Circoflex -- Photos & Responses

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I had a lot of links to photos of various circoflexi on the Internet, but as is typical of most personal sites, they have since disappeared.

Responses from people

The following are responses I have recieved from the network about Circoflex Kites. This makes interesting reading...

You may also like to look at the responses and photos of the results by people to my Mini-Circoflex Varient Plan

Many thanks to all who have replied.

Note:First one is my own response :-) !!!

Anthony Thyssen <anthony@cit.gu.edu.au>, on 15 May 1997, wrote...
I built a 7 meter (circumference) prototype from the english plan and the result was fantastic for a `quicky job'. It took me quite a while to track down sources for fiberglass and the mylar, especially the latter (see hints and tips). But once I had everything, I built the whole thing in under 12 hours work (2 evenings)!

[photo] [photo] [photo] [photo] [photo]

Since then I have made quite a number of circoflexi, with various success. In fact the 7 meter prototype was my best flying circoflex, until recently!

Anthony Thyssen <anthony@cit.gu.edu.au>, on 10 March 1998, wrote...
The lastest circoflex which is 12 meters circumference, removable spar and uniquely a ripstop leading edge. And to celibrate its complete success, I created a page on Circoflex Construction Notes, [photo] describing construction particulars not mentioned in the published circoflex plans.

The first photo at the top of the page, and the one to the right show the new 12 meter circoflex (4 meters accross) side-by-side with the older and smaller 7 meter prototype. Below are other photos of this new circoflex including one on me holding the circoflex above me. Makes me look like a dwarf, which am not :-)

[photo] [photo] [photo] [photo]

Stan <bofh@hellcent.com> on 19 April 1998 wrote (in answer to a question of mine)...
I just sew a button-hole in the spar pocket on mine, which makes for easy enough spar-removal, plus I have my bridle lines attached to small sewn-on loops at the appropriate points, allowing the spar(s) to come out, then the kite can live in a stuff-bag, and the spars (I use 48" lengths held together with little brass ferrules) can live in another bag.

It's easy enough to get the spars in.. just insert, and join the ferrules as you go...I allways leave the tiniest bit of extra room in there, so that once the ENTIRE spar unit is in, you can manage to get the last rod in the last ferrule...

Every once in a while the "train" of spars/ferrules separates upon extraction, but it's quite easy to get them all out. Nothing more than a very minor inconvenience.

Using the loops actually causes no noticible distortion of the leading edge of the kites that I've built. I've made hmm.. 8 circos now, in various sizes, and 6 of them have sewn-on loops to connect the bridle lines to, and ALL of them do quite well.

Also, I've been experimenting with different bridle set-ups, using 8, 10, or 12-points of attachment (depending on the size of the kite) They all seem to work equally well.

I started to get fancy last summer for festival season, and made some circos with up to 52 panels in the sail, playing on different designs for the sail pattern, etc.. Lots of sewing, but the results won awards at 3 different festivals here :)

Stan ...aka bofh@hellcent.com

Denis Godin <dgodin@snet.net> on 9th of June, 1999 wrote...
Hello, my name is Denis Godin. Bristol Ct. USA For my first kite building project I selected a circoflex.

[photo] I thought to myself it looked pretty simple. Never having sewed with a machine in my life, I was not about to try a complex design.

As testimony to your instructions, I submit this photo of me flying my new 12 meter .75oz ripstop the day after I built it. Ring depth is 80cm with 5cm hems for edge leech line and spar pockets. The reason for such large hems was because of apprehension in sewing skills, and hoping that the main spar of 1/4" (6mm) solid fiberglass with aluminum ferrules would be rigid enough. By the way, the project was completed in exactly 6 hours, including two or three beer brakes along the way.

The photo was taken at Brenton point State Park, Newport, Rhode Island. 31st of May 1999.

I hope to try my hand again soon at another kite, however, judging from the compliments I've received, I'll be flying this one for quite a while. Thank you for the enthusiasm and comprehensive coverage of circoflex on your web site.

