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 these kites. (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 since. :-( |
Recently someone reading this page gave me a pointer to a YouTube Video (in dutch) for a 1973 TV Advertisement of the kite. Though I don't think the sound of the plane in the video is quite right. But Enjoy!
Rotaplane kite 1973
They list in their online catalog the toy plane kite I remembered so well. Right down to the exact same colors. It is 64cm wing span with and 29cm length, and comes with its own flying line.
I put in an order for a box of them, and sold a number to fellow kite flyers. Everyone enjoyed the unusual kite immensely.
|A manufacturer of flying toys in Canada and was very surprised when they found the above pictures of the kite made in Germany. It looks very similar to their own product.|
The Canadian Aero Kite is available via their web site www.aerokite.ca
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 be 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.
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.
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 referred to on your site. To the best of my recollection (I was eight at the time) my kite used cream coloured venetian blind slats as wings. It was mostly constructed from aluminum which was either painted red or was natural aluminum. The span was about two feet with the fuselage 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 end plates at each end of the wings plus an external 2 bar frame to support the flimsy foils.
I myself had a similar 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 aluminum construction, wow. I hope we both can find out more.