Issue 6: BORK – Building

Active Bridle on BoT

I actually thought it was already going out with it on, but Tim informs me that it’s not yet. Apparently, it’s only being going on kites for people that particularly wanted it.

I think it is planned for the future, though. A

Illusion Trick Line

Following recent threads on various trick/cheat & general anti snag lines, I thought I would have a go at the one suggested by posters to prevent bridles catching on the spine. This is a potential snag area on the illusion due to it’s long turbo bridle and short spine. So following the instructions I attached a short length of line from the middle of the inhaul to the middle of the upper outhaul. This has sufficient slack when all three legs are taut so as not to interfere with normal operation. On this kite it can be relatively easy to catch the spine when over rotating a pancake then following up with a 180 or more as the spine will rotate into the bridle then catch. I tried out the mod. yesterday and only got one snag (due to lack of concentration more than anything), with no perceptible loss of performance or interference from the extra line. Anyway back to the main item, whist I was adding this line I thought I would also try a trick line config.. Yes I know most advice is against it, even my own, but if you don’t try you don’t know. So I got a length of line and formed a loop in one end and placed over the nock on the wing tip, then threaded it through the sail clip on the end of the inner stand off. Bringing the line back on itself to around half way back to the wing tip again, I tied it off on itself with a slip knot. (The slack is to accommodate the repositioning of the stand-off.) This has two advantages imo, 1. the line does not hinder back flip moves (tested O.K.) and in fact will help to guide the lines to the deepest part of the sail when flipped. 2. The line is in the plain of the sail not the plain of the frame, this, again imo, allows the line to form a two dimensional shape rather than three (Leading edge, trailing edge and trick line), therefore less snaggable ‘area’. Now I’m sure that someone has tried this so I’m not claiming it’s a wonder cure but if you’re having trouble with wing wraps it’s worth a try, you will still get them but you will defiantly be able to undo them without walking to the kite. Another mod. which I’ve thought off but not tried yet is, as it is the wing tip tensioning cord knot that causes most trouble to wraps, loose the knot and replace by sewing the cord together where the knot was. Do this and you then don’t have to read the drivel above, oh s**t too late.

Carl M.


I have done some experimenting with various methods of preventing long bridle lines from wrapping the short(ish) tail of the Tohuwabohu and I thought I’d share my experiences.

Initially I tried a conventional trick/cheat/anti-foul line that ran from wing tip to spine to wing tip and confirmed that rotating back flip performance was severely degraded, so I removed it and flew the kite for several months without. I don’t mind, (even welcome) the occasional wing wrap, since I enjoy the “Twisted Sister” / 540 recoveries, but the tail wraps are a challenge to recover from.

When Andy Wardley posted his idea for the Active Trick Line (TM) as found on the Outer Space, I had an idea which has worked out very well indeed and should be of benefit to any kite that has quad (or more) stand offs.

I took about 1 meter of thin, (about 1.5mm) easily stretched bungie cord and tied a small loop in each end. This is passed through the velcro spine closure and the loops are slid over the out board stand off fittings next to the sail. Very little tension is applied to the bungie cord to prevent any strain on the stand off clips or sail.

The line easily deflects during backflip tricks to allow the kite to rotate and prevents (or releases) any tendency for the bridle lines to wrap the tail. I still get to enjoy my beloved Twisted Sisters and now the Toh-Jam is the most snag free / recoverable kite I have flown.

Thanks Andy for another great innovation! Gotta fly!



I have the active trick line on mine and it works well.

The way I got the additional knot out of the way is to pull (hard) in order to slide it (the knot and tail) round to the leading edge pocket. You’ll find there is enough room between the rod and the pocket to poke the tail inside. Mine is last years model but I assume the tip arrangement is the same on the latest ones.

Regards Baz

Screamer to add to a foil

Hi folks. In some countries kiteflyers are attaching a bow to their single liners. The rope of this bow is in fact a ribbon held into tension by the bow. The wind induces vibrations in this ribbon. This might be a possibility. Try using tape from an old cassette (small 1/8 inch from audio cassette or wider tape from video cassette). Play with tension to change the frequency. Play with the length also. Use multiple bows to produce multiple notes. Just ideas.

