Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Double Oxray!

If you mention the name 'Dunford' to a kite enthusiast, he or she will surely think of his Flying Machine. Much less well-known is the fact that Don Dunford designed more kites besides the Flying Machine: the Stingray and related kites. This 'family' of kites consists of three: the basic Stingray, the Oxray (an improved version of the Stingray) and the Skyblade (a larger, multi-coloured Oxray). Being interested in the early history of dual-line kites, of course I've been keeping my eyes peeled for these kites, and the Oxray turns out to be like buses: don't see one for ages, and then two pop up ...

One of these two was a present from Bill Souten / MKF, the other one came straight from the original source, as Cochranes of Oxford still had a few in their warehouses (before you ask: yes, they also had a basic Stingray and a Skyblade!).

Oxrays are small kites (99 cm wing span) and are fun and easy kites to fly, but do need constant wind pressure on the sail, 10-12mph is ideal. This means they don't like stalling or flying at the edge of the wind window. But they can really turn on a dime, though!

Having two of them means we have to fly them as a pair, of course.

Flying them side by side shows they're not exactly the best precision kites. They're very sensitive to input so difficult to get them to track well. We took them through a series of official STACK figures, and I don't think we would have scored high for any of them .... Still, we had fun flying them together, and I don't think there are many kite teams in the world who have a pair of Dunford Oxrays in their quiver!

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