2 The Buka
The classical Buka kite is well known to the more adventurous fighter kite flyer as a fast and agile kite that is quite capble of on-the-spot spins. It is, however, often regarded as a tricky kite to fly, and almost impossible to re-launch once flown to the ground.
I find a fairly small (50 x 35cm) Buka great fun to fly, but only really suited to adventurous freestyle flying in very light winds, or in the hands of a much practised fighter pilot.
Larger versions of 60 or 70 cm span with 2mm carbon spars are easier to fly, and become much more controllable when stalled. I have also found that with a little practice the larger versions can easily be persuaded into a tail-slide, and into re-launching when flown to ground.
The larger versions can also be made particularly suited to flying in the lightest of winds, and ideal for experimenting with the most extreme stall and loop manoeuvers, when the trailing edge is shaped to permt building with a shortened spine.
Different shapes of kite:
3 The "classical" Korean
Perhaps it is something perverse in my nature, but I somehow cannot resist buildng kites to the traditional Korean proportions with a rectangular rather than circular central hole. Not only is it easier to build, but I also find it easier to incorporate the central hole as an integral part of appliqué graphics.
I have however found that a rectangular hole oriented as illustrated has a geater slowing and stabilising effect than a circular hole of identical area. However, if a rectangular central hole is orientated like a diamond, with opposing corners aligned along the spine, the slowing and stabilising effect is virtually identical to a circular hole of the same area. (Please do not ask me to explain why the orientation of the hole makes a difference!)
I generally build this type of kite at a relatively small size (approximately 50cm tall) as I enjoy the more traditional speed and relative power of something more appropriate to combat flying. However, by experimenting with differing bridle points I am able to fly some freestyle "tricks" that I find almost impossible with most other sail shpes. In particular the classical Korean kite can be induced to perform almost perfect "barrel rolls" parallel to the spine. In light winds these kites can also be held in a hover close to the ground, before landing gently on the trailing edge ready for easy take-off.
However, I have to admit that my experiments with this "sideways Buka" are still at a very early stage.