Wind or no wind, fly for fun

Jean (Johnny) Lemire

Active Bridle Web Page(s)

I’m pleased to announce (at last) that the first of 3 pages on the Active Bridle is now reading and waiting for you at my web site:

I have another document which describes the construction of the bridle. This is about 90% finished and is lacking a few diagrams. The third document will contain tables of measurements for different kites. These two are still likely to be a few weeks away from completion owing to some other kite flying committments over the next week or so (e.g. Euro Cup). Not to mention *REAL* work…

You’ll also find the beginning of a new section on Freestyle Flying. I’ve formulated a set of rules and guidelines based around the Freestyle competitions we’ve been running and these are also available from the same site for your perusal.

All these pages are new and haven’t yet got all the pretty headers, home links and stuff, so please bear with me. The whole site will be changing one of these days (it’s been in progress for the last year!) so I haven’t gone to too much trouble to fit the new stuff into the old format.

I welcome all and any comments on the Active Bridle but please be aware that all kiting-related emails may get filtered out into a separate mailbox until I’ve got time to trawl through them. So don’t expect an immediate response!

Questions, construction hints and measurements can be fielded here and hopefully Richard B or Dave L or one of the other Active Bridle Guinea Pigs may be able to answer.

In the mean time….ENJOY! A

Ripstop Painting

Hi any kite builder, Does anybody of you knows a way to paint drawings on a white (or light coloured) ripstop ? I have tried several paints in spray but the problem is that the colour is only visible by reflexion and not by transmission i.e. my drawing is not visible anymore when my kite is flying and the sun (at least the light …) passing through ! With a permanent marker, it is better but I cannot make drawings with shades and interleaving colours … If any of you have experienced something (easyly available for a “non-pro”) and that stands water, I would be glad to know it ! Thanks

Design Master is relatively easy to use, but extreme care needs to be taken. Breathing mask, goves, eye protection should all be worn. The spray has the potential to defat your skin if you get exposed to it when solvent. shows a quadline King of Diamonds I made using DM. No appreciable reduction in strength of the fabric, but the templates I made to do the spraying took ages to get organised. Since then I’ve also made several butterfiles, using either one or several colours. I have found that 1 colour actually works better when viewed from a distance.



I thought I’d better reply to this. Design Master is easy to use tho rather toxic and should be used outside and with a painting box or shed for the best results but there are a lot of easier ways to go. I was the editor of Airborne Art News. We (the AKA art committee) had to discontinue it because of costs to print and mail it. We were simply going in the red. But acid dyes are very easy to use. I’m an artist and I use them as I would watercolors,meaning, I rarely use resists. But most people are very comfortable with resists (substances used to control the spread of color) and then it’s as simple as a coloring book. Dharma is one of the best sources for acid dyes. But there are several sources. I won’t go into the technique. It’s just too long for a rec.kites post. But I will be glad to share it with anyone who wants to know how. I like acid dyes because they are nontoxic, light resistant, transluscent and show up well in the sky. I had one garden sculpture piece, useing acid-dyed/painted ripstop, in my backyard for over a year and I didn’t see any fading. The only drawback is that you need to steam set it in a pressure cooker. I hesitated for a long while before I did it, for that reason. There is a small shrinkage factor, that’s about it. It’s really easy. There is also a new fabric paint out that I really like. I’ve used it primarily on borders of kites. It has wonderful metallics. It’s not as transluscent but absolutely wonderful for special effects. I’ll be glad to tell anyone where to get it and some of my experiments. I’m experimenting all the time. Not that, as of this week, I’m not the chairman of the AKA art committee anymore, I hope to have more time to do some of the work that I have sketched out. I hope this didn’t bore too many of you. I know that sports kites are the primary interest on rec.kites. I just couldn’t resist answering. I don’t have much time to read rec.kites and I have a feeling that I’m not getting all of what is written. But I think it’s a great group.



