John Maxworthy, Long Island, NY.
Updated: Dec. 28, '96

Here is the long and the short of it. The short of it is the first 2 sections of the above index. These materials can be ordered by mail, (or purchased at your local kite store, if you are fortunate enough to have one) and purchased at a hardware store. The long of it is the last section giving detailed instructions on building the kite. Your choice......

There are a number of common sense guidelines in selecting a kite for use with KAP. You would like the kite to be stable and not move around. The phrase used is " nailed in the sky ". The kite should have a good wind range and be able to be lofted in the mornings when there is typically low wind speeds and later in the day when wind speed increases. You would like the kite to have a high flight angle, meaning a lot less line is put out at a 60 degree angle to the ground compared to a low angle of 25 degrees. You would like a kite that is easy to setup and launch (and to take down again.)

All these considerations finally boils down to having a kite you are comfortable in using and you have confidence in handling. For myself, that is the Rokkaku. Yes, I consider it to have many of the above desired characteristics: compact for transport, quickly assembled , disassembled for repacking, easy on-site adjustments by the amount of bow on the cross spars or tow line position on the bridle for different winds, and could even change the cross spars for higher winds (although I've never done it). But in the end, I am comfortable with the Rok.

To be fair, the images above identify a number of kites used for KAP platforms that would probably perform just as well. Each has some pluses and minuses when compared to the guidelines. A few comments on each:

good for high winds, alot of assembly/ disassembly time involved, can be expensive.
Parafoil / Flowform
always exciting to see one of these collapse when the wind direction changes or dies down, but certainly easy to assembly because of no internal spars and compact to transport.
easy to assemble & launch, can adjust for higher winds with a tail or drogue, would think a fairly large size would be needed for a KAP rig. also has a chance of gliding down if the wind stops, instead of falling like a rock.
Tri D
seems to fit the guidelines, is predictable, will have to try it sometime.
Winged Box
a certain amount of assembly required, but has the wing area for lighter winds and the structure of the box for stability in heavier winds.
Delta Conye
cannot offer an opinion, never flown one.

If you have one of these kites already, try lifting a load the weight of a KAP rig (2-4 lbs) and see how it behaves. If you don't have a kite to start, I have three suggestions.

  1. Visit your local kite store. I have never been in one where the people haven't been knowledgable and willing to help.
  2. Send for kite catalogs and mail order what you need. Check out theKITE FLYERS SITE HOMEPAGE It has kite business homepages. Into The Wind is one mail order house of which I'm familiar and the people are friendly plus very service oriented.
  3. Build your own kite; the last section of these pages gives these instructions and sources for materials.


Lines/ Winders
Don't have to beat this section to death. I use 190 lb. test, braided dacron line with a 400 lb. test fishing swivel on the end of the line and on a winder made by myself. The winder was jig sawed, sanded and clear lacquered from plywood. Why make the winder? No good reason, other than I already had the plywood as scrap pieces.

Why use 190 lb. test line when lifting 3-4 lbs of camera equipment? The actual pull might be 10 - 30 lbs, but a gust of wind could factor this up by what? 5X? 10X? Again, it is what I feel comfortable using.

I don't want to make this complicated but knowing a few knots can make this experience alot easier and give you a warm feeling having the confidence that a specific knot should hold. The bowline, slip, fishermans, and halfhitch are commonly used. There is a WWW page on knots also that can be checked, if these diagrams aren't clear.

Ground Stake(s)
A ground stake(s) is needed if there is nothing to tie down your line where you are flying. Remember, you will be lofting the kite, mounting the camera rig to the line, paying out more line and then possibly use a remote control transmitter to adjust the camera and trip the camera shutter. Having the kite line staked is needed if only to hold the line steady. For a stake, I use the 3/8" dia. metal wire, spiral shafted type sold in the hardware store for $3-4. The intent of it is apparently for leashing a dog. The recommendation seen in catalogs is not to use it in sand; I don't understand why; have always used it at the beach. Regardless, be careful, a stake becoming uprooted and flying loose would be very dangerous.

A pair of leather gloves from the hardware store are more than handy when trying to wrestle down 500 ft. of line with a kite on the other end that was initially adjusted to stay put in the sky.


The following directions are for a specific size ROK. ie. 55" x 66". They can be adjusted as you see fit. The materials can be sourced as described below. The construction is intended to be followed by using the images with few supporting comments. Where an image shows general information, click on the image for another image of the details.

These " required " materials are those needed for a minimum amount of construction time. The sections below also suggest alternative methods (requiring additional work), but would give the kite more of a " store bought look " .

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