Sunday 29 December 2013

Wings on Strings - update report

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned Wings on Strings, Flying Fish's sister team within L-katz, deciding to fly in a new formation. So maybe time for a quick update?

Music has now been decided upon (but not telling ...), and the first few patterns choreographed. So that means it's down to flying them in the field, obviously!

And only then do you know whether what looks great on paper actually works in the air ...

Today's practice runs showed that some of the patterns need a bit of tweaking, and as always, you get new ideas while you're flying.

Keep at it, guys!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

A full set of T5 kites - part 2

In my previous blog post, I talked about ordering a full set of Airdynamics T5 kites, and showed the designs for the Zero and Taipan Standards (we already have a pair of SULs). If you have followed Flying Fish on Facebook, you will already have seen the design for the V1:

Which means only the design for the V2 needed to be finalised, and here it is!

Took a bit longer than the others, because the panel lay-out is different from the other versions. The two big grey areas halfway down are removable patches; there's mesh underneath them.

What we have tried to do in this full 10-kite set is play with the yellow, orange and green in such a way that the kites are part of the same family, but that each version pair is different from the others. The two extremes (Zero and V2) are more different than the SUL - Standard - V1 group, and we felt that the Zero should veer towards being lighter and the V2 towards being darker. So here they all are, for comparison; Zero and SUL in the top row, Standard in the centre, and the two venteds in the bottom row. Irma will usually fly the orange-accented kite, and I the green-accented one.

Guess part 3 of this series of blog posts will be when we have actually received the kites, and subsequent parts when we start flying them. Stay tuned!

Incidentally, this is my 100th blog post for Flying Fish. Happy 100th blogday to me!

Sunday 24 November 2013

A full set of T5 kites - part 1

As you may know if you have been following this blog for a while, we have a nice quiver of pair kites, from super-ultra-lights to mega-venteds, but what we do not have is a set of different versions of the same kite. Although we really like to fly all kinds of different kites, having the same kite in different versions does have its advantages, as you don't have to adapt your flying style as much when you switch kites, and don't have to get used to a very different level and/or kind of responsiveness.

Question then becomes: which kite? Bottom line is that the current market is extremely limited when it comes to team kites in a wide range of different versions .... The only real option is Peter Taylor's Airdynamics T5 kite. As you may know, we already have a pair of T5 Taipan SUL kites, and we really like the way it flies and handles, so we could expand that pair to a full 5-pair set ...

If you have been following us on Facebook, you will know that we finally bit the bullet, after a lot of uhm-ing and ah-ing (and getting a nice amount of money back from the tax office helped), and we ordered a full set of T5s (minus the SUL, of course) from Peter: Zero, Standard, V1 and V2.

Next step is of course to decide on the colour schemes. What we wanted was for each pair to be different from all the other pairs, but still for the whole set to 'belong together'. In other words: variations on a theme. Each pair will have one kite with some orange highlights (flown by Irma) and one kite with more green highlights (flown by me). Starting with the lightest of the set, the T5 Cuban Zero is mostly made from cuben fibre, which is extremely light. It's only available in semi-transparent 'white' and grey, but we think we've come up with a design that still fits with our 'team colours'.

For the T5 Taipan Standard, we thought we 'd try and add a wee nod to Flying Fish in the form of two of the panels carrying the Flying Fish logo. If all goes as planned, Roy and Hayley from Kites Up will provide the printed panels. So here's what the final kites will hopefully look like:

We're still discussing the designs for the V1 and V2, and anyone who has used colourisers to design the colour scheme of a kite will know how long that can take; stay tuned!

Sunday 17 November 2013

Double Fire Dart!

In a recent blog post, I made a call for a second Fire Dart. Those of you who have been visiting our  Facebook page may know that I managed to get one, for a very fair price, and which only needed an upper spreader. If every kite was so easily made fly able ...

First time we flew the two Fire Darts together, it became clear that, whatever adjustments we made to the bridles, we couldn't get them to match speed wise. Maybe not a surprise, given that our first Fire Dart (the red-and-black one) was about 100 grams heavier than its blue-and-yellow friend. One framed in quite heavy old 7+mm spars, the other in newer 6mm spars. Hm, what solution would there be for getting the two closer weight wise?

So the red-and-black Fire Dart got a 6mm reframe, and that shaved 60 grams of its weight. Still heavier, but not as much as before. The moment of truth finally arrived yesterday (due to the crap weather recently). Would the two match now? We did need to play around a bit more with the bridle settings, but then: success!

