High-Altitude Kite Technology (~10km)

There is increasing wind energy and availability with altitude, up to about 10km. Kite technology for high altitude emerged during the Golden Age of Kites a century or more ago, followed by the successful effort of school children fifty years ago, then a few recent single-kite records, to Toyota’s new Mothership Project ambition, with OSU students. Updated High-Altitude Kite Technology on the move, by various players worldwide. This topic is to follow fresh efforts, as well as review the rich history of going high by kites, ready to build on.



A top question in new high-altitude kite design is whether soft-kites of superior scalability and high cosine-gain, like the Hagaman Parafoil, have a place in high-altitude kite train use. Its less questionable that such kites could set single-kite altitude records, not just by higher area, but also higher lift-to-mass; to carry up more tether for more altitude, with more reserve strength for reliability. Maximal depowering (by furling) and suitable train rigging are the major open R&D challenges.


Hagaman was Jalbert’s top disciple, that even Sutton recognized as the Master of the highest flying angle foil, with good stability-