Panflute Revisited -- Responses

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Panflute photos found in the net...

Here are photos of other panflutes I have found on the net! If you find such a photo, please let me know so I can include it below.

[photo] Standard panflute from Devonair Kites

[photo] A fancy panflute design from Geert Donker Duyvis

Responses from people

The following are responses I have recieved from the network about the Panflute Kite Plan and their results and modifications.

Many thanks to all who have replied.

Stephan Thiede <> on 24 April 2016, wrote...
Dear Anthony Thyssen,

this is my Panflute Kite I made. First Lounch at Teufelsberg Berlin Germany today

friendly regards

Peter Carman <> on Tue, 8 Sep 2015, wrote...
I found your site on kites some years ago and have referred to it often for reference to the various kites and kite making info.One of the kites that took my interest was the Panflute which I added to my 'to-do list'.

Looking for a kite that would be reasonable size and pack down small enough for an upcoming trip to NZ I decided it was time to have a go at making a Panflute. I used your site with all the hints and tips from other builders, plus some additional help from the US Kite Builder site and forum members. I scaled my kite to 160% of the original plan specs so the finished kite came out at 136cm in length. It is 7 cells and the width of the vents at the TE taper from the center down to the outside. The 3 middle vents are 25cm, the next outer cells are 18cm and the outer most vents on either side are 12.8cm (just slightly larger than the lower surface).

I added a small keel to either side with a Y bridle setup from the LE of each keel. In addition there is a center Y bridle line that attaches at either side of the middle cell. The center attachment line is fixed via a small metal ring which is free to slide on the Y harness.

I finished the kite off with the addition of a 'Fuzzy' tail loop (approx 11m in length).

Still working on the trimming for optimum flight, but so far all indication are looking good.

Thanks for providing the initial inspiration for this kite.

Best Regards,
Peter Carman

Doug Malpus <> [photo]
Thanks for the plan of the panflute kite. I made one using ripstop nylon in many colours, a mini rainbow. I made it for my grandson's birthday (age 5), he thinks it is wonderful. He takes it for walks or runs whilst it is flying, I usually have the job of bringing it down (no easy task, it flies so well).

[photo] Panflute flies with a windsock made of all the slender triangles left over from cutting it out. Wind force 5 to 6 possibly 7 presents no problem to this set up.

Very light winds F. 1 or 2 the kite needs no windsock.

My grandson has not flown it in moderate winds.

Mello Lorier <> on Tue, 22 Aug 2000, wrote...
I have found the panflute-kite plan on your site. It realy look great. Have you ever extended the kite with more tubes? Say make 9 or 11 tubes instead of 7?

Anthony's Reply...
No sorry I haven't. I don't think it would work well without more support. A parafoil has internal walls which allows air pressure to stiffen the whole kite up. A Panflute is really a set of wind socks all joined together side be side, so does not have the same internal support.

It probably can be made wider by added a center fin and bridle line. Sort of in the same way as the ``Double Para-sled''. But if you are going that far you may like to build a parafoil or flow form instead.

Halit CEBECİ <> on Mon, 25 Sept 2000, wrote... [photo]
I saw your name at a panflute plan page. I made a panflute. it was my first soft kite. I like it very much. It didnot fly very good but it was a big experience for me. See the pictures at Photo Point

Anthony's Reply...
Looks pretty good. You may like to try a longer tail!

If it is collapsing due to the very strong side to side swings, the extra tail should fix the problem.

Also the kite does not seem to be inflating properly, so maybe sewing the trailing ends of the tubes partically closed would help, particularly on the black side tubes which seem to be suffering the most.

This is actually the reason I like adding some extra triangle `flares' to the sides of the kite, usally from a slightly thicker material. It helps to distribute the bridle load before the frist tube. and prevents it distorting as much. But it isn't really needed for the normal size. panflutes.

Further mail from Halit, showed that above suggestions resolved the difficulty, new photos were added to his Photo Point Album.

[photo] [photo]

Update... on Fri, 24 Oct 2003
One of my friend made a panflute fron your plan. It flies very good. I hope you like pictures.


