The tailless continues to be the most popular of all the kites. No matter how artistic, how representative, how curious, or how mechanical the new kites may be, the tailless is the first and last out every season. It flies in a very light breeze, and is so steady in the air. There are several kinds of tailless, but the two stick Eddy Kite seems to be the winner. These kites are made from five inches to thirty feet in height.
Figs. 22, 23, 24, 25.
This kite, Figs. 8 and 22, has two sticks of equal length, the vertical stick is called the spine, and should be straight, while the bow is placed about one-fifth the distance down from the top of the spine. This bow stick is bent backward by inserting a brace stick as shown by Fig. 23.
The advantage of a removable brace stick will be recognized when a person tries to carry several kites to a field at one time. If the brace stick is out, the kites lie flat and do not injure each other, so that twenty-five or more might be carried by one person, but if the kite is bowed, there may be great difficulty in carrying two or three. Most boys bow about three inches for a three-foot kite. See Chapter 1 for the stringing of this kite.
Figs. 26, 27, 28, 29.
The tailless kites are nearly all constructed so as to have a keel projecting out to the front. In order that the keel may be of more service, the covering is not stretched tight, but is left loose. Perhaps an inch along each side would be allowed for bagging or pocketing. See Chapter I (General Kite Construction) on covering. If the covering is drawn tight, the kite will dodge and will probably dive to destruction.
Now we can modify this type form of kite. We can use two spines and two bows, Fig. 24. In this kite the upper bow should be bent more than the lower, and the bridle will be of more service if attached to the upper bow at two points about midway from spine to end of bow. The covering should not be quite so loose on this kite as on Fig. 22 but should not be tight. Another variation is given in Fig. 25, in which two spines are used and one bow. Sometimes the spines are crossed as shown in Fig. 26, the distance being much greater at the bottom than at the top between the ends of the spine sticks. A modification of the last two is shown in Fig. 27, in which a built out keel is shown. Two small braces project from the bottom of each spine with a third stick connecting their meeting place with the center of the bow stick.
Figs. 30, 31, 32, 33.
Still one other combination is a form that can be used as a foundation for many outline shapes. It is shown in Fig. 28, and has two spines and two bows; but where much modification is made, a tail or other balancers must be used. A kite with a broken bow is like a bird with a broken wing, but if broken in the center it can be redeemed for service by the addition of a cross-stick, as shown in Fig. 29. The broken part should be well lashed together. A kite could be successfully planned in this way from the beginning. It is possible to make a number of geometric or representative forms as tailless kites, but representative forms as a rule need tails.
The shield, Fig. 30, is one of the tailless kites and the writer succeeded very well with a two bowed tailless in the shape of a six pointed star. See Fig. 32.
Perhaps the largest group in real variation is that in which kites with tails or other forms of balances are found. And first and foremost, comes our grandfathers' old English bow kite, Fig. 18, having a bow that curves upward, but not backward, over the end of a single spine. Tassels were added at each side of the kite at the termination of each end of the bow, and a long tail of rolled papers tied to a string with a cloth hanging at the end was attached to the bottom of the spine.
The great class of star kites, with varying numbers of points, and the geometric, hexagonal, octagonal, and other forms belong to this group. A three string bridle is most satisfactory for most of these forms. The two upper strings of bridle should be the same length but shorter than the lower string. The latter should be attached at a central point at the bottom. In case there is no stick to anchor to at the center of the bottom, four strings may be necessary or two longer ones may be used at the bottom and one shorter one at the top. However the bridle is attached, the shorter strings are always at the top, and the single string must be centrally located to right and left, whether at the top or bottom, and the double portions on equal distances to each side of center line.
The bridle for a single spine and bow tailless is something attached at top and bottom of spine, or at the intersection of bow and spine, and at bottom of spine. In either case the bridle should be long enough so that when stretched out to the side of the kite while attached at the two points named, it will just reach out to the end of the bow; and at this point the kite line is attached; see Fig. 13. Fig. 33 shows a hexagonal kite. The same framework could be covered as a star kite, Fig. 34. There may be any number of points to a star kite, but most boys make the six-pointed ones. Sometimes the points are arranged as in Fig. 35, and again as in Fig. 33. Fig. 36 shows a very interesting tail for smaller star kites. Fig. 37 has another arrangement of stars for the tail. Fig. 38 shows a pentagonal kite and its construction. The bridle might be attached at one upper point and the two lower points. Fig. 39 shows an addition to the six-pointed star, in the shape of a crescent. Note that two sticks are longer, extending across the crescent, thus giving more rigidity to the surface. The outline of the crescent was made of split bamboo. In a similar manner, a broad circle could be formed about Fig. 38. See 38a.