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Issue 2 (May 1998): The Arch Project

project kite making arch kite plan akagn

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#1 Terry Sansom

Terry Sansom


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Posted 01 May 1998 - 04:02 AM

Here is your chance to have one or more of your kites entered in this year’s AKA ( The American Kitefliers Association ) national kite making competition. We are the “rec.kite makers”; a group formed from the newsgroup “rec.kite." Our goal is to build a large arch and enter it in the cooperative kite category. We will accept all kites made from the following plan but only those kites made by AKA members will be flown during the competition. Afterwards all of the kites will be donated to AKA for their auction.

All you need to do is make as many sails as you want from the following plan. Then e-mail me at SanTsom (at) aol (dot ) com so I can send you the snail mail address of one of the kite makers who will assemble the arch. You do not need to send the spars, flying line or tail. The assemblers will sew the sails to the flying line and install the tails and spars. They will also transport their section to Ocean Shores, Washington. To cover the expense of the flying line and the tails, you will need to send 25 cents (US) per kite.

We already have dozens of kite makers working on this project. Some have years of experience while for others this will be their first kite.
Sounds like something you would like to join? E-mail me at SanTsom (at) aol (dot ) com so I can add you to my mailing list.

Tom Arbster of Kinetic Kites ( Home Page for Kinetic Kites ) is sponsoring “The Arch Project”. He has agreed to supply the spars for over 400 kites! You can see Tom at most region 8-kite festivals and at his web site. While you are there, be sure to thank him for his support. Buy a kite too!

The “rec.kite” arch is based after John Murray's AKS (The Australian Kiteflyers Society) arch plan ( Kite Arch Plan ). Ours is bigger and more of the sail is above the cross line (22 1/2%). In this ribbon style arch, the flying line is used as the cross spar. This arch will fly in winds from 8mph to 30mph, with or without tails.

Terri Hudnall, who somehow managed to make sense from my rough sketches, made the drawings. Thanks Terri!

Attached File  arch5.gif   6.07KB   18 downloads Attached File  Tailpket_small.jpg   1.6KB   16 downloads

The following directions are for the sail only. For complete instruction for making an arch for yourself, see The AKS site.


Sail(s)- For durability and uniform flight characteristic use 3/4 ripstop nylon or 1/2 oz. polyester.

One yard of fabric can make three sails.

Spar pockets- Each sail will need two 3/4” x 3”, 3 oz. Dacron strips.

Tail loop- Each sail will need one 3 1/2”, 200# Dacron or similar (in diameter) line.


Sail- Make one template according to the dimension in the drawing. This will be the finished sail size after hemming. I used 22”x 28” white poster board. Take this template and trace it out on a second poster board. Now draw and cut a parallel line 3/8” out all the way around the tracing. This will be the template that you will use to hot cut the fabric. After you cut out the sail(s), place the first template in the center of the sail. You should see 3/8” of fabric all the way around the template. With a fabric pencil trace out the template. This is where you will fold the fabric for hemming. After sewing the hem, trim off the excess fabric at the corners.

Spar pocket- Hot cut two-3/4” x 3” strips for each sail. Use 3 oz. Dacron. Make a mark at 1 5/8”. Fold the strip at this mark. One half of the folded strip should be 1/4” longer. Sew the pockets on the back of the sail as shown in the drawings. Position the pockets carefully, making sure the open end is towards the middle of the sail. Be sure you sew close to the fold and lock your stitches.

Loop for tail- Sew both ends 1/2” up from the bottom spar pocket. Place the line on top of the spar
pocket as shown in the drawings.

Quality and Graphics

All kites made to the plan will be accepted. You can make them in one or more colors. Or you can try appliqué. For an excellent tutorial on appliqué see Kai's Kite Site . This is easier than it looks. It takes more time and fabric but the results are well worth it. I used this method on one of my Tumble Weeds.


Make as many as you want and send them in as soon as you can. The deadline for sending in your sails is September 1, 1998.

I will be posting pictures of the sails as they come in so check back often and watch the arch grow!

Terry Sansom

Let me know what you think about my page. Send mail to SanTsom (at) aol (dot ) com.

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