Woops, I forgot something important. I had gone off-line and realized that I couldn’t leave this out. There are several people who use acid dyes as part of their technique, besides me and they must have credit. We all use it a bit differently. Anne Sloboda got us all started. She uses it to silk screen her kite sails. Robert Trepanier uses, in a painterly way (without use of resist) for his people. Dawn Williams uses it in combination with other techniques but I think she now prefers a marker that is a great painting tool but has long-term problems with light resistance. (kites aren’t exposed long-term) so you might want to try that. They are hard to buy now. Maybe Dawn can tell you more about them. Jennifer Snyder and her husband use acid dyes like silk painters (with resist). I use it in kites that may also incorporate flower petals, silk, papers, trapunto and some other stuff. We all mix it a little different, steamset it a little different and use it in different ways. Let me know if any of ya’ll are interested. Gosh, when I do finally say something in this group, I may have overdone it. 🙂



If I could be forgiven for following up on my own post, Janene did send me some further thoughts on this thread and has graciously consented to my reproducing them here as they may be of some use to others:

—- begin —-

Hi Michael, So what would be of help to you? There are so many techniques that can be done to decorate a sail, make a blemish not a negative but a decoration. There are lots of ways to add decoration to a fighter. Do you want me to give some suggestion? For example, for a blemish, such as a bridle line bleed, you could use a metallic paint that works very well on ripstop, paint it on both sides(because it’s not really transluscent) and work it into a design – an abstract, part of a pattern of lines that could surround it, you could darken it and lighten out into even analogous (next to each other on the color wheel) colors. You couldn’t dye it unless you could take the sail out of all of the spars because it would have to be steamed and that would cause a slight shrinkage. Well, actually that’s not right. I had a 16’delta that I made that just said nothing to me. So I made two 3’or so wide eyes by painting the dye with acid dyes, appliquéing them to my sail and cutting it out from the back, just like any applique process. Then I got a small rip in it from some bush in the desert. So, I took a scrap of ripstop from some things that I had left over from another piece, added heat and bond lite to the back and ironed a ‘beauty spot’ my new kite person head. (I also added earrings with windchimes but that’s another story. I love to fly it. It sounds like a herd of Swiss cows in the sky. That’s just 2 ways that are easy that I’ve used on one kite. Dharma is one of the best suppliers of acid dyes and metallic paints and the stuff to use with it. If you want to try painting (or using the same with a woodblock or a stamp +++) I’ll be glad to guide you through it. If you want to order some colors from Dharma to experiment with (just get a few), you will need to mix them in denatured alcohol. You will also need some Santhropol, a stopflow, some brushes (I use white synthetic bristle brushes for watercolors), a stretching frame (stretcher bars), some thumb tacks, newsprint or unbleached muslin and some little things around any house plus a canning kettle. The metallic paints are made by Lumiere and are in the Dharma catalog. Their 800# is 542-5227 and their web site is < You could decorate fighter sails with tissue paper and fuse it to the ripstop, fuse lots of things or do the edges with the Lumiere paints. They don’t even have to be steam set and there is no difference in the feel of the ripstop. It’s a bit uncanny. Then there are studio design markers and prismocolor markers. Neither a wonderfully light proff but easy to redo whenever you need it. Prismocolor markers are at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and lots of art stores. Think about this and let me know how I can help. 🙂


— end —

Thanks, Janene!

Rip in sail – help!

Hi, Can anyone tell me the best way to repair a ripped kite sail ?

I’ve a Jam Session (the Icarex sail version). One side of the top spar came out and made a horizontal rip in one pane, maybe 4 inches across.

I should have checked the kite over more carefully before launch, as I guess the spar wasn’t in properly…

Should it be stitched or is tape a better option, if so, what type ? Hope it can be repaired as I can’t afford to replace either the kite (or even the sail!!)

Thanks in advance



The easiest way to repair sails is with 3M Clear Plastic Tape. Available from most hardware and automotive stores. No colored tape… Sails are translucent (light comes through) so any colored material only makes a very visible patch which will be the only thing you see… Clear Plastic Tape was originally designed to repair auto seats. Use the 1 1/2 inch roll… Round the edges with scissors… rub it inot the sail (on a hard surface) It has great adhesive… does not yellow or harden… nor crack… I have 15 year old patches that are still holding great and looking invisible still. In 20 years, i have heard of only one person with a bad experience with CPT… and i really doubt that the material was to blame.