Jonathan Killen <> on Sun, 15 Apr 2001 wrote... [photo]
I built a panflute from your site about a year ago. It was my first kite, and I made it from binbags, sellotape, and string, and scaled it down to fit the bag. As you can see from the pictures I have attached, it flies well, if with a rather low flight angle. This can be solved by removing the (huge) tail in lighter winds at least and then it goes much higher.

Thise picture was recently taken at the beach at South Shields (NE England) where my grandparents live, but I actually live in Scotland. Since then, I have made a 7.5m Circoflex, and Krypton-S and Sputnik 4 from Stunt Kites II, but it was this kite that started it all off. Thanks!

Jonathan Killen

[photo] I can't really explain how I made my Panflute from Sellotape, so have enclosed a drawing showing how I did it. Basically, I cheated, and didn't stick four layers together at once, as your plan says.

Making it of sellotape, I didn't expect it to last, but, when it was pulled out of its bag to have its picture taken at the beach, I was quite amazed it didn't fall apart, even though I made it at least a year ago!

The drawing shows a cross-section of the kite at the interconnection of two tubes as viewed from the front. Upper part of tubes shown in red, lower in blue, tube sellotape yellow, and joining sellotape green.

After cutting out the plan from the binbags, the panels were sellotaped into individual tubes. Because of the diffculties in sellotaping up the inside of a tube, three, not four, strips were used up each tube, so that one 'seam' in each tube was taped on only one side. The drawing shows two tubes with 'seams' taped on both sides.

The tubes were then taped together, joining sellotape shown in green.

At the leading edge at each connection point between two tubes, I put a small piece of sellotape round the front joining the top panels together from the point where they meet the lower panel up just the width of my sellotape.  This seems to stop the kite pulling apart, and means little sand gets in down from the top to stick to the upside (sticky side) of the joining sellotape (green).

Anthony's Additional...
If you are making tubes with sellotape, you will find taping the inside of the tube difficult when closing. Some tapes just sticks too well to plastic to control it inside the tube. The simple solution of that fourth piece of tape, is to pull the tub inside out, and then tape it.

Also a double sided tape sandwiched between the two top pieces would make the joint virtually indestructible, and stop any sand or grit getting into the length of the joint.

Grant Lovett <> on Sat, 30 Jun 2001, wrote..
I followed your suggestions to finish my panflute. It is 58" tall. The front pieces are 10" at the top and 5"at the bottom. The back pieces are 20" on the top and 5" at the bottom. The triangles at the side are 40" long where they attach to the kite and 10"wide. The kite is purple, orange and green with a 50' orange to purple graded tail.

I initially tried to leave the opening at the bottom open figuring that they wouldn't open too much but I had problems with the kite. After I sewed these openings shut I still had problems getting it to fly. The leading 10"-12" of the kite would fold up and block the openings so that the kite couldn't inflate properly.

I figured that the triangles weren't transfering the pull from the bridle to the leading edge well enough. To fix this I sewed the bridle line along the complete leading edge of the kite. This solved the problem and the kite now flies great.

While on vacation, I anchored it to the beach while my wife and I snorkeled. It was a real treat to take an occasional glance at the sky and see the kite dancing in the wind. It stayed up well over an hour without being touched.

On the next one, I will start out with the bridle line in the leading edge and leave the bottom of the kite open to see if it makes a difference. It will be an easy fix to sew it shut if needed.

I'll try to get some clear photos of it flying and get them to you.

Thanks for the help. Grant Lovett

Anthony's Response

Congradulations, sounds like you did all the right things.

The more of these I make at a larger size the more it seems you need to close the bottoms. A design change would be to make the lower width of the top panel the same as that of bottom pannel. That way the two will match up properly to close up the tubes. I plan to try this change on the next panflute I make.


Dick <> on Thu, 30 Aug 2001, wrote.. [photo]
Just thought I would let you know that I built one of these things and pass along a bit of the experience I gained.

I changed the dimensions to fit a standard piece of 54" ripstop. I held all the ratios and it came out looking real nice. (Aside: that makes the base width 4.45" -- Anthony)

Here are the things I changed. The side flares. If a little is good, a bunch must be better. This was incorrect. It grabbed so much air it broke the kite in mid-flight and tumbled to the ground. My original flares were about 12 - 13 inches. I cut these in half to about 6 inches and it worked fine.

