A Sky Reel
Originally published in the Kite Builder's International Journal Volume 1, No. 2  1993

By Denis Denning - Plumville, PA

Greetings from the western foothills of Pennsylvania's Appalachian Mountains and may I remind you all that yes, there is kite life between Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio.

Last Fall I was sitting on top of a hill at Milo Weaver's air strip watching one of my granddaughters fly the "Harper's Ferry Delta"  I had made for her.  April had her kite on a "store bought" plastic spool.  Sipping a 12 oz. "Genny" I was enjoying life to the fullest watching her play with the wind.  The hawks and her delta were soaring on the thermals against a background of beautiful cumulus clouds and one of the deepest blue skies I had ever seen.

She had quite a bit of line out and I noticed that as she was bringing it in the task appeared to be approaching the point of drudgery.  In order to keep her from becoming disenchanted with her flying experience I offered to help wind the kite down.  I gave her a cold coke out of the cooler and we discussed the facts of life, like, all the line you let your kite take out you eventually have to bring back in.  Because April is a smart young thing, a straight "A" student I must brag, the point was easily made. 

I was standing there knowing fully well how grandpa got sucked into such a situation and decided that the answer had to be some sort of sky reel.

After the flying session was over I came home and went through my files pulling catalogs from kite suppliers.  The prices for the type of reel that would do what I had I mind ran anywhere from $40.00 to

$120.00.  Wow!  These reels are probably well worth the money that the suppliers are asking but I could buy a heck of a lot of kite building materials for that amount of money.

I looked through my kite books.  David Pelham's book "Kites" with it's deep sky reel employing a bicycle spindle and meticulously crafted wooden discs and rings blew my mind!  The exploded drawings of the deep sky reel reminded me of the Army Technical Manuals I used when I was an aviation supply officer in Vietnam.  I am anything but an Engineer or Machinist.

Because I am retired I have more time than money so I decided to design  and make my own uncomplicated reel.  Here we go......

A reel this size and design, I feel, would be best used to accommodate line up to about 100#  test. 

The main feature of the design is that it has interchangeable spools.  You can mount the spool that is required by the kite you want to fly and the wind conditions; 30#, 50#, 75#, or 100# line.

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