Try it … you’ll like it… aoxo


Good advice, it works. But there is also a product known generally as rip-stop-tape, usually two inches wide in rolls, with a pressure sensitive adhesive back, and on a release paper. Most Kite Shops carry it and will sell it by the foot. It generally comes in two weights that approximate 1/2 and 3/4 oz. per yard. The lighter weight “white” material is almost transparent from any distance on colored nylon or polyester ripstop. (I think it actually was originally designed to apply insignia on boat sails.) It also comes in a range of colors but not always perfect matches for all kite fabric colors, more limited.

To use this stuff on a kite rip, apply equal sized pieces to both front and back of the sail, and burnish it down with lots of pressure with the back of a fingernail or other hard, rounded instrument. A “burnishing bone”, available from an art supply store and used for burnishing edges and blending corners on beveled picture matts, works really well. If you don’t want to buy one or can’y find a local source I bet that any local framing shop would loan the use of one in-house just to witness the repair of your kite! 🙂

After burnishing it down it’s almost impossible to remove after a day or so.

One time I had a rip in the sail of a Team Hawaiian on one side of the sail (long time ago) and applied ripstop tape to both the damaged and the undamaged sides. Blended and balanced so well that it was never visable from the ground as a repair and is still solid after at least 8 years!

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Michael L. Eason

How to join to stunt kites together

I have two Go fly a Kite (model Mini-edge 11260) stunt kites. They came without instruction, and I am trying to figure out the best way to link them together in a stack. Any suggestions?

Short version: Very carefully.

Longer version: You will need 5 lines of exactly the same length. Use a stack line every place the bridle touches the kite. The bridle of the rear kite may remain in place, but it is best to remove it if the pair will always be flown together.

Length of the lines is not critical. About the length of the leading edge is about right. What is critical is that they are all the same length. Most builders of stacks stretch their lines and compare them for length before installing them in a stack..

Don’t use anything for stack lines that you wouldn’t use for flying line. In other words, use Spectra (or some other brand of Allied Fiber polyethylene) line.

What I do on my Spinoff/Laser combination, I removed the bridle from the Spinoff, which flys in back. I put knotted loops of equal length (stretched & compared) on the Spinoff, and re-attached the bridle to those knotted loops.

The Laser (3/4 size Spinoff) is dedicated as a lead kite in the pair, and has the 5 stack lines Lark’s Headed to itself. On the Spinoff, the bridle can be simply pushed back on the knotted loops. the stack lines Lark’s Headed on, and the pair is ready to go.

Hope this helps.

good heavens

gary engvall

Help with kite building

Could anyone direct me toward sites that offer information on getting started at this task.

Looking at supplies needed, best places to buy from, how to get plans for different types of kites, etc., etc.


Check out our web page spyguy…. Be sure to check out the hot deals page for weekly specials on fabric, framework, fittings, and line….. –Steve, Kite Studio


spyguy, Hang-em High Fabrics here, we have a complete line of building supples, check out are on-line catalog at: Good luck! Tom Marvin

Bettencourt Ram Air

Hi rec.kiters, I’ve been reading the postings of the past couple days with some interest. I certainly can’t add more insight to the issue of kite design, innovation, copy kiting, etc. than has been discussed here. I think the subject was covered quite well. I would like to give you hobbiest’s a gift – Ram Air. Go to my site and read about it. Stick it on your “home built” kite. Enjoy. Fly proud. Fly free. If, however, you don’t build kites but want some awesome equipment to fly, you might want to purchase a kite featuring Ram Air – currently available commercially ONLY from PBSK – Commerical inquiries have already begun and are encouraged. If you build kites commercially and are interested in using Ram Air on your designs, please email me. Thank you. Master the Wind,

Peter Betancourt


Well Peter, i think you finally did it, this does in fact look like a nice innovation. Congratulations. We’ll let you know what effect it has on our own experiments. Nicely done. . . . dean jordan


Whats is what you call “polyester boning ” (the word that puzzle me is “boning”)? Hi Jean, Boning is a material used in corsets, swimsuits and other types of lingerie. It has been used successfully in the garment industry and comes in a variety of colors, sizes, weights and fabric content. Hope this helps. Oh, FYI, didn’t ya notice the opening page Ram Air graphic????? 😉 Hint Hint Master the Wind, Peter


Its certainly very interesting Peter, is the construction the same for all the versions of the warrior including the ultra light?



