Monday 21 December 2020

Double Sky Cat!

About four years ago, I got my hands on a Sky Cat. Or, to give it its full name, a "Sky Cat RCWI Parawing Stunter Kite". 

Dating from the 1980s, it's easy to dismiss it as just another Peter Powell clone, but it's definitely not a complete copy. First of all, it doesn't have a cross spar, just a spine and leading edges. Secondly, the frame is much more flexible than that of a Peter Powell. You may think that increased flexibility will make it a rather flimsy kite to fly, the opposite is actually true. It flies very smoothly, the flexible frame absorbing variations in wind speed, needs minimal input, and doesn't oversteer nearly as much as many other dual-line diamond kites of that period.

The Sky Cat does come with a narrow ribbon to tie to the spine and use as tail, but it certainly doesn't need it for stabilising purposes. Without tail, it flies as smoothly as with it.

Fast forward by almost four years, and another Sky Cat popped up in eBay, with a princely starting bid of £8; I was the only bidder .... 

This one didn't come with its tail, but as the kite really doesn't need one, I didn't bother trying to find a matching ribbon.

Second Sky Cat showed the same smooth flight characteristics as its sibling.

Next step is pretty obvious, isn't it? Fly them together! And it will probably not have escaped you that the sails of the two kites are each other's mirror images: blue with a yellow 'butt', and yellow with a blue 'butt'.

They flew very well together, speeds completely equal (which is good, as the bridle isn't easily adjustable), and generally matched in terms of flight characteristics.

Sky Cats are obviously not kites we'll ever use in competition, but to have a bit of fun with after a practice session, they're a really nice addition to our quiver of paired vintage kites!