Plans for ultra-lightweight, collapsible, multi-cell tetrahedral kites
TetraLite kites utilize a combination of materials
that provide ample strength, light weight, beauty and portability. They are
light enough to fly in winds as low as two or three miles per hour and strong
enough to withstand up to 15 mile per hour winds or more,
depending on size and configuration.
Due to their ultra-light weight, rising and soaring in thermal updrafts is
not uncommon with these kites, even with the smallest "standard model" TetraLite
kite (Model. 7, pictured on the right).
In the past many kite fliers have avoided tetrahedral kites because they usually shared the same common drawbacks of excess weight and poor flying angle. The weight to lift ratio of tetras, especially commercial versions, has been a discouraging factor, requiring strong steady winds in order to achieve a disappointingly low flying angle, or they just didn't have enough wind to fly at all. TetraLite tetras take advantage of the somehow overlooked inherent strength of the tetrahedron form by utilizing ultra-lightweight components, giving them a rating of less than one-half ounce per square foot. TetraLite tetras will fly along with some of the lightest fliers.
Another problem often associated with tetras has been difficulty of transporting and storage. Those that couldn't be disassembled required a lot of space, and those that could be disassembled required major disassembly (not to mention assembly). TetraLite tetras are easily and quickly collapsed and set-up due to the use of a flexible connector system. They fold up like an accordion!
TetraLite tetras have eliminated the traditional drawbacks previously encountered with tetrahedral celled kites, making them functional and beautiful additions to any kite collection.
What does it cost to build a TetraLite Kite?
The cost of materials to build any TetraLite Kite is under $1.00 (one dollar, US) per cell. This is based on prices of materials in Seattle, WA, USA as of August 1997. Actual cost per cell varies by a small amount depending on the number of cells. For example, the Model 7 cost per cell is $.98 and the Model 34 cost per cell is $.964. Therefore, the Model 7 costs $6.86 and the Model 34 costs $32.79.
Who is TetraLite Kites?
My name is Mark Snyder and I live in Seattle. I've lived here all my life (since 1946). I started flying kites when I was about 4 or 5 years old. Over the years I have won a few prizes from the Washington Kitefliers Association and the American Kitefliers Association. My "TetraLite" design has won several prizes for construction method and beauty. I have also won a prize in the "Limited Wing Area" event using an "airplane" type kite at the 1980 AKA annual convention that was held here in Seattle. I guess I'm into lightweight low-wind speed kites. My first TetraLite design was built in 1979 and I've been building them using exactly the same materials ever since. The tetras I've built range from 7 to 110 cells. The first one was 28 cells and later, in 1980, I added 6 more cells to make the 34-cell kite pictured on some of my pages. This kite still flies as well as it did in 1980. I'm quite proud of these tetras, since they are very nice flying and easy to transport and store.
TetraLite Kites, Seattle, WA