The construction is the same for all of my kites-standard, ul or vented. Ram Air adds a mere 2 grams of additional weight to the kite which is more than compensated by the improvement in performance. Allow me to emphasize, Ram Air does not change inherent flight characteristics of ANY given design. What it does do is optimize the air foil, enhancing lift and tracking to name just two factors significantly improved by its’ use. Hope this answers your question. Thanks! Master the Wind, Peter Betancourt PBSK-Peter Betancourt Sport Kites

Nasa Parawing Bridle

It takes some getting used to, but you only need very small steering commands with the ENW: 2 – inches is enough to make it spin. If you steer to much it will always collapse, I decided not to design that out, cause it’s a good safety if things get to rough… Hi Peter, I just finished a 2.7sq.m. version, the largest I could make from the fabric at hand and it was just sitting around for the last few days as winds were a little too strong(measured in excess of 200kph in places over 3 days last week) It had a little tip collapse but I quickly realised that it was just my steering that was at fault and not the kite. Though flying it as a quad got rid of this particular problem too, since you are not pulling the top lines at all.

I still have one small problem and that is the if you pull brakes a little and it starts going in reverse it locks in that direction of movement until it stops/hits the ground/collapses/or I pump ot vigourously, which does not really help either because it just goes backwards faster if I pump it sometimes. Best was to give it slack and one hard pump so it stalls a little first. I’d like to tune this out though. It also seems that the bottom/brakes are very sensitive to the slightest response, at the moment the are hanging almost slack compared to the toplines. Any suggestions… if it was any other foil I’d know where to start…. I have tried opening out the nose a little by making A1 longer(only 5mm or so) and it worked relatively well especially on recovering from fullbrake in quad-mode.

Brilliant little foil though… at one stage I was helping a friend anchor my Sputnik4, just trying to hold down the kite while flying the NPW…. no such luck, this little devil decided to take the scenic route with me.. 😉 .. a little bit annoying how it cannot be parked on the ground… even nose down….. I did however sew an extra tab/loop in the nose which with the help of a stake/screwdriver parks it very successfully.


Hoi If you got the bridle set up right ( dimentions are very sensitive ) then adjust the larkshead so, that the kite just doesn’t fly backwards. It should not collapse anymore, unless you steer to much. It takes some getting used to, but you only need very small steering commands with the ENW: 2 – inches is enough to make it spin. If you steer to much it will always collapse, I decided not to design that out, cause it’s a good safety if things get to rough… Regards, Peter Peter de Jong <pdj@xs4all.nlA&F Custom Kites Werkhoven NL For kitebuilding tips: <


Thanks form the tips, i was pulling too hard, but the nose still collapses. So, what do you mean with adjusting the larkshead?

You also said you didn’t designed the collapsing out if you pull too hard, but if you have turbulent winds ‘ll that not increase the chance collapsing. Diego


I have little experience flying it as a quad, but I would suggest to try to add the A10 and maybe also the A9 to the brake lines. You get a little more pressure on the brakelines too that way.

I know: it’s a ****** to adjust, it reacts totally different on changing of the bridle than you’d imagined.

Check out the nose: in the first prog I made a mistake due to a different construction of the A1 loop in my production kites. When you use a loop there you should shorten the A1 a bit. You can see if it’s ok by comparing the total lenghts of A1 and A2 INCLUDING loops: they should be the same. The easiest way is to suspend it from the towing ring, and check if the seam where the loop is sewn to the sail at A1 and A2 are at the same height.

Brilliant little foil though… at one stage I was helping a friend anchor my Sputnik4, just trying to hold down the kite while flying the NPW…. no such luck, this little devil decided to take the scenic route with me.. 😉 .. a little bit annoying how it cannot be parked on the ground… even nose down….. I did however sew an extra tab/loop in the nose which with the help of a stake/screwdriver parks it very successfully. Nice Idea: and also be sure to tie the ends of the bridle to the ties in the nose as soon as you detach them from the flying lines…. Regards, Peter