Most of my building is with foils so I decided there was no reason to leave the TE open at all and sewed them shut. I don't know if this had anything to do with my flying problems but I also opened these a bit. It is flying just fine.

Thanks for the plans.

I used very light webbing material and ran it across the entire leading edge from bridle point to bridle point to strengthen the entire LE with the connection to the bridle point.

I had it out again yesterday and it flew like a champ. No breaks and it achieved a much better flying angle.

I think I might have to build another. Looks like a great gift idea.


Michael Nevins <> on Fri, 22 Feb 2002, wrote... [photo]
I just started sewing my own kites. You may be happy to know that I successfully completed my first soft kite project from your Panflute plans (in the original size). I'm very happy with it and it works great!

I made one modification to your plan: I made the outside tubes "adjustable" by using velcro strips to allow opening and closing at will of the trailing edge of those tubes. I'm not really sure if it's affecting performance at all. ;)

The photos were shot a couple of weeks ago on the (cold) beach at Coney Island here in New York (note the famous Cyclone roller coaster and other rides).

My next kite will be a Flowform from Harald Prinzler's plans.

Thanks for the great site and for making my first kite project so easy!

Best regards, Mike Nevins

Sharon Winchell <> on Tue, 03 Jun 2003, wrote...
| Hi Anthony!
| As a team building exercise at work we attempted to built the panflute
| kite.  We attached the bridle at the top of the kite and a tail on
| each side of the bottom.  However, we could not get the kite to fly.
As I mentioned in the plan, especially in the responses, it can take a
bit of extra trial and error to get it to work.  Usally involving
closing the openings at the bottom of the kite so as to increase the
pressure in the cells, and stop them folding in half.  In generally the
more it flys the better it gets.

| Should there be a string going across the bottom of the kite to make
| it curve.
No it should curve naturally as when the cells are wind filled the only
place the kite can curve is at the join between the cells.

| The fabric I used was a light weight (I thought would work
| - however, I can't get it to fly.  What type of fabric should be used.

Light grade ripstop (with a sealing coating, not the unsealed, very soft
ripstop some fabric shops sell), also known as sail or spinner cloth.
The peices are long and thin which means just getting scrap pieces from
a sail makers scrap bag is usally fine.

| What is the best way to launch the kite?  Our kite gets about 9 feet
| off the ground and falls.
Let me guess, the kite seems to fold in half.  Either across the whole
kite, or just one side.  That is usally caused by the bridles pull not
getting its forces spread out over the kite.  Increasing the cel
pressure should fix the problem, as would adding extra reinforcement to
help spread that pull.
The way I launch the kite is to tie it off then hold the kite by the
bridle corners with my back to the wind, so the bridle and flying line
has no slack.

See.. the photo in the plan, oppisite  "Large Panflute Notes"

Yes this is a very large panflute, but the principles are the same.
When all the cells are inflated I then just let go and up it goes.  The
photo also clearly the way the kite curves, and a small pucker at the
end of the tubes were I restriced the hole a little to increase the
air pressure inside the tubes.  
Michael Brandt <> on Thu, 4 Sep 2003, wrote... [photo]
Here's a couple of pictures of my first panflute kite flying in the park behind Wanda Beach in Sydney last week. The conditions were very light at the time the photo was taken, but as you can see, the kite is still flying quite well.

Just a tip for others who might be thinking of making a panflute kite: use staples to hold the material together when you're sewing the seams. Just make sure you staple about 30mm away from the edge so that the sewing foot does not run over the staple. Also remember to take them out each time prior to sewing the next seam.

Cheers, Michael

Caledonia Mountain <> on Mon, 29 Sep 2003, wrote... [photo]
Studied your plans for the Panflute! Really enjoyed it so I have build one folowing your plan and did a 8ft panflute!

Thanks for your help!

I will try to get a clearer picture soon!

the Mountain Man

David Stirling <> on Wed, 15 Oct 2003, wrote... [photo]
I have made three panflutes now, two of which I have given away. The first was made from unsealed ripstop from a fabric shop. Boy, did I learn a lesson! Don't use unsealed ripstop! This kite I gave to a boy for his sixth birthday.

The second panflute was made from spinnaker ripstop offcuts that I got from Linton Sails here in Wellington. As I got so many nice colours, and as a thankyou to the owner, I made his daughter a colourful kite.

