Thursday, 7 December 2017

El Pronto

If you know me as a kite-flyer, you may well know I have a weak spot for 'unusual' kites. Years ago, when I stumbled across a Cerfs-Volants Azur Tandem for sale, I couldn't resist. It turned out this kite is a very good team kite, so when I had the opportunity to get my hands on a second one, I pounced. Since then, we really enjoy flying our pair of 'Azurs' together!










Cerfs-Volants Azur was a Canadian company, producing kites in the 1990s. Their top-of-the-range 'Tandem' team kite (it sold for well over $300 in those days, so far from cheap!) had an unusual design with an extra pair of winglets near the bottom end of the spine. As I mentioned above, they are excellent 'old school' team kites, tracking extremely well, and with little variation in flying speed across a wide range of wind speeds.

The company produced more models, most of which were pretty normal-looking dual-liners. Except one ....

In an attempt to break into the emerging trick kite market, Cerfs-Volants Azur produced the El Pronto. Where the Tandem has a pair of extra winglets near the bottom of the spine, the El Pronto has a flat 'stabiliser' at the tail. Currently it's a very rare kite; I've seen just a few pictures on the web, and only ever come across one for sale. That one, you guessed it, is now in my possession (thanks for giving me first dibs, Charly!).


The El Pronto really is a gorgeous-looking kite! Against the sky, because of the use of ripstop as well as mylar in the sail, the kite appears to made of stained glass.



In terms of flight characteristics, it doesn't feel as solid on the lines as the Tamdem. Slightly nimbler, but it has the same level of tracking as its older brother. In terms of tricks, it does axels and half-axels easier than the Tandem, but that's not very difficult to achieve: the Tandem can be coaxed into flying (half-)axels, but only very reluctantly (and that extra pair of winglets is always ready to snag your line if you don't give plenty of slack). Keep in mind that I'm not a trick flyer, and my tricking skills are pretty basic.


Given the looks and flying characteristics of the kite, I'd be very happy to add a second El Pronto to our pair quiver should I stumble across another one; colour not important!