Best regards, Denis.

Lappies Labuschagne <lappiesl@eloptro.co.za> on 2rd of August, 1999 wrote...
Wow what a kite, the circoflex I built flies like a dream. Every one that saw it want's to buy it. A chain for counter weight works well.

I was quite suprised to find out that it flies in very light winds, the maiden flight was in stronger wind, at one stage I thought I was going to lose it, it looked like a pretzel and then like a figure 8, quite funny.

I managed to get hold of Mylar. So it is back to the building board.

Hi flying, Lappies

Jerry Houk <lappiesl@eloptro.co.za> on 21st of October, 1999 wrote...
I was going to offer you a picture of my circoflex, but I see you already have it on your site. It's the red one with the black and white diamonds on it.

[photo] I also made a carring case for mine, it is two circular pieces of material joined togeather with a 1 1/2" wide strip of the same material half way around. The other half has a zipper in it. Zip it open, insert folded circoflex, and zip it shut.

My circoflex also has a zipper in the front tunnel for easy removal of the spar. This was suggested as an option in the original plans. I hot cut slots through the tunnel in twelve places to attach the bridle lines, but find it hard to remove and insert the spar. The next one will have tabs to tie the bridle lines to.

You have a great looking web page I will have to check back more often.

Later, Jerry Houk

Abelardo Codo er Llopis <acodoner@disca.upv.es> on 3rd November, 1999 wrote...
I'm from Spain. I've started to build circos (7.5) an they fly great. I build my first circo with trash bags but then I found silver mylar. It's sold as thermal blankets. I friend of mine has build another one (10 m) and on halloween we flew them in train. A man came from miles (in Spain beaches are quite long) to see what were those shinning rings in the sky.

Thanks for your help.

Anthony: Actually I believe that would be Polyimide or Kapton (dupont trademark) and not mylar but its is a very simular material, just a lot more wearing than mylar. Good stuff.

John Gospodarek <john.gospodarek@itt.com> on 4th April, 2000 wrote... [photo]
I have built a large circoflex from the plans on the net. It works ok but tends to oscilate as the wind speed rises. My friend built one from the same plans and his is steady in all winds. Any ideas on the problem? I have read your tips but I see nothing on oscillation. Thanks in advance for any info you can pass on.

Anthony: I added some posible problems for oscilation in the circoflex hint and tips page.

Skylines and Bylines <julie@kites.co.nz> on 6th Feburary, 2001 wrote... [photo]
I've just been looking around your site - it's really great - inspiring!

So, I thought I'd send you a pic of my Circoflex - made last year for One Sky One World in October. I hope you like it!

Onwards and Upwards ...

Julie Adams - The Kite Lady - Christchurch, New Zealand

Pau Valls i Pellicer <pau_carme@navegalia.com> on 2rd March, 2001 wrote... [photo]
I attach you two photos of my first circoflex. Is a wonderful kite. I thing circoflex is better than the flat and the box kites. You can see my daughter Julia in a "take off" position. I used two green squares in the top of the kite in order to know what is the top and what is the button when the circoflex is far. I hold a curtain ring weights with a velcro ribs on the rear.

The photos are from Girona (Catalonia) in the north-east of Spain. The wind is called "Tramontana" -a irregular, strong and cool wind- which come from the north.

So, I thought I'd send you a pic of my Circoflex - made last year for One Sky One World in October. I hope you like it!

Pau Valls i Pellicer

Anne & Sam Huston <Sam.Huston@worldnet.att.net> on Sun, 29 Apr 2001 wrote... [photo]
Thank you for all your help and advice

Things are looking up. Excellent stable flight, Good ability to adjust the trailing edge choke on each side independently to keep the 12 o'clock position straight up. Then a wild rodeo session when the wind jacked up to 15-18mph with this thing about 50-60ft off the ground. Wind at picture time was 10-12. The flyer is John Freeman. Good flights the day before in similar wind except for leaning to the right & trouble adjusting previous choke string set up.

