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A flying fox is a small cable car, often propelled by gravity, and used as an item of children's play equipment and more rarely for other purposes. The term flying fox is Australian English and New Zealand English. In other countries, it is also known as a zip-line or zip-wire. The toy should not be confused with a (or fox tail), which is a children's toy consisting of a ball with a rope attached to it, allowing it to be thrown like a sling.
In South Africa it is referred to as a Foofy Slide.
The cable is fixed at both ends and runs through one or more pulleys attached to the car. The car basically consists of anything from a handle for the passenger to grip on, or a bucket for transporting small items, to a fairly elaborate construction that may include a seat, a safety strap or a box with a lid.
A flying fox is a common way to return participants to the ground at the end of a ropes adventure course. Out in the Australian Outback, in the past, flying foxes were occasionally used for delivering food, cigarettes or tools to people working on the other side of an obstacle, such as a gully or river. Australian troops have used them to deliver food, mail and ammunition to forward positions in several conflicts.
In order to be propelled by gravity, the cable needs to start from a high point and to travel down to a bottom end, typically forming a steep slope. Even then the car may generally not travel completely to the end, depending on its load. Means of safely stopping the car at the bottom end is sometimes needed. The car can be returned by several means, either by simply pushing it back to the top of the hill on foot (as is common in children's play equipment as they do not hang far from the ground) or a line leading from the car to the uphill end.
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