A blog detailing our collection of Peter Powell kites, and chronicling our flying of these kites. Plus a bit of PP kite history thrown in. Our collection to date can be seen here. I am keen to expand the collection, so if you have an old Peter Powell kite, whether made in the UK or the US, gathering dust and looking for a new home, why not get in touch? Depending on the kite (does it bring something new or different to my collection?), its condition (is it flyable? how much TLC does it need?), and the price you ask (+ shipping if from outside the UK), we may well be able to do a deal.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mystery CKC delta ...

Seems like I'm starting to get better known as a collector of Peter Powell and associated kites: I was offered an unknown Caribbean Kites Company kite. Was I interested?

Now the kite in question had several issues. First of all, the sail was badly faded; and I mean really badly faded. Secondly, the sail had a large tear near one of the two stand-off connection points. And finally, the kite was lacking an upper spreader. Well, that was not quite true: the kite did have an upper spreader: a length of wooden plant stake.








And on top of all that, its identity was unknown! But as I didn't have that particular Caribbean Kite Company kite in my collection (no matter its actual identity) and the owner of the kite didn't want much for it, I took the gamble.

Obviously, I couldn't do anything about the fading, but the tear in the sail was fixable with some tape, and a fibreglass upper spreader was very quickly cut. But which model was I actually adding to my collection?

Fortunately, I got my hands on a Caribbean Kite Company catalogue some time ago, and that proved to be very helpful. Despite the heavily-faded sail, there was just enough colour left to pin it down as a Tobago, the continuation of the Peter Powell Kites Skychaser. Look at the fourth kite from the left in the bottom left picture: sail colours are the mirror image of my badly-faded kite, and the wing span also matched.


So here's my 'ghostly' Tobago on the ground, following the necessary TLC.


Ghost or not, how does it fly?


Well, not exactly brilliantly, and not nearly as well as its predecessor. It's a rather twitchy kite, which becomes rather difficult to control when it doesn't have constant wind pressure in the sail. But despite it not being the best-flying kite in my PP collection, it's the only Tobago!

Picture credit: Stephen Palmer (detail photos)

Sunday, 11 November 2018

11/11 @ 11am, and a Quadra Dazzle

As you may know, L-katz kite team has a set of four 'Poppy Powells'. And with Armistice Day falling on a Sunday, our usual team practice day, and the wind being well suitable for flying Peter Powells, we made sure to bring our 'Poppy Powells' to Stokes Bay.


At 11am, we had them up in the air, stationary and side-by-side, to commemorate the fallen.


With the wind being pretty much perfect, we were keen to try out a range of different moves and patterns, and especially keen to try and fly a series of moves called "Quadra Dazzle". Difficult to explain in words, so I'm showing a series of diagrams, which will hopefully make clear what the moves and patterns are.


We have flown the "Quadra Dazzle" with the team before, but never using Peter Powells, and never flying tails. It took some practice, especially knowing where the tails are relative to the kites, but we did it! And not just once, through sheer luck; we flew one "Quadra Dazzle" after the other! Don't just take my word for it; watch for yourself. There are four complete "Quadra Dazzles" in the video below, interspersed with other moves (Swiss Rolls, Cascade, Threads, Fountain, etc).


We didn't get them all right, let's be honest. A few attempts ended in the tail of one kite caught in the bridle lines of another. Not realising we had people behind us watching our displays, one of those tail catches was accompanied by a clearly audible "oooooh!" from the public.

Is this the first time ever that a kite team has flown the "Quadra Dazzle" with Peter Powell kites?

Video credit: Piyush Patel

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Star Trek 5-stack

I've been a Trekkie for as long as I can remember. I still recall my father coming into my bed room when I was a kid, carrying me, half-asleep, down the stairs to the living room, telling me I was now old enough. I must have been maybe 6 or so, and I was about to see my very first Star Trek episode. I never looked back ...

Now what does all this have to do with kites in general, or Peter Powell kites specifically? Very little, until I started playing around with ideas for a themed PP stack, and thought having a stack with symbols of several of the key 'powers' in Star Trek could work well. Bit more playing around resulted in designs for a set of five black PP Stunters, with the symbols of the Federation, Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons and the Borg:


Tails would be silver, blue, green, red and white, to match the main colours of the respective symbols. And, ideally, the bridle and stacking arrangement would be fully flexible, so any of the five kites could be used as the lead kite. Time will tell whether this Star Trek 5-stack will ever become reality!