A zipper around the leading edge works well to get the spar in. Still need to change the weight system to reduce the stress on the fabric where the individual weights are now. Got to red line flying attempts at some wind level below rodeo time. It was sudden and wild.

Spar is 3/16" solid carbon. I had spar coupling troubles too. 3/16" ID aluminium ferrules were no way strong enough. I glued common 1/4" ID steel ones outside them to get enough strength.

Bridles are longer than the tables I got from you guys. String gathering point is 3/4 R below the center of the ring, and 3/8 R in front of the plane of the spar. I got there by estimating that good flying position is with the spar ring leaning back like 10 degrees from vertical and the flying line angle with horizontal at about 60 degrees. I moved the gathering point down such a flying line angle from the 'normal' 1/2 R below center ∓ 1/4 R in front of spar plane string gathering point. The choke amount 25 inches. Weights total 13 oz. with provision for 20 oz.

Does any of you know of other circoflex experience at this size or larger?
This one is 800 inch (20.5 meters) circumference and 51 inch sail width. I would appreciate talking to anyone else has tried bigger ones.

Sam Huston

Andrew Wells <AndrewWe@AdvantageGroup.co.nz> on Mon, 11 Feb 2002 wrote...
Finally got around to finishing my first Circoflex, following your notes.

6m circumference, using a single 5mm fibreglass spar, ripstop leading edge and 60cm silver mylar.

Couldnt get the 3M tape you suggested, but the local supplier suggested some carpet tape (for laying carpet tiles to concrete) and it is great.

Set bridle height at 75% and 25cm in front and this works fine. Had to add a fair bit of weight (mainly to 5 and 7 oclock) and adjust the leach line but once that was sorted it flies well in a steady breeze.

Thanks again for the notes.

Andrew Wells

Kurt Pedersen <kup@os.dk> on Sat, 21 July 2002 wrote... [photo]
Hello again, Anthony.
Now I've made a really big Circo. 23 meters around, 7 meters Diameter, 1 meter deep.

I used 6mm Excel carbon fiber spars. This wasn't stiff enough or strong enough. A couple of pretzels, and some of the spars were broken or busted. Maybe I'll try putting some 4mm glasfiber rods inside the carbon tubing.

I use brass ferrules, 1.65m spar length and 12 bridlelines in a minicirco setup (bridle point 75% from center).

But it's huge, eh?!

[photo] Later on Mon, 11 Nov 2002...
At long last a follow on the big circo stuff from August/September. I made it fly with dual 6mm Exel carbonfiber spars, but it still is very sensitive to too much wind, especially if gusty.

See also his Mini-Circoflex Mail

Lim Michael <michaellim@malaysia.com> on Sun, 15 Sep 2002 wrote... [photo]
My first reaction when I saw Leong Chee Wan's 10m Circoflex was, Wow! it can fly. And I want to buy it. He gave me your website and voila! I built my own 10m Circo.

Before building the Circo, I read all the hints and tips and other available notes before embarking on the project. I decided to follow your plan with a bit of changes made.

I use 4mm fibreglass spar (1m spar length), china ripstop and aluminium ferrules. As for the ballast weight, i use strips of car balancing leads.

It flies great on its maiden flight without any problems whatsoever. It will roll slightly when theres a gust of wind.

A lot of people was asking where they can buy it!

"Riding the blazing sky", Mike

Felix Wewers <fw@uni.de> on Sun, 14 Sep 2003 wrote... [photo]
Hello there,
a long time ago about September 2001 we had a little email chat about building a Circoflex Kite.

About one year ago I finally finished the Kite, I did a 10m circoflex sparred with 2x3mm carbon fibre and an opening at the bottom.

Yes if you look at the picture there is a black line at the bottom cutting through the blue and violet stripe this is a zipper, allowing it to seperate completely.

I also attached only one piece of ballast, its a fishing lead with about 100g, wich is hung in at the leading edge.