We got them basically matched now, and the kites go down really low, flying with 2mph already. Only when the wind goes that low does the existing weight difference between the two show itself. We got a pair of truly low wind Old School kites added to our quiver!

Sunday 10 November 2013

FINALLY flying again!!!!

Weekend after weekend saw gale-force winds, or heavy downpours, or both ... Today saw a welcome change from that: it was sunny, it was dry, and the wind was not blowing a hooley!

The last few times we flew with the team, we had made a start introducing a few changes to our routine, following a day of team coaching by Barry Savell. But that felt like ages ago when we launched into our routine again .... Let's just say that the first few runs were worse than before ... it all was pretty rusty, people weren't where they were supposed to be, and got their timing wrong. And let's just leave it at that, ok?

But I'm happy to report that once we got back into our stride again, and decided to focus on the first half of the routine, we made some good progress, and ended the day in better shape than where we left it so many weeks ago. The circles off the diagonals in our second infinity after launching are better now (as long as everyone keeps their spacing ....) and especially the 4-kite wrap / unwrap I introduced after the jump works pretty well, and nicely leads into the thread sequence.

Need to work on this first half a couple more times before tackling the rest again. But it was great finally flying again!

Picture credit: Roger Backhouse

Saturday 2 November 2013

Double Peter Powell!

Blogging has been light lately, simply because we've hardly been able to fly these last few weeks, mostly due to bad weather. But this morning, we managed to steal an hour and a half, specifically to fly our latest pair of team kites.

Now I assume most of you reading this are familiar with the Peter Powell Stunter. It was brought on the market in the early 1970s, and brought dual-line flying to the public for the first time. Peter Powell Stunters pop up on eBay regularly, and every multi-line kite flyer should have one, or it least should have flown one once in his or her life. Of course, we do indeed have one: a Mark II with blue plastic sail and red tail.

What many people may not be aware of is that the Peter Powell Stunter is back on the market. Peter's sons have breathed new life into the classic design, and the Peter Powell Mk III is now available to order. Not only that, they can also be ordered with custom graphics on the sail. An opportunity that Flying Fish just could not let pass ...

So here is our pair of Peter Powell Mk III Stunters, completely with Flying Fish graphics, and signed by the man himself!

Flying the pair is a lot of fun, and not only because of the Flying Fish graphics. Of course, they're not as precise as a modern-day delta, but they fly better than the original version. They do need a good wind to perform to their potential; below 10mph, the responsiveness to input clearly decreases. But that makes them the perfect kites for a day with a strong blustery wind. Pull is quite light, and flying complex wrap patterns with the long tube tails gives a really nice effect. 

A unique pair of kites, and a welcome addition to our quiver!

Saturday 5 October 2013


Almost a year ago, we got ourselves a pair of Pterodactyl kites made by Karl Longbottom. During an indoor flying event in Swindon, we first flew our Pterodactyls on wands, and we have since flown them like that regularly, including at festivals (Weymouth and Brighton). I've said it before: they really seem to be made for wand-flying, especially when the wind is very light or even absent. Basically, the less wind there is, the more we are able to let them fly just where we want to, let them spin, etc.

Which made us think ..... why not add these Pterodactyls to our pair-flying portfolio? We could even think 'team-flying' as both Roger and Tim have one as well ... And, as you know if you read this blog regularly, I always try to think of some matching music. Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene IV" fits their flying pretty well, I think!

We're not thinking of writing a specific choreography, just letting them fly with the music as backdrop. Something we can do if all other kites are grounded, and nothing else will fly!

Sunday 22 September 2013

Double Inner Space!

Gradually over the last year or so, we've built up a set of pairs of freestyle kites: Fury .85Cosmic TC UL and Mamba, to be used for pair-flying when we want to include some basic tricks. We have hinted before at getting a 2nd Inner Space for those days when there is virtually no wind.

Well, we bit the bullet and ordered a 2nd one from Tim!

To allow us to fly these kites when there's really no wind to speak of, we've been looking at very light lines. Climax Protec, which we normally use, doesn't go down below 25kg, Following a suggestion from someone at the Fractured Axel forum, we got some Berkley Whiplash Crystal fishing line, with a breaking strength of 20lb, and we made ourselves a set of 35m lines.

