Thursday, 30 June 2016

Double Sky Rider!

The Ariel Sky Rider was one of the diamond stunt kites that came on the market in the late 1970s in the wake of the success of Peter Powell kites. I've only ever seen two Sky Riders 'in the flesh': One was part of a job lot of 1970s dual-liners (which mostly contained Peter Powells) that I bought from Allan Pothercary. The other one was a gift from ........ the very same Allan Pothecary.

So here are our two Ariel Sky Riders!

Note that Sky Riders do not have cross spars. The (aluminium) frame consists of a spine and two leading edges. The first one came with an original black tail, while the second one came without tail. I added a purple Trlby tail, to match the lettering on the sail. So how do the Sky Riders fly?

Well, even though Sky Riders proudly proclaim on the sail to be 'the first 100mph kite' (not clear whether that refers to the wind speed or their own potential speed), their flight characteristics are less than impressive. They're very twitchy, and not very good at consistently catching the wind. In other words, they stall unpredictably, and then require extra efforts just to keep them flying. This may well be due to the high level of flexibility of the frame, and lack of cross spars. Their flight behaviour makes it quite a challenge to fly two of them together.

In summary, it's fun to have them as part of a collection of early dual-liners, but they're not even in the same league as a contemporary Peter Powell. So don't expect Flying Fish to fly them for anything serious.

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