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October 5, 2011

Giant box kite

A few years ago, our group held a joint event between the Cubs and Scouts, where we flew kites. The Cubs completed the requirements for the Cub Kites interest badge, while the Scout patrols held a competition to see whose kite would fly highest.

The biggest kite on the day was this box kite built by our Group Scouter and his son. It used cane from our Scout grounds for the frame, sisal lashings for the joints, and plastic rubbish bags for the flight surfaces. Because Benoni is 1600m (7000ft) above sea level, the wind needs to be fairly strong before a kite will fly well, but this one did get into the air a few times.

Box kites were invented in the 1890s, and were an important step on the way to the invention of heavier than air aircraft. NASA has a page with a good explanation of the aerodynamics of box kites.

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