When flying this summer at Hoek van Holland (NL) I met John Larson from England. We discussed the problems with the smaller versions of the NPW5. His analysis was that there should be a change in measurements when then LK becomes smaller then appr. 1.50 meter. Because it gradually will differ in the angles of the parawing and become more and more difficult to gain good wind in the smaller versions. The bigger ones will fly as wished when based on the dimensions in the different plans. He was extensively working on trial and error with the smaller one (L/K1,25). John send me his newly found trimming. If you are interrested I will mail these (when I have put them in Word or so). But all about this: my 1.25 LK does fly very well in hard winds (min. 5 Bf) and is made of pretty heavy fabric (60 gr. or more) and it is a very very good kite! Then, something else: While looking around for the results of the testings by Rogallo (Nasa in the 60’s) I asked the technical university in Delft for a libary-search. They came up with the titels: Rogallo, Francis M. et al Preliminary investigation of a paraglider. Washington, NASA, 1960 NASA TN D-0443 and as a second: Resume of recent parawing research, NASA-TM-X-56747, Jan 01, 1965. Is there someone who knows more about this? Witch one is the right one? Douwe

May be you should put the part where you ask for information about the test results of the NASA parawing as a new questing in de main threat (or how ever you call it). I my self are also intersted. Bye Diego


If you built it according to my plans, you have the main bridle tied to one ring and the brakelines to another. These two are joined with a (approx) 1 foot line with a larksheaded ring in the middle. with this ring you can set the kites behaviour. If it collapses to much shift this ring towards the brake lines, if it flies bakwards shift it towards the main lines. The best setting is if the kite JUST doesn’t fly backwards. Regards, Peter


Thanks Peter, my nasa wing is flying like he should. I didn’t used the lark ring before, didn’t understand the plan 🙁 , but now it is up and flying. Also the other people that did repley to my calls thanks.

I hope to find more of such fine plans on the net. Diego

Aeries Diablo Turbo Bridle

This post is for all of you that have a Diablo in you bag or anyone looking for a great all around kite that will trick with the best of them!

First a little background.

I purchased a Aries Diablo a couple of months ago based on the disigners reputation (Ken McNeil, Air FX, Mystic, K2, K3 etc.) I knew Ken breifly before he sold his business to Shanti. I found him to be a great kite builder and picked up a lot of good info about building from his designs. The Diablo is sold as a full size trick kite capable of all the lastest slack line maneuvers! I found this not to be the case went I flew my kite 🙁

I contacted several Diablo owners and store owners to find out what the problem could be. The answers I got were all different. Some store owners told me they would have never sold me this kite as a trick kite and to play with the bridle, owners either loved it or said you just have to get used to the kite. Then I spoke with Dan Whitney of GWTW kite store, after reading his bio I saw that one of his favorite kites was the Diablo. He said that he could do all the latest tricks with the kite and there must be something wrong with the bridle. With this info I was on a quest to get this kite to perform!

Well I fitted my Diablo with a turbo bridle with measurement taken from my MEFM and boy what a differance!! This kite is surely going to be one of my favorites! It not only tricks well! It will track like its on a rail! I think anyone who has this kite in his/her bag and doesn’t reach for it anymore should fit a turbo on it and rediscover this kite! Also anyone looking for a good deal and a great freestyle / trick kite consider the Diablo, you can get great deals on this kite if you look around.

If you need measurements for the turbo I used just email me I’ll be happy to help! Axelman


I agree with your assessment of the Diablo, but not with your views on a need for rebridling. I have several of them, they will trick at will. Curtiss Mitchell flew them in ’96, and absolutely dusted all comers at most events. I saw him do the most amazing things…

Anyhow, point being, the Aerie Diablo is a neat little machine. Mike Gillard


I don’t doubt that some flyers could trick the Diablo with the stock bridle. It just didn’t feel right to me compared to newer trick kites on the market today. The turbo bridle made the kite easier to fine tune the feel of the kite and enabled me to trick it well. It made a big difference for me. The kite is well behaved and still tracks and stalls well.

I am going to be in Dayton this weekend, I’d love for to try it. I would also like to fly one of your Diablo’s to compare it to the stock bridle I had on my kite. Shanti said the bridle was made correctly on my kite. But I have heard that they made some changes from Ken’s original set up.

I agree its a great Kite! See Ya! Ted

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