It flys well, but its a little selective with the wind conditions, sidewind is a really nasty thing for this kite.

Anyway thanks for your help, i like this kite.


Daniel <fw@uni.de> on Thu, 27 May 2004 wrote...
I build a circoflex kite and it fly's pretty good..

Its about 10 meters around and 40 to 45 cm wide

If you want to see some pictures you can take a look at my website : http://bananiel.nl/gallery/Circoflex

[photo] [photo] [photo] [photo]

I made some ajustments on the plan :

  1. Made rings on the kite where the wires should be on the leading edge

  2. Made hooks on the wires and connected them to the rings

    I have done this so i can take off the wires and fould the kite to take it somewhere.. If I didnt take the wires off the whole thing would turn into one big knot. and I spend a few hours to fix it again.

  3. made a zipper on the lowest part of the kite

I have done this so i can open the ring and take out the two 5 meter 4 mm think cquad spine's (that i stuck together with a small pipe with the middle part squashed) looks a bit like this :
                pipe   flat   pipe
      spine    |-------\_____/------|    spine
    ===========|        _____       |================
               |-------/     \------|
I like the kite a lot and lots of people came to me on the beach and asked me things like
WTF is that ??
is that a kite ?
how does it work ?
one old man comes up and says : you dont see those much A ROUND here..
I hope you can add my site / pictures / mods to your site so other people can enjoy this kite too...

Greetz Daniel

Paul & Irma King <paulirma@sapo.pt> on Tue, 14 Sept 2004 wrote...
Dear Anthony,
What follows is absolutely true (just jazzed up a bit). Circoflexi can fly in high winds! (The photos are coming)

First Test Flight
12:30 We're crossing the Tagus river with Lisbon behind us heading for the long sandy beaches of Costa da Caparica. In the boot are a little under 12 metres 70 cm wide of spinnaker cloth (very expensive) and wedged between my wife's feet and the boot almost 4x3metre lengths of plastic pipe (very cheap). Behind us in another car are two friends of ours Vladimir and Anne-Marie. I'll be 56 next month and my wife 59 - Madness takes many forms methinks!

14:00 Arrive at the beach.
"It's quite windy" says I.
This phrase will be repeated ad infinitum for the next couple of hours and is going to be my excuse should all go wrong.

14:30 With rods inserted through the velcro openings (great stuff - self adhesive backing) I admire my creation lying there from the top of a dune (see photo 1)
"It's too windy" says I.

15:00 The kite fills but simply rolls down the beech and won't lift off.
"It's too windy" I say.
"It's too bloody big" my wife says.
I'm getting a bit nervous.

15:30 A local resident offers me some helpful advice which we accept - things get worse. I'm more than a little nervous.

16:00 Undo all the changes offered by the local "expert" and start again.
"It's too windy" I say and "It needs more weight on the left".
Vladimir says it just needs more weight and draws a diagram with his foot in the sand to illustrate the point (he's a bio-chemist) but I don't agree and insist on the wind and distribution problems. Vladimir goes for a swin and I go and smoke a cigarette - nervousness has now changed to mild depression and the knots keep untying themselves.

16:30 Vladimir returns with half a brick he has found and promptly attaches it with a bit of string to the weight pocket (by now most of the pre-decimal pennies from my coin collection have fallen out anyway) The brick weighs a ton.
"It's too heavy" I say.
Vladimir pulls on the strings (see photo 2) Moments later the kite lifts off the ground (see photo 3) with Vladimir's brick at 6 o'clock tied to the velcro. I don't believe it.

17:00 I'm beginning to feel better but the brick keeps falling out and is a danger to sunbathers. Vladimir finds a plastic bottle which he half fills with sea water and attaches to the weight pocket. The kite lifts of and stabilizes in the stiff breeze. There follows much jumping up and down and beaming smiles as the circo with Vladimir's bottle clearly visible hanging down flies above us (see photo 4)

17:30 The "girls" keep us supplied with ice-cream, coke, melon and cigarettes (see photo 5). Vladimir is now on cloud nine standing in the middle of the beach with the kite aloft - he asks me if I want a go - for my own bloody kite!

