Wednesday 22 April 2015

Double Martinelli!

Sometimes you just stumble across some kites, and the offer is such that you simply can't refuse ... I have to admit I'd never heard of a kite builder called Ron Martinelli, and had never seen a Martinelli kite until I saw a pair for sale at Windswept Kites, for a price equivalent to around £18 ... That's £18 for the pair! They looked like a smaller version of a Top of the Line Spin-Off, and they looked like they would be a hoot to fly as a pair when the wind picks up. Needless to say, the pair is ours now, and here they are at our primary pair-flying site:

I googled around, trying to find more information on the kites, at the very least the model name, but drew blanks all over. Until I got in touch with Ron himself, who told me that the kites were made in the 1980s, that only something like 15-20 were ever made (one of which is in the Weifang Kite Museum in China), and that they didn't have a specific name. So without knowing it, I got my hands on a pair of pretty rare Martinelli kites!

So what about their flight characteristics? They look like small Spin-Offs (wing span is 1.91m, as opposed to 2.47m for a TotL Spin-Off), and they fly like a Spin-Off ... on steroids. As you might expect, they do need a decent wind to get going, but once the wind goes above, say, 12mph, they are really in their element.

And what about flying them as a pair? Fast, noisy, and a hoot to fly together! A really fun pair of kites to pull out on a windy day, at the end of a practice session, and just have pure, unadulterated, fast and furious FUN!

Saturday 4 April 2015

Double Skynasaur!

Few years ago, we got ourselves a Skynasaur Aerobat. Dating back to the 1980s, it's a small-ish and relatively heavy kite, which has the typical Rogallo shape when it flies. No stand-offs, though: the Rogallo shape purely comes from the pressure of the wind on the sail. It's a fun nippy kite to fly, but it does need a decent wind, both because of it being rather heavy for its size, as well as because it needs the wind to create the Rogallo shape.

Recently, we got our hands on a second Skynasaur Aerobat, via Windswept Kites. Same size, different colour, and bridled in a different way (second, orange Skynasaur has a control bar, which our first, red one lacks)  Now we're a kite-flying pair, we got a pair of essentially the same kites, so why not try and fly them together?

Turns out it works pretty well! The kites look rather small at the end of 40+5m lines, given that we're used to seeing kites with a wing span of around 2.40-2.50m at the end of our lines, and the Skynasaurs measure just over 1.30m. But they're pretty responsive to input, and simply fun to fly. We went through several figures with them, and even managed a few refuels! The one thing they don't like is anything that takes the wind out of the sails, even for a second. So they're not keen on boxes or any other sudden changes in direction. And they're really not keen on the edge of the wind window. All a result of them not having stand-offs, and so needing the push of the wind to maintain their shape.

So Flying Fish has another pair of kites to add to their team quiver! Not a pair we will use for official routines at festivals or competitions, but a pair to have fun with at the end of a practice session on a windy day. They're in our team bags now!