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Original Issue


There is a yellow-and-red object speeding through the sky these days that isn't a bird or a plane and bears not the slightest resemblance to Superman. It is a Frisbee-like toy called the Skyro, a flat, plastic-and-rubber ring promoted by the manufacturer, Parker Brothers, as "the long distance flyer."

The Skyro has earned this designation honestly. On June 9 of this year at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco a Skyro was thrown 286 yards, setting a Guinness record for "the greatest distance an object has been thrown purely by muscle power" and nearly doubling the longest recorded Frisbee throw (144 yards). Flying-disc pro Tom McRann, who set the record, claims that in a subsequent exhibition in Los Angeles, aided by a strong tail wind, he was able to airmail a Skyro almost a quarter of a mile.

Not every player can achieve such Herculean results, but even a novice, with a little practice and a smooth, relaxed delivery, can get off soaring throws of exhilarating length. Experienced players of average ability can stand apart the length of a football field and play catch with little difficulty.

A Skyro can be gently bent to fine-tune its aerodynamic shape and vary its flight pattern, though if bent too far the ring will wobble pitifully or dive earthward. It can be thrown backhand or sidearm and can be used for an array of trick shots and in any of the popular flying-disc competitions, such as freestyle contests and football-and golf-related games. It is more portable than a disc because you can slip it over the handlebar of a bicycle, or, if your proboscis doesn't protrude too far, you can wear it around your neck.

As the Concorde of flying toys, the Skyro may sometimes perform too well. It flies so fast, high and far that it can behave as if it has been skyjacked, drifting up into a treetop or out into the ocean or bonking an unsuspecting bystander. Just one-eighth of an inch thick, the ring is virtually invisible when it approaches you near eye level. And though Skyros are a sturdy breed, high-speed collisions with walls or pavement can damage them.

For these reasons the Skyro should be used only in wide-open spaces, perhaps the same areas where you would fly a kite. That would not only be safest, but would also allow you to take the fullest advantage of the high-performance qualities engineered into the ring. In any case, when you're ready to have a fling, who wants a crowd around?