Aeronautical Instruments & Tools
Price = n/a
'Conyne' Pattern Aerial Kite and Tube
Another aerial kit we are listing today but this one is proving a bit of a mystery! When purchased it was described as 'for use in conjunction with the Airborne Lifeboat '. Research online does indicates in 1943 the Air Ministry refined the antenna raising system further; they were apparently happy with the 'Gibson Girl' transmitter but the box kite was superseded by a Conyne design which could be rocket launched with the aid of a Very pistol. Whilst our kite looks very similar in shape and design with a lightweight white cotton sail and aluminium struts, they differed from this example as the spars were engineered with a spring system to open the kite in the air after launch. Ours whilst initially similar has to be assembled by hand so we have discounted this possibility. The issue tube is clearly marked 'Assembly and Operation of Hand Flying Kite and Aerial' but the detailed instructions don't really assist with a positive identification as no RAF or other stores reference numbers are shown. Interestingly the illustration (further detailed photographs are available on request) shows a gent in a sailors cap in apparently a wooden craft. We have discussed this conundrum with Mick Prodger and whilst only a guess he wondered if it could have been issued for use by Naval or Merchant Navy lifeboats WWII? To further confuse the situation I remember as a boy in the 1950's being given a similarly designed kite by my Father who at the time was the C/O of the Air Section of a school cadet Force and my memory tells me it was ex RAF. It could always be an Airborne lifeboat kite as described to us but a standard launch example but let's just say the jury is still out!
Suffice to say a rather scarcer pattern than the standard RAF box kite design, as per the mint example we have listed. The condition of this one is not perfect but despite the odd repair and minor damage and some staining to the cloth it remains in remarkably good display condition. The collapsible frame is made from aluminium whilst the front pole to which the aerial would have been attached is hardwood. Interestingly this is considerably longer than the storage tube ; it may be this is not original to the kite or it was packed separately or even perhaps the transit tube has been misplaced with another. So currently we have more questions than answers but if any visitors to the site can clarify the origins of this example we would be delighted to hear from them and we can add new information to this listing. The cardboard and metal storage tube measures 30.5" (77 cm) whilst the kite measured along the main spar is 51" (130 cm)