Thank you for your suggestion. I built the prototype of the Bird of Prey 96 with straight panels where I prefer to use a Plan Seam. This is how I use to build my stunt kites and it's a very strong seam. This seam has an extra layer of sail material along the seam, along with the additional row of stitching. My goal with the prototype of the Bird of Prey 96 was to see how it also could handle higher wind conditions, so this construction technique was appropriate. I have flown the Bird of Prey 96 in winds up to 15 mph and it does just fine, but does have a bit of pull on the flying line during the climb. Considering the 2,079 square inches of projected sail area, the pull on the flying line during a climb in the higher wind conditions was expected.
I also could use a Lap Seam that only requires one line of stitching. This is the technique I use on the Bird of Prey glider kites that have the curved panel lines. I prefer using a glue stick to hold the panels together before stitching, which gives one a second chance to adjust the alignment if you don't have the panels aligned correctly. Regarding your suggestion to use just double sided tape, I have found that under higher temperatures and moderate wind conditions, the adhesive will give and the panels will slip. I have experienced this with some glider kites designed/build by others.
As a point of reference, the prototype of the Bird of Prey 48 was built with 12 panels using a Plain Seam and weighs 31.8 grams. The plan/production version of the Bird of Prey 48 was built with just 5 curved panels using a Lap Seam and weighs 30.7 grams, providing a weight savings of about 3.5%. If I apply this weight savings to the Bird of Prey 96, I would be able to reduce the weight of this glider kite by approximately 5 grams. Since most of the Bird of Prey glider kites need some nose weight, if I reduce the number of panels behind the center of gravity, this also will help save some weight.
If one was looking for the lightest version of the Bird of Prey 96, the least amount of panels/colors would be the way to go, but I personally like the looks of this glider kite in the air. As indicated in my previous post, my limited flying time on this glider kite indicates that lighter may not be the way to go. That is why I want to get a second one in Tom White's hands on the west coast to see if he sees what I am seeing. When I test flew the Bird of Prey 96 indoors at the Wildwood NJ event, it flew very well. This was before I had the stiffer machined joiner and the center of gravity dial in. It was a just a little tail heavy when I flew it in Wildwood, NJ. Thank you again and I will keep you posted on my future endeavors with this version of my Bird of Prey.