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Kite repair

Today, I noticed a small tear in my 9ft Levitation Delta near the top of the kite. The last time I used the kite, it crashed (dived into the ground) so I suppose it could have happened then. It was night time so I didn't notice any damage at the time. Though the kite didn't crash into any bushes, trees or branches etc. It was just grass.

I did a search on this site for kite repairs and there was mention of ripstop or tedlar repair tape. I'm guessing this would be sufficient? Would it be best to apply the tape to one side of the torn ripstop or both sides?


  • First, it might be better not to fly at night when testing a new outfit. In any case flying at night or without a direct line of sight is illegal in some countries. Finally, I suggest applying tape on both sides of the tear after fusing the ripped ends with a soldering iron and then stitching carefully together.

  • Crashing a kite is never a good idea, and as Aeronaut says, flying at night is not really a good thing unless you are very experienced. Even a crash landing on grass should not have produced a tear, so it's much more likely that the kite struck something without your seeing it. It sounds as if we are going to wait even longer now to see your first efforts at KAP. I hope you manage to fix the kite quickly.

  • The kite flying session began in daylight (late afternoon) but ended after sunset just as it was starting to get dark. And I wasn't testing any new outfit. The kite didn't crash into anything (I saw it go down with my own eyes.) And there wasn't anything there for it to crash into. The three piece spreader was found separately from the kite. The three short spars that make up the three piece spreader were lying on the ground separately from each other. So obviously, they came apart when the kite dived into the ground.

    I noticed today that the end of the middle spar was slightly damaged. So I'm thinking that perhaps one of these three spars pierced through the ripstop material of the kite when it crashed.

    Thanks for advice regarding the repairs. Do you have any tips on using a soldering iron on ripstop material? I admit I haven't used one before and I don't really own one.

  • Fusing the tear is a good idea, but not essential. As NZ states, tape on both sides is the way to go.
    I would not let the lack of a soldering iron further delay your flying.
    Rip stop tape is usually used for boat sails. Look for a chandler, or a mail-order marine supply

  • I mentioned applying tape on each side and fusing with a soldering iron. However, if you are not happy with the latter then a lick of varnish along the edges will help to stop the fabric from fraying further. Why not celebrate Christmas with a festive KAP session and post your images here for all to share? You might even spot Santa as I did. By now he should be overhead near you!

  • Paul, thanks for the recommendation of a chandler. I had not heard that word before.
    Aeronaut, good advice on the varnish. I'll see if I have some here.

    And yes, I'd like to take some summer KAP photos here soon. Problem is the wind is really inconsistent at the moment. These days, it tends to blow really strong for a bit and then several minutes later, it will die down into a light, gentle breeze and then go back to really strong and then light again. That same cycle will continue throughout the day.

  • Your wind might be completely different 50, 100 etc. feet above the winds you are watching on the ground.
    Like surfing- timing is part of the deal. If you can get above the ground winds, you may be able to surprise yourself and keep
    it in the air.

  • dragonblade: That must have been some crash by your description. I'm not sure how you achieved that power dive. Usually if the kite starts to dive you let out more line and the kite either recovers or at least comes down more gently. I've flown dozens of different deltas on literally many hundreds of times and never had one do what yours did and certainly not suffer the same fate.
    On the rare occasion that I've needed to make a repair to a kite sail, usually due to wear, I've used the special repair tape sold for the purpose. It works well in my experience.
    Check that spar carefully, as you mentioned it was damaged. Don't try flying with a spar that is suspect or you'll probably end up with another crash, more damage, and the cycle will go on.
    Just a thought, as you seem to be flying in unstable winds - have you tried a tail on your delta? The only one I'd suggest is a fuzzy/fringed tail about 6m (20 feet) long, which makes a big difference to the stability. There are different types sold, of varying effectiveness, and one of the best is probably the one from Premier Kites as it has plenty of fabric to provide drag, which is what you need. Or of course you could make your own.
    I've made several videos showing the difference a fuzzy tail makes. In this one, the tails are from Into The Wind, but like most of their products, these are not currently available.
    It seems almost as if there is a curse on your kite, which started the first time you tried to fly it, but I hope that you get the sail mended, the spar replaced if necessary, and some flying time with a camera attached to the line very soon. Maybe we shall see some results in 2022.

  • Paul, that was exactly my thinking - that it would be more stable at a higher elevation. I chose to fly the Delta recently on one of these inconsistent wind days. I had it well above the tree line but even up there, the wind was very inconsistent. It kept dropping and picking up, dropping and picking up etc. Though I admit that the kite wasn't super high. Maybe I should have had it even higher but it was still at a reasonable elevation.