This time I was determined to keep mine so I made an extra special effort to hunt through the offcuts to get the colours of the rainbow. What a striking kite, especially when the sun is behind it. I have attached a photo for you to see.

Thanks for the very clear instructions; I made it to you standard size with a 1 cm hem allowance. Fly great but is gusty strong winds does tend to go to my right. Can't figure that out, but I would not be flying anything else at the windspeed where it happens anyway.

Thanks again David

Andrew Kilborn <> on Wed, 5 May 2004, wrote...
I built the panflute on your site (I built it with your original dimensions, but in inches). I found some cheap ripstop nylon - not kite style, just from a fabric shop. It increased the collapsing problem. I almost closed the back completely and was still having problems.

Then I used some paper clips and attached the tubes to each other on the leading edge - about 10 cm up from the bottom seam. You can see this on the pic with me holding the kite. It took right off and flew for about 45 minutes, until I brought it down.

[photo] [photo] [photo]

Thanks for a great plan!  I'm going to hunt down the right materials and make another!

Andy, Iowa, USA

Anthony's Response

Joining the adjacent top cells together is a novel idea. When one cell inflates, it will open the neighbouring cell a little and ensure it inflates too. I'll add this to the main plan.


Morag Hickman <> on Thu, 12 Aug 2004, wrote...
Hi, just dropping you a line to say thankyou for your excellent site! I was wandering around the 'net a couple of days ago looking for inspiration for a kite top make, and was reading through when I saw the panflute!

I made it to the given dimensions, but out of strong thick bright yellow clinical-waste-disposal bags - opened out they give the 85 cm with room to spare, and don't have as many static and tearing problems as normal bin-bags. Using the same taping method as someone else mentioned on your site [inverting the tubes worked very well] I stuck it all together, although I failed to take into account that the tape doesn't stick to the back of itself, and it's rather heavy now from the different layers of masking, packing and duct-tape!

I've given it two tails, although they still don't seem to be giving it enough stability [they could probably do with being a great deal longer]. It inflates and flies really well - it didn't seem to want to come down at all, even in the moderate and gusty wind we had today! I scalloped the leading edge - cutting a curve into the top of all the 'B' pieces, and that seems to help it inflate much more easily.

It's a lovely little kite, and although it's not very strong it's done its job - got me really interested in making a proper fabric one or three! I'll try and send you a photograph when I take one.

Again, thankyou for your site, it's been a great help and inspiration!

Regards, Morag

Anthony's Response

Good to hear your kite was such a success. I haven't tried to scalloped the leading edge, but that definately shold improve the initial inflation of the kite which can be a little tricky. However in latrger panflutes I usually sew a extra line along that edge for extra strenght from the bridle point. In that case I don't think scalloping would be a good idea.


A Rogers - NKG UK Liverpool <> on Sun, 03 Apr 2005, wrote...
Various membes of the Northern Kite Group UK made your kite, as first kite build exercise, but in haste, only made it with 5 panels as it being late at night we called it a day, we decided to see if if it would fly !

My word, it flys brilliently with the panflute wiggle.... and now at least another 4 are going to be made with tails

We love em

MANY MANY THANKS for a great easy plan

Anthony's Response

That is great. Hmm I gather you mean 5 tubes rather than 5 panels :-)


Andrew Wills <> on Mon, 31 Oct 2005, wrote...
Great kite website, thanks for making the panflute kite available on line.  I have been making kites with kids and wanted a plastic fantastic version.  Reading comments about heat joining plastic I had a go at joining all the lower and upper cell panels on one sheet of plastic.  Seems to work well though does not quite have the visual appeal of joined tubes.  You might call it a panflute sled kite.  I have made a few versions and the desire grows to make bigger ones!!!

  Here is a link to a plan online

Thanks again,

Andrew Wills, Dunedin, New Zealand

Alexia from Estonia <> on Sun, 09 Apr 2006, wrote... [photo]
I found your plans and as I had prior experience with sleds took up the challenge to make one. I got some rather thick but windproof material from fabric store. Mine was made to your dimentions but for fabric conservation reasons about ten cm shorter. See the picture attached. Im not too good at sewing and that shows from the picture ;) At first I tried to fly it with two separate 4,5m ribbon tails, but it simply was not stable enough to fly. Then I just tied the tails together about a meter from the kite and it flew rather well but with very low angle. Latter I added a third 5m tail that made it climb a bit higher...