Of course, whenever you prepare for a completely windless day, it never arrives, so we had to have some patience before we could try out the kites on these lines. Today was that day (4mph could be considered a 'gust'), so we flew our pair of Inner Space kites on the very light lines. It worked really well! The lines do have a bit more stretch than Climax, but as the wind is so light, it doesn't really matter. We could fly the whole range of patterns and moves with these kites that we normally fly as a pair, including pretty sharp-ish corners. One thing though: do not, I repeat do not try to refuel .... the rubbing of dacron against these very thin lines melts them really quickly!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know I always think about what music might fit a new set of kites. If we ever write a routine specifically for this pair of Inner Spaces, it needs to be very slow and flowy. How about Christine McVie's Songbird?

Saturday 21 September 2013

Double Bat!

In a previous blog post, introducing our Bat kite, I mentioned that we had another sail, which just needed framing to give us a second Bat. Well, if you've visited our Facebook page recently, you'll know that I indeed framed and bridled this second sail. Was fun, as I'd never build up an entire kite from scratch like that, but, given that I had all the spars, connectors, etc, it wasn't hard to do. So one thing remained to be done: fly it and see whether the two match in flight!

Given that the two kites only differed  in weight by 8 grams, it seemed that some small bridle tweaks would be enough to match their speed, and make them fly the same. Well, not quite .... we needed quite large differences in the bridle settings between the two to get them close to matching, but we couldn't quite get them to match. The self-framed kite remained just a tad slower than the original kite, and slowing the original kite down got to the point where its nose was so far back that it had difficulty launching.

To make a long story short, what finally clinched it was changing the stand-offs on the self-framed kite from 3mm to 2mm (original had 2.5mm), and shortening them slightly. What that did was make the sail a wee bit looser. This was really counter-intuitive to me. After framing, the sail of the self-framed kite was just a bit tighter than that of the original kite, and I would have thought that a tighter sail would mean higher speed as it would lose less energy than a looser sail. Clearly, I was wrong in that!

Anyway, they're flying well together now, and really really look cool in the sky!

They're pretty light kites, and seem most suitable for flying in lighter winds, say 5-10mph; I wouldn't want to fly them in winds much over 10mph.

So, coming to a flying field near you (maybe): one pair of Bat kites!

Sunday 15 September 2013

Routine plans

Our debut at Portsmouth Kite Festival was also our last flying at a festival for the year, so time to start looking ahead to the 2014 festival season. What are our plans in terms of routines?

First of all, our existing "Ruthless Queen" routine. We had been tweaking things a bit already since Malmesbury Kite Festival, and at Portsmouth we flew it with an improved (we think) thread and end sequence. And if you have been visiting our Facebook page lately, you may have seen that we're also playing with the start.

So that will give us our base routine for next year, but improved in a couple of places. However, we also want to have a bit more in our portfolio. And, again, if you have been visiting our Facebook page, you may have seen that we're now seriously working on a second routine, to the theme music of 'Jaws', and purely for our Fish and Shark kites. And in that routine, we want to try and include a wee bit of a story, with the Fish being chased by the Shark (will it be caught in the end???). We've been making real good progress with this routine, and no doubt it'll be ready for the 2014 festival season.

Which made us think we might try to start working on one more routine ... Our "Ruthless Queen" routine is basically flying with the music, using the music as backdrop. Ultimately we want to fly routines where the movement of the kites mirrors the music. The "Jaws" routine does that a tiny little bit in places, but not to any great extent. What we decided to do, in order to gain experience in flying specifically to the music, is use a routine that has already been choreographed to music, and which we found in a book by Ron Reich (of Top of the Line fame) on pair and team flying. The music is "Chariots of Fire", and the entire routine is given in the book, with time points throughout. Learning to fly this routine will give us experience in flying a routine precisely timed to music, no matter the speed of the kites, and that experience will then help us choreograph a routine to music from scratch in the future. I imagine that, certainly at the beginning, a lot of sticking in front of the computer will be involved!

So those are the routines we will be working on over the next half year or so. Maybe a bit ambitious, but we'll see how far we get by the spring of 2014.

Picture credit of us at Portsmouth: Roger Backhouse

Monday 9 September 2013

STACK Fun Flying day

At Southampton Kite Festival, Keith Griffiths mentioned STACK planning a Fun Flying day or weekend, focused on pair- and team-flying, sometime later in the year. This took place yesterday at the Jolly-Up site near Cliddesden, and available for coaching was the full line-up of Team Flame. In total, nine people showed up (Team Flame, Flying Fish, and Peter, Luke, Peter and John).

