Copyrighted 2000 - All Rights Reserved - JEFF MacINNIS

Crumpled Sail Material


   Ever see the shrinking dollar bill trick?   No, not that one, but the one where a fresh note is repeatedly wadded up and straighted.   Eventually the bill appears to shrink to two thirds it's normal size.

What the heck does a parlor trick have to do with fighter kiting?    Besides the fact one can build a great kite for about .66 cents, the wrinkling of MYLAR sail material is our latest installment of "FROM the fat kid's NOTEBOOK".

One of the really cool AH-HAA experiences (paradigm shifts) of fighter kite construction is the results one obtains from experimenting with different sail materials.   Build five like kites but with different sail materials and the kites will fly differently.   Use various MYLAR's and the results will vary also.

I noticed early on that there was more or less a direct correlation between softness/pliability of sail material (MYLAR included) and softness / pliability of kite flight characteristics.   Just plain talkin':   "Soft sail - soft ride".

A little background.   Built a kite once that I test flew at the beach.   Turned out to be a delightful flyer.   It occurred to me the kite would help to beat up opponents near and far and could not wait to take the little bugger to pit! Took my pride and joy to the Ft. Warden Kite Makers Conference and got totally hammered.    Damn!   The kite flew smoothly in clean air but the bumpy, early Spring winds of Port Townsend, Washington showed me a kite gone berserk.   The wiggy' piece of crap bounced to and fro leaving dreams of victory in the dewy muck.   The kite would not track well in a straight line to the horizontal.

The solution appeared with altering the MYLAR sail by wadding up and straightening the material repeatedly.   The technique left the sail material wrinkled and soft.   The effect on flight characteristics kept the nose of the kite on a much more even keel allowing the track to be more manageable in bumpy air.   YES!   SMOOoooooOOTHED it right on out.

Feel the ride baby
the fat kid