The TR-10 takes flight!

TR-10I’ve dropped my take on a classic form into the Blue Moon Kites shop. The pre-order page is open for BMK’s TR-10 (a rokkaku variant). Check it out in the shop by clicking on the link below!

I spent a considerable amount of air time with the TR-10 at the beach last weekend, and I am thrilled!

I need to build at least one more TR-10 prototype, with minor tweaks, before it’s final. Nothing major, just fit and finish stuff. A pucker here, a stress line there, and most of the excess patches and reinforcements. I should have that finished over the coming weekend, and ready to start working on your orders middle of next week!

Review your Blue Moon kite?

Please consider leaving a review of your Blue Moon kite. On the shop pages of the BMK website, you’ll find a place to let the world know what you think of your kite and/or doing business with BMK. In addition to displaying on the deposit pages, your review will also be added to the bottom of the main page for each kite. Each of my current kites has a page to order by making a deposit.

I’m looking for any and all feedback. If it’s 5 Stars, thank you, but any honest and considered review is appreciated. This is a good time to suggest improvements!

The pages are:
Ichiban –
Reprise –
MacStar –
61/49 –


MacStar, revisited…

Image courtesy of Willy LugoThe first version of the kite that became the MacStar came to be in 1993. It was primarily an experiment in alternative forms and techniques. I found myself fascinated with the idea of using a basic building block to create very different kites. The first kite was pretty close to the current MacStar, but I also used the same idea to make a couple of cellular kites and even a quad-line. I taught it in a class and made a couple for myself, but never did a production version until about ten years ago. Since then, the star has come and gone a few times.

The star has “traditionally” been matched with a custom “streamer” tail, made from panels much the same as the kite’s body. The tail, when made in this fashion adds a lot of panels, which means a lot of time, and as the saying goes, time is money. If we count the panels in the body of the MacStar, you’ll see 36 panels, making up the twelve sail sections. Each of these 12 sections has a significant amount of detail work. After doing a time study, I estimate that in its simplest version, just the body of the MacStar (without a tail) should be priced at about $475. That is fabric, frame, the whole finished deal.

MacStar with the optional ribbon tailsThe tail, as it’s been made over the last several years, consists of 57 Individual panels! The construction of the streamer tail is simpler and quicker than that of the body, but it uses considerably more fabric, and still quite a bit of time. My calculations tell me that just the stand-alone streamer tail should be priced at about $410. Combined, the body and tail come to more than I charge for the Ichiban, but the fact is that I have more time and materials in the MacStar than I do in the Ichiban!

I’ve never flown the star totally without a tail, but I’ll be testing that when I fly the personal MacStar I have on the table. I have flown the kite with a simpler tail, as well as multiple ribbon tails. I was very happy with the kite’s performance with three 26ft ribbon tails, which can be made considerably less expensively than the streamer. Truth be told, if price is an issue, you don’t need my tails at all! You can supply your own ribbon, streamer, or fuzzy tails, either self-made or factory-made.

BMK Sport Kite #XXX

Thank you, to all of the folks who have been so gracious and patient these last several months, as I’ve been wrapping up the sport kite part of my little business. I hope you enjoy your kites. It’s been a pleasure and an honor creating them for you.

The last Ken McNeill / Blue Moon Kites sport kite is on its way to its new owner! For most of the past three decades, it’s been my honor and pleasure to craft kites for flyers around the globe. For most of that time, the overwhelming majority was sport kites. I keep getting the same question – Why? Well, it’s simply the right time for me.

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An anniversary…

2019 was the 20th anniversary of the inception of Blue Moon Kites. The beginning was longer and messier than I would have preferred, and there was that “vacation” a few years ago, but overall it’s been a good ride. It never would have happened without the friendship and support of a lot of fine folks along the way.

Mike Gillard and I first talked about it on the patio of the hotel we were staying at while attending the KTA show in Clearwater, FL in 1999. It became “Blue Moon” at least in part because there were two blue moons early that year. The name was also inspired by the backup band of one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, Nanci Griffith.

In September of that year, I brought a handful of new kites to the festival at the Air Force Museum in Dayton. They were well received, and I was encouraged to move forward. After the festival, Holly (my wife) and I spent some time with Mike and his family at their home in Columbus OH, and started dreaming and scheming in earnest.  

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It’s a pattern…

Is it odd that I love making patterns? If I had to pick one thing that I enjoy the most about making kites (besides watching someone fly one of my designs with a big grin on their face), it would be making patterns. Maybe it’s because once I get a design to the point where I can do final refinements on the pattern, the rest of the process can be put on autopilot. Cutting, scraping and sanding the edges of a perfect progressive curve, making sure to leave enough of an entrance flat to make it easy to hem the edge smoothly and repeatably? Yeah, probably a little odd, but I’m OK with that. 😉

Moonie stops by for a visit

After a self-imposed exile to Costa Rica, my old friend Moonie showed up at 3 AM a couple of days ago with a case of good beer and a stack of Warren Zevon cassette tapes. He was mumbling something under his breath about kites and politics and how you just can’t find good grits in Central America. The only cassette player is in my old truck, so we sat out in the driveway until dawn drinking his beer, telling lies, and making big plans. I think we woke up the lady next door blasting Lawyers, Guns, and Money. We finished off the beer listening to Don’t Let Us Get Sick just as the sun came up over Hibriten Mountain.

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