Saturday, 17 August 2013

Glite - on one and two lines

In previous blog posts, I've already talked about my interest in the early history of dual-line kites. And gradually, I've build up a wee collection of early dual-liners. We've got a pair of Dunfords Flying Machines, we've got a Peter Powell, we've got a Gayla Baby Bat and Sky Spy rebridled for dual-line flying, I've built a Rogallo Flexikite and a Davis Rescue Star, and I've devoted several blog posts to the building of a pair of replica Target kites.

And here's the latest addition to our kite museum, a North Pacific Glite! Glites first came on the market in the 1960s (so prior to Peter Powells and Dunfords), and were sold as single-liners. But the instructions did contain some details on how to bridle it for dual-line flying. I wonder how many people actually did that, and I suspect most Glites lived their life as a single-liner. I managed to get my hands on a new Glite, still in its original package, for the princely sum of $8 (shipping from the US cost a lot more than the kite itself!). We decided to fly it first as a single-liner, with both tails coming off the spine. The Glite flew as you would expect a plastic 1970s kite to fly: needed a decent wind to stay airborne, but flew 'ok'. By the way, as a single-liner, the Glite doesn't have a bridle: the flying line connects directly to the spine.

Then, following the instructions, I bridled the Glite for dual-line flying. Nothing in the way of a fancy bridle: simply one attachment point low down on the spine, and one on each of the two leading edges. To increase manoeuvrability, I attached the two tails to the ends of the leading edges. First attempt was less of a success, but after some tweaking with the position of the tow points, I finally managed to get the Glite to fly basic loops and infinities (just about).

Of course, the Glite doesn't compare in any way to modern dual-line kites, but it's fun to go back to the dawn of dual-line flying. I guess that for someone in the 1960s or 70s, who only knew kites flying from a single line, being able to let a kite respond to commands was something special.

And in case you're wondering: no, I'm not looking for a 2nd one to fly in a pair routine (;o)


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