18:00 We head for home. On arrival I weigh the bottle - half a kilo!

The next Day
With Vladimir's bottle substituted for weights, the knot problem solved and another 50 metres of kite string (she flies at a low angle to the ground) the orange and white circo takes off. She's a real beaut!! (photo6)

Vladimir was basically correct in that the weight problem is simply that - a weight problem and not a distribution problem (as you yourself are in fact saying by suggesting concentrating the weight at 6 o'clock) The question of distribution is basically the need to avoid distortion of the cloth which you can see clearly in the photo as the bottle pulls the circle out of shape. The weight therefore has to be spread out and the more the weight the more spread will be needed to avoid distortion

Secondly, heavier kites need more weight to avoid rolling. This increase it seems to me is more than you might think. So if you have rolling problems try a substancial increase in weight before anything else. This will, hopefully, at least stabilise the kite although it might fly at a low angle. You can then gradually decrease the weight until you get a nice balance between stability, total kite weight and angle to the ground.

Thirdly. circoflexes will fly in a stiff breeze - in fact the heavier the kite the more wind you will need. The total weight of my kite (cloth+rods+bridle is two kilos). Vladimir's half kilo weight in fact we later reduced but it did serve to prove a point.

There must be a correlation between

  • Total kite weight
  • Weight in pocket
  • Angle of flight from ground
  • Wind speed(s)
  • Ratio of circumference of leading edge and trailing edge.

You might then be able what pilots (me being one many moons ago) call an aircraft's "flight envelope" in this case i.e. the wind speeds between which YOUR kite (i.e the kite weight and size is fixed by the way you made it) will actually fly with a given "pocket weight" and at a given angle - well something like that!

Happy flying,
Paul King

Nile Carver <nile@ravin.net> on Wed, 05 Jan 2005 wrote... [photo]
Hello Anthony. I was very intrigued with the circoflex design and found the building plans on the net. The fabric I had available was 18 feet of a metallic gold nylon or polyester with actual strands of a gold metal woven into the material. To prevent the metal fibers from shredding out of the main body of the kite I trimmed the edges with a silvery/grey ripstop nylon. It looks very impressive flying in the air but it is difficult to get any good lift and has a very low flying angle. It looks like a gold wedding band when conditions are just right.

Anthony: Wow, a kite using actual gold! Looks fantastic!

Tomas Hecko <tomas.hecko@centrum.cz> on Mon, 24 Oct 2005 wrote... [photo]
Here is a link to photographs of probably the first flight of circoflex kite in Czech Republic. I executed my test flight in Beskydy Mountains (northeast of Czech Republic) yesterday (with my wife and parents :).

Some improvements are probably nedded but - it is flying! I will try to take some photograps also here in Prague, Czech capital, with spectacular panorama of Prague castle.

[photo] We found nice trick how to fetch leech line to mylar body.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Circoflex Flying in Winter.


[photo] [photo]
Bert Maetens <bert.maetens@belgacom.be> on Fri, 29 Feb 2008
Here are pictures of my circoflex (10m), Color black with 20 gold stars.


Anthony's response:- It is a very striking looking circoflex. You should be very proud of your achievements.

Looking at the phtotos you can probably remove the ling between the top and bottom bridle points. With such a long line your circle will probbaly be distorted more into a oval, though I can't tell that from the given photos.

The bridle lines are actually calculated as if there is no line between these two points, though a much shorter ling (10cm or so) can be used instead as a method of adjustment.

Again many thanks to all who have built this kite and responded. Especially those which included any hints and tips they found while building this kite.

-- Anthony Thyssen.

Created: 20 July 1998
Updated: 6 January 2004
Author: Anthony Thyssen, <anthony@cit.gu.edu.au>