The wind was coming and going, so we kept switching back and forth between flying North Shore Radicals and North Shore Konas, while the Team Flame guys mostly flew light and standard Furys (Furies?).

Day started off with flying basic patterns in teams of 3 and 4, supported by coaching from Barry, Fran and Tony. And then it was time for some serious fun ...

Fran started explaining a 5-kite move, which he called the 'Japanese move' or the 'Air-Rex manoeuvre' (as the Japanese Air-Rex team appears to have been the first team to fly this pattern). When he suggested to try and fly it, I thought "yeah, right ...". Difficult to explain on paper, but the key part of the move is one kite snap-stalling in the centre of the wind window, while 4 kites star-burst away from it, then race back, and snap-stall as well in a tight box pattern around the first (and still) stalled kite. And it worked after some practice! Then we moved on to a much more daring 6-kite manoeuvre, which basically involved a large and a small triangle of kites moving through each other. And 6 kites then became 7, as Barry decided to add another kite to the fun. We did pull off both the 6- and the 7-kite manoeuvre in the end, but not without having to sort out several major line tangles. And sorry for not having any pictures of those patterns, but watching your own kite, the kites you need to maintain position with, and the kites you need to avoid crashing into leaves little opportunity to also take pictures ...

Barry, Fran, Tony: thanks a lot for giving up your day. We were really knackered at the end, but we look forward to the next one!

Oh, and one more thing: after having tried out our new Quechua tent at Portsmouth and Bristol, and now again at this Fun Flying day, I can say it's a really good buy. Plenty of room for storing our stuff, and getting kites out of bags, and also a good shelter when it rains and you want to watch others fly in the rain, while staying dry yourself (;o). And we're getting much better at folding it up again at the end of the day!

Monday 2 September 2013

Bristol Kite Festival

Bristol Kite Festival is often referred to as the best and the biggest in the UK, so shame on us for never having attended it! Last year, the organisers took a break, but this year it was back on again, so we took the opportunity to go see. Definitely not flying ourselves, so just chilling, watching, chatting and ground-crewing.

First up in terms of dual-line flying were Carl and James Robertshaw, who fly (or should I say 'flew'?) under the name Evolver. They didn't fly an official routine, but demonstrated the basics of dual-line (and quad-line) flying. So even if it wasn't an official Evolver performance, they still deserve a mention and a picture.

Officially on the programme was Team Spectrum who performed their usual show. Personally glad it included Carl's Chi Mai routine! By the way, Carl wasn't very lucky in his Barcelona routine: first he was interrupted by the PA mid-routine, and after re-starting, one of his lines broke in a strong gust ...

Flame, the reigning UK champions, flew several routines, and rather than post a photo, I'll link to a youtube video of their Two Tribes routine, as flown on Saturday, and made by Keith Griffiths (the video, that is; not the routine).

Josh Mitcheson flew his three kites, and this was the first time I've seen him fly three 'fire-tipped' T5s rather than the HQ Bebop Fire kites he normally flies. Much better kites, better performance!

Flying the Rev-flag were The Decorators in an 8-strong line-up; do they really need any more introduction?

Bristol was the last festival of the season for us, but we'll definitely be back in the coming years. More pictures, including some of the world's biggest kite, which just came off the ground, are here.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Portsmouth Kite Festival

The forecast in the week leading up to Portsmouth Kite Festival was pretty poor (read: rain both days), but we were really lucky! It was grey and overcast on Saturday, but no rain (although all day it felt like it was going to rain within the next two minutes). On Sunday, we only had some early drizzle, and it brightened up as the day progressed. The wind was challenging at times, quite blustery on Saturday, and much lighter but turbulent (coming over the hotels) on Sunday.

As usual in my festival-related blog posts, I'll focus on team-flying; a link to general photos will appear at the end of this post.

OK, dual-liners first! Team Spectrum flew solid performances, as always, but did struggle with the wind at times.

I was very glad that the wind had dropped enough on Sunday for Carl to fly his 'Chi Mai' routine, which remains my firm favourite.

Josh Mitcheson flew his one man - three kites routine (as well as a Rev routine). At only fifteen, the next Chris Goff maybe?

Cerfs-Volants Folie gave a couple of dazzling 9-kite shows. Absolutely fantastic and mesmerising to watch; pure kite magic!

