminary rounds of testing are nearly finished, and I have zeroed in on a few good frame combinations. The next phase will be to repeat at least some of the tests with this new fiberglass, if it looks in the least bit promising.

The R4, Little Bear, and the big Clippers are not affected by the fiberglass and carbon changes.
Click here: Link to customer's photos of one of the first new Whirlwinds in flight.

"Less is more."  Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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Wind speeds: external links to up-to-the-minute local wind forecasts
UK, France and Germany, for nearby air fields: XC Weather UK | Worldwide, and able to use data from nearby local weather stations: Weather Underground ("classic version")


With our emphasis on quality, rather than quantity, and strictly limited production, it is recommended that orders be placed early to avoid disappointment
· Lead time for kites can be short (2 to 5 weeks), but it's often longer (6 to 12 weeks or more), depending on the number and sizes of kites already on order, plus a chaos factor. Since the situation can change over the course of a single day, lead time is by-and-large unpredictable.
· We are not a shop.
· Most customers can pay on-line using PayPal.
· We make kites only after receipt of payment; not in response to telephone requests alone.
· Limit: two kites per order.
· We do not do free repairs or supply free replacement parts, and we don't re-build kites made by other people even if it is claimed they were made by us—worn out, UV damaged, rotted, oxidized, shredded, severely stretched or otherwise mis-shapen kites cannot be repaired.

North America and Europe

For local or on-line stockists of factory-made XFS Deltas, Little Bears, Whirlwinds and Troopers please contact: (e-mail link) Into the Wind
(web link) Into the Wind
Into the Wind
1408 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302
tel: +1 (303) 449-5356

click here for page 23 of Into the Wind's 2009 catalog
Polite notice: please do not try to contact me at Into the Wind - I am in Wales, UK, and will not get the message

VAT reg no: (GB) 648 4938 86
Petroglyph at Canyon de Chelly Near Chinle, in the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, it is possible to walk down to the floor of Canyon de Chelly and see White House Ruin magnificently set into a recess in the 600 foot high canyon wall. Inscribed by chipping through the dark patina of rock varnish in the de Chelly sandstone just below the main cliff dwelling is this petroglyph, clearly depicting someone assisting in a long launch of a delta kite. (; wink...)

©1998-2015 Dan Leigh, 54 Osborne Road, Pontypool, Gwent, Wales, UK NP4 6LX
Labelled with ICRA