Rotor Plane Kite

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Foreword

As a kid in the late 1970's my parents returned from overseas with a plastic kite that absolutely fascinated me. I think it is what got me involved in flying things, and I have very fond memories of flying on a pleasent afternoon.

The kite was a plane made of a light yellow plastic shell, with red tail fins, and two very long 'S' shaped rotating wings, rotating on a wire bend slightly upward in a dihedral. Maybe a 1/2 meter or so across, though its hard to remember sizes when you are a kid only just starting high school.

As you can see I had studied it, burning it into my head. I remember pegging it out so it flew a few meters (yards) up, and me lying underneath just watching as the wings rotated, lifting the plane so it flew above me.

I remember my brothers kite loosing a wing when he flew it from a cliff over the ocean, and my own just wearing out from constant use. Since then I have been looking for the kite. (Found it, see below)

I also remember seeing a larger version, made completely from Styrofoam, in a tourist shop while on vacation, but I was pulled away before I could look at it for very long. Never seen one type since. :-(

GuntherTurboplan (Germany)

[photo] The above resulting in an annonymous mail being sent to me pointing me to a german toy company, Gunther -- Everything that flies.

They list in thier online catalog the toy plane kite I remembered so well. right down to the same colors. It is 64cm wing span with and 29cm length, and comes with its own flying line.

I am putting in an order, and hope to get a much better photo of one soon.


Aero Kite (Canada)

A manufacturer of flying toys in canada and was very suprise when thye found the above pictures of the kite made in Germany. It looks very simular to their own product.

The Canadian Aero Kite is aviable via their web site www.aerokite.ca
[photo] [photo]

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Comparision of the two versions

I recommend the Candian "AeroKite", as the bearings on the wings have a metel eyelet added to allow the kite to last longer, and a good handle winder and proper kiteline is provided.

The German "Turboplan" do not have the metal bearings, resulting in the plastic wings wearing out after only a few hours of flying in a good afternoon sea breeze. Also the german line is on a platic reel that has no simple way to 'lock' the line at a specific length for pegging the kite down. The line is also a very light mono-filiment line, meaning it will break with any sort of wear, and difficult to tie knots in. I junked that line for more 'normal' twisted nylon line to fly the kite.

I'd say there is no contest between the products. Just from the details of the product and the photos, the Canadian Aerokite wins hands down.


Mail from Trevor de Vis

Trevor de Vis on Thursday, November 28, 2002 wrote...
Just as a matter if interest, in about 1979/80 I received a rotor kite for chrissy. It had a longitudinal styrofoam fish shaped body, with an axle bearing at the top. From this bearing 2 rotors spun on either side of the body, the bridle being attached to the nose of the fish. It flew well, with a slightly nose down attitude. I haven't seen one in the shops since, so it was probably just a Christmas special. I'll bet it separated a lot of parents from their hard-earned though!!

I asked for clarification, to be sure I understood what he meant by "fish shaped body". I thought it might ne just a dual wing classical rotor with fish shaped tubes of thin styro, similar to those now in the shops. I was flabbergasted with the reply, which is the reason I added his mails to this page.

[photo] Saturday, 30 November, 2002...

Pardon my drawing skills with MS Paint...but you should get the general idea from this. I'm going to try and make something similar from balsa, but I've got to sort out what I'm going to do where the axle passes through the body. I am considering skateboard bearings as they're small & unsealed (open, and easy to spin).

A long dowel as the axle would have some flex, and hopefully cause the two rotors to try and fly 'toward' each other, thus providing some stability. A sandwich construction for the body would make it easy to provide multiple tow points.

You can't really tell from my drawing, but the kite did have end disc's on the wings, can't remember if they were styrofoam, or a plastic shell as the rotors were.

I wish Trevor, good luck, and hope he will let me know the results of his experiments.

Mail from Denis Manton

Denis Manton mailed me on Saturday, 9 September 2006...
I have been googling stuff relating to wing lift generated by vortex shedding and suddenly had a flash about a kite toy with rotating wings that I was given as a christmas gift in about 1957. My toy kite was very similar in design and the same in principal as those refered to on your site.

To the best of my recollection (I was eight at the time) my kite used cream coloured venetion blind slats as wings. It was mostly constructed from aluminium wich was either painted red or was natural aluminium. The span was about two feet with the fusilage being about a foot long. It flew as a kite really well given it was quite heavy. A loud whirring sound was made as it flew at the end of its tether. As described in some of the descriptions of these kites, mine had circular endplates at each end of the wings plus an external 2 bar frame to support the flimsy foils.

I myself had a simular experience. It was a airplane kite exactly like the one shown above that probably caused my adult interest in kites, and in particular unusual kites.

But aluminium construction, wow.

I hope we both can find out more.


Created: 2 December 2002
Updated: 10 September 2006
Page by: Anthony Thyssen, <anthony@cit.gu.edu.au>
WWW URL: http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~anthony/kites/rotor/plane/