    NZFlier, it's very rare when I experience dives with my Delta. Ive only had one dive before and that was a very slow, gentle dive - like it was in slow motion. But this dive was considerably faster and hit the ground with more power. Ive heard from others on this forum that the delta design is prone to dives but like I said, I rarely experience them myself. During this kite session, the Levi Delta was behaving very strangely. Usually, it stays in one position in the sky but on this day, it was moving from side to side across the sky like a two line stunt kite. The wind was very strong that day - probably a bit too strong as the kite looked a bit compressed. When it was going from side to side, it would come close to being inverted. At one stage, it became fully inverted and then dived.

    And on the more recent flight session with the inconsistent wind, it was also moving from side to side across the sky a fair bit. And it also became inverted on occasions but didn't dive. There were also times when it stayed reasonably still in one position in the sky but didn't seem quite as stable as previous times.

    I haven't considered a tail before as the Levi Delta is usually very stable but maybe I should consider one now. I'll check that repair tape out too.

    Don't know about any curses on my Levi Delta. Ive flown this kite many times this year and on the vast majority of flight sessions, it performed very well. A very reliable kite that is usually quite stable and tends to stay in one spot in the sky. It's rare when I have issues with it.

  • The rip stop nylon tape on both sides should easily fix the torn Levi kite.... As for the 3 part spreader.... I am not a big fan.... have switched to Dynamic Spreaders on all my Levi deltas.
    Get the camera on the line!

  • dragonblade: "It's rare when I have issues with it." Well, that's not the impression I've had from reading all your posts over the last seven years, and I remember the disaster with the cross-spar before you even got it into the air. But it's good to know that you have now flown it "many" times this year and that it is generally very stable. The question then remains, as others have also asked: When are you going to get your rig in the air and take some photos? I hope you won't keep us waiting too much longer. Good luck with your weather over the holiday period, and maybe we'll see an aerial Christmas view of your neighbourhood.

  • edited December 2021

    Although it is counter-intuitive, when a kite " goes in to distress ", it can sometimes be righted by releasing some line,
    allowing the kite to seek where it would rather be. This can be a little scary, as it is usually accompanied by a bit of
    pilot panic.
    Being able to sometimes release line quickly is the reason I mentioned to you several weeks ago, it is not always beneficial
    to have your line " secured to earth ". Or to a fence. Or to a light pole.

  • Wind Watcher, yes I remember you adopting the dynamic spreader for your Levi Deltas. I haven't had my three piece spreader break yet. Then again, I haven't flown it in too many strong winds.

    And oh I should have clarified. It's a small hole in my kite rather than a simple tear. A very small hole - about a cm or 1.5cm. Would hand stitching still be necessary? All that stitching would do is create a zig zag line across the hole. I'm guessing covering it with tape might be sufficient. As an alternative to varnish, could nail polish be used? There might be some of that around here. Or would varnish for wood be better?

  • edited December 2021

    The three piece is surely better than the previous two piece spreader.
    Quit fussing about the varnish- get the tape, apply, and fly.... if the tape begins to peel off in time, replace it !
    My Mother had a saying, " that'll go over like a lead balloon ". Maybe you have a Special Edition of the Levi:
    the infamous, " Led Zeppelin " !

  • I used varnish, then stitching, to fix a 10cm tear in my ripstop tent and it has held fast in many a gale. Any varnish will do: nail varnish, polyurethane varnish, cellulose varnish, acrylic varnish, boat varnish, French polish varnish, furniture varnish, hair laquer (as varnish), polyvinyl acetate, boiled potato peelings or anything else that comes to hand. If you have none of these then visit the beauty department in your local store (wearing a disguise of course) and ask the supermodel behind the counter for some 'nail polish' followed by 'for my wife'. Then beat a hasty retreat to the man cave and do the kite repair.

    Alternatatively, forget this tiny tear for the time being and go and explore the troposphere with your Levitation Ripped Delta and KAP rig.

  • Paul, a very appropriate saying. I like Led Zeppelin!

    Aeronaut, lol @ the supermodel behind the counter. And yes, the perfect thing to say to score that prized nail polish.

  • edited January 31

    This kite repair tape is a nightmare to work with. The stuff that comes in rolls. It's very messy.
    Ive found an alternative which I think should be easier to manipulate. I'm referring to those peelable patches for ripstop repairs etc.

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