Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

I have built a couple of rather unusual kites. I might pretend, it was because the originals were just too expensive, or because I could not find kites suitable for the low-wind region I lived in on the regular market. But this would be mere pretexts for building them,  the reality being that understanding how they work and tweaking is simply fun.

Here is a selection of the kites I built, including a reference to the basic plans I used. Some of the plans are from german booklets (Handkerchief booklets). Most of them, however, I adapted from what I still consider the best book on building and flying kites ("Stuntvliegers, het handboek", in Dutch, ISBN 978-9068682502), even though their description of kitesurfing has been overtaken by reality. Unfortunately, the german plan booklets are hard to obtain, and the Dutch book went out of print, making the original plans virtually impossible to get hold of. However, if you write me, I am happy to provide some hints about the measurements and construction of the kites.

This is the kite it all began with. With its 4 lines it loves crazy spins, flying backwards and any trick you can think off.
Unusual features: 4-Line-Steering
Building difficulty: Easy, no 3D seams
Modifications: Light-Wind-Frame (6mm) can be combined with Strong-Wind-Frame.
Width: 248cm
Surface: 1.2 m2
Wind range: 1.5-4bft
Plan: Handkerchief Kiteplan
The Revolution.
PRO 3.11
The lightest-wind delta kite I have ever seen, allegedly an Australian design. It flies stable and very fast, even when other people despairingly run around to keep their kites in the air. Note, for instance, that the edges are made of spinnaker (orange), instead of dacron.
Unusual features: Ultra-light, 5mm frame, rubber band suspension to form the sail profile, sail reinforced with 2mm carbon-fiber rods, central keel very flat an shortened.
Building difficulty: Medium
Modifications: Suspension Line between Wingtips to avoid line-tangling.
Wing span: 200cm
Surface: ca 1.4m2
Wind range: 1-2bft
Plan: Handkerchief Kiteplan
PRO 3.11 kite.
Gizmo 2
A large Delta capable of 3D-tricks.
Unusual features: 3D-trick capable (turtle etc.), built from leftover material only.
Building difficulty: Easy-Medium
Modifications: Suspension line between wingtips to avoid line-tangling, suspension line inside rear edge to reduce flapping.
Wing span: 210cm
Surface: ca 1.5m2
Wind range: 2-4bft
Plan: Stuntvliegers, het handboek
The Gizmo.
Speedwing Pro
A standard kite for stacking and quick tricks, it is simplistic and fast. I had four of them already, when I decided to built the yellow one myself because it had gone out of stock and was no longer built.
Unusual features: Can be stacked, no central keel.
Building difficulty: Easy-Medium
Modifications: None.
Wing span: 120cm
Surface: ca 0.5m2
Wind range: 2-5bft
Plan: Measurements copied from the originals.
My speedwing cascade.
A really fast foil hybrid, this kite gave me a lot of trouble. It needs special conical carbon rods and keeps breaking them. However, adding an extra middle suspension, and using an aluminium rod for the central frame in strong wind solved that.
Unusual features: Hybrid foil with frame in leading edge.
Building difficulty: Medium
Modifications: Increased width and number of compartments, extra suspension in the middle to distribute weight better.
Wing span: 210cm
Surface: ca 1.05m2
Wind range: 2-5bft
Plan: Stuntvliegers, het handboek
Sputnik 4
The largest kite I built to date, this foil is pure power. It was the reason why I built my own harness (see below), and is still my favorite kite for a serious workout. I never found out its maximum wind-resistance, anything above 4bft makes you wonder if you will ever land after a jump.
Unusual features: 2-line steering for large foil.
Building difficulty: Hard, 3D seams, inside reinforcements, around 200 knots to tie and adjust.
Modifications: Increased attack angle at sides to avoid flapping corners.
Wing span: 4.6m
Surface: 5.1m2
Wind range: 1.5bft-??
Plan: Stuntvliegers, het handboek
It is simply a triangle of carbon-fibre rods, the triangle is spanned with spinnaker, suspended using rubber cord. Each corner connects to a triangular "steering-wheel". It can fly in all direction, and spin. However, I never found it to be as much fun as, e.g. the revolution.  Therefore, I never followed up on the small prototype I built after seeing this design on the beach. As the prototype broke when moving, I can only show you a schematic drawing (10m lines).
Unusual features: 3 Lines.
Building difficulty: Very easy.
Modifications: -
Wing span: 82.5cm
Surface: 0.3m2
Wind range: 7-10bft
Plan: Seen on beach.
Schematic drawing of Triangle kite.
Steering Material
Here is some of the gear I built, including a steel steering bar, a seat harness, a banana-shaped harness, and Wrist-Straps.
Plans: Stuntvliegers, het handboek and own designs.