...they look cool on paper
... they look great in the air
These kites are representative of my hang glider-inspired wing shapes. The idea was to extend wing fabric beyond the support of the frames. (The problems this caused outweighed any theoretical advantage.) They look neat in photos, but that's about all that's good about them. They have terrible stalls, and tend to flap and flop about during certain turning maneuvers.
The first two are about 9ft 10in span.
The bottom two here are 14ft 4inch ones, all wood frames. (Sometimes I extended the fins, sometimes I didn't.)
In the end I found that battens could easily be snapped or lost. Assembly in the field took that much longer. At the kite building stage, the time-consuming extra detailing required had to be done with the utmost precision to preclude having separate left and right battens. The kites were heavier in the air - by a trifling amount - but there wasn't any noticeable performance gain to justify the increased construction cost.
This is the kite that finally put me off battens forever. The battens added virtually nothing to the kite's performance.
The principle is the same - run battens from the spreader pockets to the midpoint of the trailing edge line, filling in some of the wing area lost to the normal deep scallops. Battens require a lot of finicky little parts assembled with a high degree of precision - and then they are easily lost or broken in the field. They do nothing for the kite's handling. I've concluded it's better to concentrate on kites without these costly yet relatively useless complications.