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The sled kite is a kite famed for its simplicity of construction and ability to fly. In fact this kite is so simple it has usurped the traditional diamond kite as the ideal beginner's kite. With a plastic bag, tape and a few sticks, this kite can be ready to fly in two minutes.

Materials

  • A polythene bag.
  • Two thin sticks.
  • Reasonably light line.
You'll also need:

Construction details

  1. Notice I didn't give dimensions for the materials. That's because this kite can easily be scaled to size of your bags and sticks. Pick a unit size so that the sticks are at least 3 units long and the bag is at least 3 units x 4 units. Once you have decided on a size, trim the bag and sticks to the proper size if necessary.
  2. Now lay the bag so that its wide side is perpendicular to you (landscape style).
  3. Visualise the plastic as a grid 4 units by 3 units, with (0,0) at the top left corner, (4,0) at the top right corner, (0,3) at the bottom left corner, and (4,3) at the bottom right corner. Now mark (1,0), (3,0), (0,1), (4,1), (1,3), and (3,3). It should look like this:
    __________________________
    |     |            |      |
    |                         |
    |_                       _|
    |                         |
    |                         |
    |                         |
    |                         |
    |                         |
    |_____|____________|______|
    
    With the _ and | representing marks.
  4. With the ruler and marker, and using the marks as a guide, draw lines forming a hexagon. The plastic should now look like:
    __________________________
    |     /            \     |
    |   /                \   |
    | /                    \ |
    |\                      /|
    | \                    / |
    |  \                  /  |
    |   \                /   |
    |    \              /    |
    |_____\____________/_____|
    
    Well sort of. You get the idea.
  5. Cut the shape out.
  6. Place the sticks along the (1,0) to (1,3) line (the vertical line just beside the cuts). Making sure the stick is facing away from you, tape it on each end to the plastic. Repeat on the other side. It should now look roughly like this:
           _____________
          /|           |\     
        /  |           |  \   
      /    |           |    \ 
     \     |           |     /
      \    |           |    / 
       \   |           |   /  
        \  |           |  /   
         \ |           | /    
          \|___________|/
    
  7. Cut a string 18 units long and tie each end to the rods at the point where the wing is the thickest.
  8. Tape the string along the wings. Assuming that = denotes tape covering the string and wing, and % is a knot, it would look something like this:
              _____________
             /|           |\     
           /  |           |  \   
         /    |           |    \ 
       /\=====%           %=====/  
       | \    |           |    / \
       |  \   |           |   /   \
       \   \  |           |  /     |
        |   \ |           | /     /
        |    \|___________|/     /
         \                    __/  
          |                  |
           \____        ____/
                \______/
    
  9. Tie the flying line to the middle of the bridle, and presto! You're ready to fly.

Flying

Pretty easy to fly. This kite has a fair pull: not quite as strong as the box kite, but definitely stronger then the rogallo kite. This kite should be easy to launch.

Alterations

The most obvious modification to this kite is scale. For my construction method, it is assumed that your kite isn't much bigger then a standard grocery bag. If you make this kite much bigger, then a few alterations are necessary. First, you should add extra reinforcement: Place a third stick halfway in between the two current ones and similarly reinforce it with tape. You'll also need to add vents. Cut a hole in the kite near the bottom of the kite, near the centre. The total area of the vent should be about 1 - 2 square units. This kite is pretty forgiving, so it makes a great kite to experiment with. Have fun!