Oh, and in case you're wondering what my first-ever Star Trek episode was ... "Trouble with Tribbles".

Monday, 5 November 2018

Building a Skychaser stack

A little over a year ago, I got my hands on the second-smallest Peter Powell delta: the Skychaser. As I mentioned in that blog post, because Skychasers were very much promoted as a stackable kite, I would keep my eyes open for more Skychasers, with the aim of gradually building up a Skychaser stack.

My eyes had to remain open for quite a while, but eventually they did spot (and got hold of) a second Skychaser, so I now have a 2-stack of them!


As the kites are quite small (1.26m wing span), I made a set of relatively short stacking lines, but the only way to test whether stacking lines are the correct length is of course to fly the stack.


They really well flew stacked, and it appears my choice of stacking line length was pretty much spot-on.


In my earlier blog post, I described the Skychaser as a zippy kite, and that zippiness remains a characteristic when stacked. They respond well to input, without much oversteer. Obviously, small as they are, even as a stack they hardly develop any serious pull.

I will be looking to add more Skychasers to the stack, so my eyes will have to remain open for the foreseeable future. See how far I get!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Poppins PP

It's been a while since I last posted about a new addition to the Peter Powell collection. Guess that's to be expected: as the collection grows, there are fewer 'new' kites to be added.

But that most certainly doesn't mean my collection is complete! And I'm pretty sure it will never reach that final stage. So here's the latest addition to the PP collection: a Poppins-branded Peter Powell Stunter.


Now before everyone spontaneously bursts out in "Let's Go Fly a Kite!" song, this particular Poppins is not one of the Mary variety ... We're talking here about a kite branded to promote the Poppins chain of restaurants, which is still in existence today.


So how does the Poppins PP fly?


The kite came to me with the upper bridle legs shortened by a loop tied into them. Well, that made the kite basically unflyable, but once I'd untied those loops, it flew very much as you would expect a PP Stunter to fly. No clue why the bridle legs were shortened this way ...


By the way, after the Round Table and BP Peter Powells, this is my third vintage promo kite. Obviously, I'm not going to collect any modern Mk III promo kites, as there are basically a near-infinite number of them. But any vintage promo PP is fair game ...

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Mustique!

Two years ago, I got my hands on a Peter Powell Kites Skylite. When the US arm of Peter Powell Kites became independent under the name Caribbean Kite Company, the Skylite was one of the models they continued, renamed Mustique. Needless to say, I've been looking for a Mustique ever since adding a Skylite to the collection ...

Two years on, there was a kite auction that I did not attend, there was a friend who did attend, and you probably don't have to guess very long that he grabbed a Mustique for me, in the same colour scheme as my Skylite; thank you, you know who you are!

So here's our Mustique, which, incidentally, looked brand new, on the ground and in the air:



Of course, the Mustique and Skylite had to be flown together, and after a bit of bridle tweaking on the Mustique, they behaved themselves pretty well.



Can you tell which is which? Certainly not so easy when they're at the end of 45m lines! Closer up, there are some differences. First of all, they have of course different labels sewn in.










And, secondly, the spine of the Skylite is contained within a sleeve at the back of the sail, whereas the Mustique spine is 'naked' at the back of the sail.













Differences aside, I'm of course pretty pleased to have a Skylite-Mustique pair in my collection. Can't be many of those around!


Monday, 18 June 2018

#50!

About three years ago, I decided to start a Peter Powell kites collection. If you've been following this blog, you'll know that the collection has been growing steadily, and I'm pleased to announce the 50th PP kite here!

Fittingly, it's a very early model: Mk I with aluminium frame.


Not the first alu-framed PP in the collection, as I already have a one with a yellow sail. Alu-framed PPs came in different versions, which can be told apart by the diameter of the aluminium rod. As far as I can tell, this blue Stunter is the same version as my yellow one. Nice thing about this blue one is new and unflown! So here it is in its maiden flight.


It was very happy up in the air, after having spent more than 40 years packaged up, waiting for the chance to take to the sky ... Flight characteristics are exactly as you would expect from an early alu-framed Stunter: very steerable as long as it has decent pressure on the sail.


Welcome to my collection, #50, and on to the next 50!