Thursday 27 December 2018

Double Swallowtail!

A number of years ago, through eBay, I got my hands on one of Tim Benson's earlier creations: a Fizz Swallowtail. I really liked the way it looked in the sky, with the large 'tail fin'. We do have something with kites and tail fins, don't we?

Anyway, due to our increasing focus on pair-flying, the Swallowtail didn't leave the kite bag very often. There is, of course, a very simple way to remedy this: get a second one, so we can fly a pair of Swallowtails! These kites are not exactly common on the 2nd hand market, so I asked the one person in the UK who would know where I might be able to get my hands on a second Swallowtail. To make a pretty short story even shorter: said person was willing to sell one of his own (almost unflown) Swallowtails, knowing where it would find a home. Thank you; you know who you are!

So here's our pair of Swallowtails:

The blue-green kite is the one we already had, and will usually be flown by me; the pink-black kite is our new one, usually to be flown by Irma.

You have to admit they really have presence in the sky, don't you?

Saturday 22 December 2018

Spin-Offs galore (Hawaiians part 2)!

Recently, I posted on the rapid increase of Hawaiians in our pair quiver. Well, that blog post was only part of the story .... keep in mind that the Top of the Line Spin-Off is officially called Hawaiian Spin-Off!

Our collection of Spin-Offs started off quite innocently, with two early 'plain sail, no stand-offs' kites.

That allowed us to fly Spin-Offs as a pair, which we have done on our own, but so far never at a festival:

And then I got my hands on a unique pair of Spin-Offs, custom-made for and originally flown by Ron Reich. You can read the full story on these kites here.

Again we had a pair of Spin-Offs to fly, and this time we did fly them at festivals, with their UK debut at Portsmouth in 2016.

Things were quiet for a while on the Spin-Off front, until I was basically given another (plain) Spin-Off, this time with a pink sail, ...

... followed by a (plain yellow) Spin-Off sail ...

... which, of course, was duly framed.

Having four plain Spin-Offs, in four different colours, enables us to fly them with our L-katz team (I'll take some pictures when all four are in the sky together).

Now if you thought that was 'it' in terms of Spin-Offs, think again, because things didn't stop there ... Completely independently from each other, and almost at the same time, I was asked if I was interested in a Spin-Off, in excellent condition. These two Spin-Offs were of a later version, with a more elaborate sail design and with stand-offs, and they were a very good match in terms of colours: they were identical ... what are the chances of that happening?

Fellow kite-flyers around the world, we do have enough Hawaiians now, both Hawaiian Team and Hawaiian Spin-Off. So not looking to add more to the pair/team quiver. Until the next one with an unusual sail design and/or sail colours pops up. Then all bets are off. Just don't tell Irma, ok?

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Gibson Girls

Any kite flyer reading this will very likely have heard of the 'Gibson Girl' kite. A single-line box kite which was part of the survival kit on board war planes during WWII. In the event of an accident, the kite, carrying an antenna, could be launched, and the accompanying radio could then be used to request rescue. More information on the Gibson Girl kite can be found here.

Gibson Girls pop up on eBay quite regularly, often in very good shape, and at some point in the past, I felt I ought to have and fly one. Here's our very own Gibson Girl, on the ground, and where she belongs.

The kite, being quite heavy, needs a good breeze to fly properly, but is very happy especially when the wind goes north of 20mph.

Gibson Girls on eBay vary a lot in their asking price, with some listed for well over £100. I wasn't at all planning to get a second one, but when one popped up with a Buy-It-Now price of £15, my finger decided for itself ....

So Flying Fish now has a pair of Gibson Girls!

Of course, being single-line box kites, they're not suitable for any sort of choreographed routine, but they do offer the option of something different to fly for Flying Fish at festivals, in an appropriate single-line slot.

By the way, in case you're wondering: the origin of the name 'Gibson Girl' lies with the American graphic artist Charles Dana Gibson. The Gibson Girl represented his ideal for feminine beauty, with a strong emphasis on curves.

The reason that the name got attached to the kite was due to the radio transmitter. It had some of the 'hourglass' curves of the real Gibson Girl.

So the name 'Gibson Girl' went from actual women to the radio transmitter to the kite, losing all curves in the process!