The Beetle is an entry level kite from Flying Wings, featuring some neat original features. Designed by a
new team including Scott Augenbaugh, the Beetle is an up-to-date design that files in light wind, is
virtually unbreakable and will do some tricks as well.
The Beetle is a small delta with a 3mm carbon rod frame. It has a 7 panel nylon sail with cleanly sewn
flat seams, glued and zigzag stitched. There is Dacron on the leading edges and the lower spine area from
the T-piece cutout to the tail. Unusually, the kite is assembled by inserting the upper ends of the
leading edge spars into a moulded nose, while at the lower end the strong camber is induced by a sewn
tape which is permanently glued onto the spar with a vinyl end cap. There is a similar tensioning system
on the bottom end of the spine which bends away from the sail when the kite is at rest. The sail is
attached to the plastic nose via a wire tie which passes through a sewn-on loop. It has a single piece lower spreader, but no top spreader. The standard 3 point bridle is accommodated by a cutout where the
top cross would have been. The Beetle has a single stand-off which is set very wide, and a bungee
tensioner across the back of the sail in the spine area.
The overall appearance of the kite is clean and
well thought out. The custom-moulded fittings hold the spars and stand-offs securely. The kite has a
nicely made, hard wearing bag and good instructions. It arrived packed with twisted polyester lines on
The wind was weak when the kite was tested with seemingly little chance that a small beginner's
kite would fly. Surprisingly, the Beetle jumped into the air with a light pull on the lines. Speed was
medium fast and the kite was positive in straight line flight if a little twitchy - un surprising in a
smallish kite. It is impressive on the edges of its window, either up high or out wide. It is stable and
will not fall out of the sky - an attribute beginners will appreciate. With more punchy hand movements, the
Beetle cut quick and clean square turns, although the pilot could easily overdo the control movement. The
kite coped well with tight turns and spins, again staying in the sky even when the control movements were
deliberately overdone. In a stronger wind, the kite didn't seem to move around much faster but the thin 3mm
frame distorted at the leading edges where the top bridles attach, and along the spine; eventually the
lower spreader would bend into an 'S' shape. Although the kite starts to look a little distressed it had
little effect on the way it flew- if anything the bending seemed to act as a braking system, and the Beetle
continued flying quite happily. The 3mn frame is tough. The kite was crashed repeatedly onto its nose with
no effect; it could simply roll over and take off again. The fittings also stood up well to the crash test,
with neither stand-offs nor cross spar coming out. The Beetle can also do a surprising number of tricks.
axle, cascade, flat spin, 540 and even pop into a fade, quite an extensive repertoire for a tiny kite. The
trick capability is again something which will keep an experienced flyer amused, but more importantly,
gives the beginner much more scope to progress than many 'entry level' kites.