And then there was Flying Fish!! We were not officially on the programme, but TC managed to squeeze us in both Saturday and Sunday (thanks again, TC!). Flew our mega-vented Matrix kites on Saturday and our Cheetahs on Sunday. Routines were a bit ragged at times, and there were a few small mistakes (including Irma slipping), but we got out of it and I don't feel we made a fool of ourselves. Really good for our experience to fly at a festival as big as Portsmouth.

On to the quad-line teams present: Decorators, Fusion, The Flying Squad and Karasu

Without meaning any disrespect to the other three teams, I just want to single out Karasu. Why? Several reasons. First of all, I'd not seen them fly before. Second, they flew Revolution Blasts, which I'd not seen done before. And third, their three routines were a great combination of dance, humour, and skill (Blasts were not designed for precision, and it was amazing to see how Karasu controlled them). On top of all that, Toru and Sachie are really delightful people. So here they are once more:

Of course, all Rev-fliers present joined in a 24-Rev mega-fly. It wouldn't be Portsmouth without it!

Over a hundred photos of the festival weekend can be found here. But I do want to highlight one particular kite. Who can fail to be impressed by a Rolf Zimmermann Wyverex? His name is Smorg!

Picture credit of us flying: Roger Backhouse

Monday 26 August 2013

Malmesbury Kite Festival - video update

In my blog post on the Malmesbury Kite Festival, I said that I wasn't aware of anyone taking pictures of us flying, but it turned out that someone did video the first of our two routines on the Sunday, when we flew our Cheetahs. With permission from Dave Green, who made the video, and should be regarded as the copyright owner, I post it here:

You can clearly see us struggling with the wind dropping away at times, and there is nothing like seeing a video of yourself flying for identifying the mistakes you are making ...

Dave, thanks again!

Saturday 17 August 2013

Flying Fish on Facebook

Completing the triumvirate of blog - twitter - facebook:

So you can now also visit Flying Fish on Facebook!

Glite - on one and two lines

In previous blog posts, I've already talked about my interest in the early history of dual-line kites. And gradually, I've build up a wee collection of early dual-liners. We've got a pair of Dunfords Flying Machines, we've got a Peter Powell, we've got a Gayla Baby Bat and Sky Spy rebridled for dual-line flying, I've built a Rogallo Flexikite and a Davis Rescue Star, and I've devoted several blog posts to the building of a pair of replica Target kites.

And here's the latest addition to our kite museum, a North Pacific Glite! Glites first came on the market in the 1960s (so prior to Peter Powells and Dunfords), and were sold as single-liners. But the instructions did contain some details on how to bridle it for dual-line flying. I wonder how many people actually did that, and I suspect most Glites lived their life as a single-liner. I managed to get my hands on a new Glite, still in its original package, for the princely sum of $8 (shipping from the US cost a lot more than the kite itself!). We decided to fly it first as a single-liner, with both tails coming off the spine. The Glite flew as you would expect a plastic 1970s kite to fly: needed a decent wind to stay airborne, but flew 'ok'. By the way, as a single-liner, the Glite doesn't have a bridle: the flying line connects directly to the spine.

Then, following the instructions, I bridled the Glite for dual-line flying. Nothing in the way of a fancy bridle: simply one attachment point low down on the spine, and one on each of the two leading edges. To increase manoeuvrability, I attached the two tails to the ends of the leading edges. First attempt was less of a success, but after some tweaking with the position of the tow points, I finally managed to get the Glite to fly basic loops and infinities (just about).

Of course, the Glite doesn't compare in any way to modern dual-line kites, but it's fun to go back to the dawn of dual-line flying. I guess that for someone in the 1960s or 70s, who only knew kites flying from a single line, being able to let a kite respond to commands was something special.

And in case you're wondering: no, I'm not looking for a 2nd one to fly in a pair routine (;o)

Sunday 11 August 2013

Wings on Strings: new line-up!

In an earlier blog post, I hinted at a change for Wings on Strings, and that change involves going back to a 3-man line-up. I say 'back', because Tony, Neil and Roger flew together as a 3-some before we joined L-katz. So here's the new line-up of Wings on Strings: Tony in #1 position, Neil in #2, and Roger in #3.

Plan for Wings on Strings is to familiarise themselves again with the 3-man routine they used to work on a few years ago, and take things from there, adapting and tweaking as they see fit. One of their first patterns was a pick-up going into a pyramid which then flew diamonds while maintaining pyramid formation:

They're still discussing whether Tony or Neil will do the calling, and haven't yet decided on the music they want to use. I look forward to seeing their routine take shape over the coming weeks and months. Hopefully coming to a festival near you in 2014!

