WindFire Designs

LaceWing Flame by WindFire Designs - seen here in the desert of NV - design Tim Elverston painted by Ruth Whiting

Four lines, all curves.


Our most efficient quadline, the Flame is smooth, light, and is able to surf air currents so slight that they are barely detectable, and will easily perform indoors under the power of the pilot alone. The uniform tension over the sail is derived from the double opposed-bow frame.

Unlike other four line kites, the WindFire Flame uses a structure that curves continuously. By pre-loading the carbon frame into arcs that support the perimeter of the form, the sail can be tensioned uniformly using much smaller diameter rods than are traditionally found in a kite of this size.

The basis of the Flame comes from our Photon design—the unique single line with a frame that has neither a spine nor a spreader. The Flame was built upon this concept, as if two Photons shared a central sail area. With an eight foot wingspan, and weighing only 3.5 ounces, the Flame is among the lightest kites of this size ever built. The sail is cut from a lamination of spectra and mylar, and then painted by Ruth Whiting.

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ColorWing Flame flying toward the camera at anastasia secret kite festival at golden hour

Structure and membrane

Tim Elverston flying a ColorWing Flame at Anastasia Beach FL

The Flame's structure uses almost 37 feet of carbon fiber. The curves of the frame load the carbon at close to the bending limit. This takes maximum advantage of the stiffness of the rods, and creates a smooth wing that changes shape in a controlled way.

As the sail loads up during flight, the frame's stiffness is carefully balanced to control the change in shape. The flow over the wing meets with large smooth curves that mimic wings found in the natural world.


Two WindFire Flames in the sand - quadline kites designed by Tim Elverston and painted by Ruth Whiting

The resulting flight is smooth and precise, while controls feel soft and organic. The range is from zero to about 5 mph.

Tim Elverston and Ruth Whiting fly ColorWing Flames in tandem over the sea at Anastasia beach Florida

Sensation and image

LaceWing Flame - quadline kite - windfire designs - flying at a field in gainesville FL - shown from the back and below the flight

Flying a kite boils down to two elements. First, the element of feel. As we control anything, from a musical instrument to a car, we connect to an unbroken analog signal.

It is this signal that a kite sends back down the line and into our brain. Our design goals state that simply to fly is not enough. There needs to be a special sensation and satisfaction received as we process the signal from a kite.

The second element is image. As we first learn to fly a kite, our focus is drawn to that narrow point in the sky where the kite itself is demanding our attention.

As flying experiences compound on each other, confort and relaxation grow. The vision of the pilot widens, and eventually we begin to see how we fit into the sky as a whole. This is the jumping point for imagination.

ColorWing Flame flying over Cesena, Italy from the top of a castle
Ruth Whiting flies a kite she painted called a LaceWing Flame designed by Tim Elverston over a wooden cut out of Lonely Bird

Can this be real?

Even if only uttered in our mind, perhaps this is the most satisfying question. It signifies that a moment, now gilded with experience, has slipped beyond a point in time. Captured, we can draw upon the memory as the rest of the world rushes by.

These are the images that carefully break the rules and live on to hold the story. Art, culture, philosophy, science, and love all grow from these seeds we plant in time.

The light wind collection

Shown below are two LaceWing Flames, 8 foot spans, and three Morpho Gliders, 14 foot spans. Wind was below 2 mph.

two lacewing flame quadline kites by windfire designs and 3 morho gliders

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