Thanx for a great tut (now I know what ripstop looks like).

Alexia from Estonia

Robert J Evans <> on Thu, 1 Jun 2006, wrote... [photo] [photo]
Greetings from Moldova. Thanks for the Panflute plans. I made two, one from Russian-style "obolon" (like a heavy nylon, probably dress material), and the other from a large, probably 3 or 4 mil thick, clear plastic trash bag. I did not have access to ripstop or Tyvek here.

As you can see, they both fly, but the plastic one is just a bit lighter and has zero porosity, so behaves better in the same wind than the "nylon" one. The nylon one will probably stand up to gale force, though, which the plastic, made with two-inch wide scotch tape, probably won't. Given the weight and porosity of the "nylon" kite, I had to reduce the exhaust ports, per your suggestion. As this was done on the flying field, I used strips of Duct tape and will stitch them properly in the future.

I have just acquired an old, discarded (and heavily used) "square" parachute, made of Russian material, probably more "obolon", but with lower porosity. That should give me plenty of material to "recycle" and build one of the large Panflute kites. Will let you know.

Bob Evans

Peter Wright <> on Thu, 22 Feb 2007, wrote...
Anthony, my neigbour and I each made a Pan flute and doubled all the sizes. They both flew perfect in a very light light wind of 2 to 3 mph and stable as can be in a 12 mph wind. Very Impressed. Look forward to flying in a stronger wind although there was plenty of pull but no sign of wear in the 12mph.

Mark Waldmeyer <> on Thu, 8 August 2007, wrote...
Hey Thanks for your great Kites page, Very easy to get a lot of info on many kites.

I recently made a Panflute kite, It is great, I have only ever made the normal two stick dimond kites which flew but not as well as my panflute.

I did'nt make one for a while because I thought of it as a simple kite which would not have much pull and not much fun to fly, well this morning I took it out into the bush and It flew so well It actually bent my Spool I was using to wind the string back in, Only took me an evening to make once I had mastered joining the 4 cells together, flys like a dream very stable even in the harsh wind this morning there was no breaks and it was as stable as ever.

Best Regards

Michael Low <> on Wed, 5 Mar 2008, wrote...
I made my own panflute kite based on your plans. As it turned out, mine ended up somewhere between your giant panflute and the standard panflute sizes. I did have to tack the trailing edges of each of the socks to keep the socks charged with air. I also incorporated flares for the bridal points to secure to.

I was making it for the Austin Kite Festival 2008 in a mad rush and had no time to test it before I had to fly it.  I went with minimalist tails just to keep it steady, but love the look of the spaceballs and plan to do a more involved main tail, similar to that of your giant panflute.

All in all, it was a great success the first time out. It was fun to see the reaction from my family as I pulled this mass of red and black nylon ripstop out of my bag, inflated it and let it go.

[photo] [photo] [photo]

It was extremely windy, perfect day for a kite festival!  The panflute flew like a champ first time out! Thanks again Anthony for your knowledge and your information. I will make many more.

Jose Gonzalez <> on Wed, 5 Feburary 2012, wrote...
[photo] [photo]
Almost nine years since your last update to your plan and it is still producing good results. My kite is approximately 1.5 meters long with the T panel at 50 cms at the leading edge and 13 cms at the bottom; and the B panel at 25 for the leading edge and 13 for the bottom. As you can see, I adopted your suggestion to make the bottom portion of the T and B panels at the same measure (13) instead of sewing the rear openings shut half-way. It works just fine.

I also sewed the leading edges to each other to help them open. I used ripstop nylon from the fabric store (heavy). The black ripstop was even heavier than the rest and collapsed even in the air, but the kite still flies well with the other tubes open. It is hard to tell if the center tube is open or not because it is black and difficult to tell. It was leaning a bit to the right but the wind was very gusty.

I forgot to say that I added fins to the sides, 18 cms wide at the leading edge and 54 cms long.

Thanks, nine years later...
Jose Gonzalez, San Jose, California

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: 23 August 2000
Updated: 9 August 2007
Author: Anthony Thyssen, <>