Saturday 10 August 2013

Double Tramontana!

I've always liked the look of the Tramontana for its bold, unique and instantly recognisable sail layout. Recently, HQ reintroduced the Tramontana, as part of their 'retro' series of kites, and for quite a while, I've been uhm-ing and ah-ing as to whether to whether to get a pair to fly together.

Well, the uhm-ing and ah-ing has come to an end ... and here's our pair of Retro Tramontanas!

Now you may be aware that we like to have our pair kites at least slightly different in colour. That wasn't possible with the 'Tramys' as they only come with red wing tips (unlike the older Tramontanas, which came with a variety of wing tip colours). The solution for that was to get differently coloured tails! Premier transition tails, black/white/red for one, red/white/blue for the other. We got one 50' tail and two 25' tails per kite, and the tails can be hooked up to each other, so we can fly with 25' - 100' tails, depending on the wind. Or even with three tails per kite, 50' on the spine and 25' on both the wing tips. Kites and tails came from kiteworld, by the way.

The tails look really great on these kites, and we've basically decided to fly these kites primarily with tails. Perfect for a smooth flowing routine, choreographed especially for kites with tails. One day I'll actually write it (promise ...).

Thursday 8 August 2013

Flying Fish on twitter

I've never used twitter before, and haven't got the foggiest how it works, but as it's everywhere, and everyone is using it, I felt the best way to understand twitter was to start using it. It'll be kite-focused, just like this blog (no tweets about what I had for breakfast, promise!), and will complement this blog and link with it.

Flying Fish's twitter page is here, and I added a button to follow us on the right.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Tim, welcome to L-katz!

Before we joined the team, L-katz was simply a dual-line kite team. And even though we became part of the team, boosting its numbers from three to five, we already had a name for ourselves when flying as a pair (Flying Fish) and kept using that. Roger and Tony then started flying their pairs routine under the name Wings on String (more on that in a future blog post). So, gradually, L-katz turned more into an umbrella name for the team.

Although we can now fly dual-line pair and team routines in several different combinations, one aspect of dual-line flying isn't really represented in L-katz' portfolio: slack-line trick flying. And with that in mind, we have now invited Tim, Solent Kite Flyers' best trick flyer, to join L-katz officially.

In a way, this formalises something which has already been happening: Tim flew in trick-outs at Weymouth and Basingstoke, and flew full trick routines at Southampton and Brighton. He and Roger flew a pair routine involving Skydancers at Southampton, and, together with my VampDevil routine, first flown at Malmesbury, and the possibility for me to fly a solo Skydancer routine, or even join in with Tim and Roger for a 3-man Skydancer routine, we have several options to fly quad-line displays under the L-katz banner. And all that means that, depending on the circumstances, L-katz can fly a wide range of displays, involving dual-line pair or team flying, dual-line trick flying, and quad-line solo, pair or team flying. Plus there is something brewing involving Neil, Irma, and three kites; watch this space ...

Tim, welcome to L-katz!

Saturday 3 August 2013

Fire Dart

If you've been following my blog, you'll know we're partial to 'old school' kites for our pair- and team-flying. So when a full-size Fire Dart popped up on eBay, I couldn't resist a bid. Turned out I was the only bidder, and for £20, the Fire Dart was mine!

Fire Darts go back to the time that stand-offs were optional, and had to be bought as an extra separately. My Fire Dart didn't have any, but with some help from the good people at the Gone with the Wind forum, who were kind enough to measure the length of their stand-offs, I made a set from fibre glass, arrow knocks, end caps and some tubing on the lower spreader:

So how does it fly? Pretty well! Nice tracking, able to fly tight circles, and quite light on the lines. Officially, the wind range is 3-15mph, but it becomes quite hard to fly below 5mph, and can easily take 15mph and more.

Given how it flies, we want to try and get a second one, which will not be easy. And to make this even more difficult, we're going to be picky about the colour. Ideally black + another colour. So black/pink, black/yellow, black/blue. Even another black/red would do, as we can then turn the sail round so that it becomes the mirror image of the one we already have. Red/blue would also work. I've seen pictures of a white/blue one, which we'd also consider. Or basically any other combination of primary colours. But not yellow/pink, or pink/orange, or any other 'soft colour' combination.

Got one gathering dust? We can offer it air time and the company of its own kind!