Authors: Ed Grauel
Date Submitted: May 31, 2001
Article Type: Journal

Does the diameter and weight of a center mast influence the way a kite flies and, if so, what weight and diameter should be used?

To determine the validity of these questions, four dowels for use as masts were cut 30 1/4 inches long, in diameters of 1/8 inch, 3/16, 1/4 and 5/16, for use on a standard 64 inch wide delta wing Valkerie. Three measurements for each of the four masts were taken when the kite was in the air: l. minimum wind speed required to lift the kite, 2. maximum wind tolerance and 3. normal angle of elevation—to determine the lift to drag ratio.

The quarter inch mast turned out to be significantly better than the other diameters for maximum wind tolerance—25 miles per hour, as compared to 12mph for the 1/8th inch mast, 18mph for the 3/16th and 20mph for the 5/16 dowel. However, minimum wind requirements and lift-drag ratios varied only slightly within limits of error for each of the other diameters. Thus, for an on-the-wind type of kite with a keel, such as the Valkerie, the selection of a right-weight dowel for use as a center mast can make a substantial difference in the maximum wind a kite will take before it loops, dives or become erratic.

PDF Link: Journal Issue