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.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A wee restoration project ...

If I'm basically given an old Peter Powell kite, needing some TLC to get it flying again, I'm not going to say 'no' and condemn the kite to the dustbin, am I?

Here's the kite in question: a ripstop Mk II:


Sail is faded, quite a bit actually, but is generally in pretty good nick; no rips or tears. Cross spreaders are missing, and the spine is broken in two. When I said 'some TLC', I actually mean 'quite a bit' ...

Now it so happens that last year I was given a complete fibreglass frame, and since then, I've acquired some more spars and bits and pieces. Plenty to get this faded orange Mk II back in the air again; watch this space!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Jamaica

So far, I've only been able to get my hands on three kites from the Caribbean Kite Company: a single Cayman in the older chevron colour pattern, and a pair of Caymans in the later colour pattern. But the company also produced a wide range of dual-line deltas, and even a quad-liner.

Thanks to eBay-US (and a friendly fellow kite flyer who was willing to bid for the kite on my behalf, and ship it to the UK), I've now been able to add the first dual-line delta from the Caribbean Kite Company to my Peter Powell Kites collection: a Jamaica (virtually all their kite models were named after Caribbean islands).


The Jamaica is a relatively small kite: wing span of 1.63m. It has a fibreglass frame and is also quite flat. That flatness really influences its flight behaviour.


The kite needs a decent breeze putting pressure in the sail all the time; it doesn't like the edge of the wind window. Jamaica also tends to oversteer quite a bit. But even though it is not much more than a glorified beach kite, I did manage to axel it! Just about, but still ...


The self-proclaimed ambition of the Caribbean Kite Company was to produce kites of the highest quality, to be the benchmark for top-end sports kites. This Jamaica certainly doesn't tick that box, but it may well have been aimed at the lower end of the market, with the larger models targeting that top-end. Guess I'll find out once I get my hands on them, won't I?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Another bicolour ripstop Mk II

You know the saying about buses, don't you? Wait for one for ages, and then two pass by. Same with kites sometimes. Recently, I got my hands on a teal/pink ripstop Mk II Peter Powell through eBay, and very shortly afterwards, a very similar one popped up on eBay. This time the colours were green and pink.


Wind was quite variable when we flew it for the first time (as the previous one, with a modern pink tail), so it certainly didn't perform optimally, but flying it did!










Now, having two very similar PPs like this, we had to fly them together, of course.


The wind was quite difficult for flying a pair of PPs properly, but we gave it our best shot.


Incidentally, I just realised that this is my 50th blog post here!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Giant Peter Powell

A standard PP Stunter has a 4' wing span, right? And the US arm of Peter Powell Kites created a 6' version, called 'The Monster'. Do you want to hear about a Peter Powell kite a bit bigger than that? Quite a bit bigger, in fact: we're talking 30' (!!) wing span?

No, this was never a commercial product, but a 30' Peter Powell did fly once, if only very briefly. I don't know exactly when this happened, but I stumbled across the following one day:


If anyone reading this has more information on this unique "Giant" PP, please let me know!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Double Cayman!

We can debate until the cows come home as to whether Cayman kites made by the Caribbean Kite Company are Peter Powells or not. In one sense, they're obviously not, as they don't have a name or label anywhere proclaiming them to be PP kites. But, as I argued earlier, in another sense they are Peter Powells 'in spirit', and, to me, they're very much part of the story.

I already got a Caribbean Kite Company Cayman, in the older chevron colour pattern, and I'm very pleased now to have been able to add a pair of Cayman kites, in the later colour pattern, to the collection! Despite being new and unused, they only cost me $10 each (plus shipping and customs/import charges).










They came with blue tails, but I replaced these with modern green and red tails, to match the central stripe in one kite, and the leading edges in the other.










Obviously, they need to be flown together!



They felt really light and nimble on the lines, and didn't need the same wind strength of a 'normal' PP to fly. Which made me wonder and weigh the kites .... Turned out the weight of one kite (without the tail) is 222 gr. Compare that to the 262 gr for a modern PP with standard fibreglass frame .... That's a 15% weight reduction; do we have an ultralight PP in all but name here? And remember, they only cost me $10 each ... Bargain or what?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A teal & pink ripstop Mk II

I've mentioned before that ripstop Mk II Peter Powell Stunters don't pop up for sale often. But eBay is my friend, and I did manage to get my hands on another one, this time with a bi-colour teal/pink sail:


The kite didn't come with a tail, so I got myself a modern pink Peter Powell tail to match the pink half of the sail.


It flew exactly as you would expect a PP Stunter to fly. One issue developed during its maiden flight, though: one of the leading edge spars repeatedly came loose from the nose piece, causing the kite to collapse in mid-flight and the spine to come out as well. Nothing that some TLC (tape-led care) can't deal with, though.

By the way, does anyone know how many different sail patterns were used for ripstop Mk II kites? Obviously, single colour sail, and bi-colour half & half sail, but I don't think I've seen any other patterns on UK-made ripstop Mk II kites (US-made is a different story ...).

Finally, Irma was quite pleased with how her photo of the kite in a tight spin turned out!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Granny up!

If you're UK-based, you may have seen the interview that Mark and Paul gave on BBC Breakfast this Saturday morning.








Very nice interview, touching upon the rise and fall of Peter's kite business in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and the resurrection of the PP Stunter by Mark and Paul, behind Peter's back, in the last couple of years.

The interview was interspersed with some old footage, and, for me, one piece of footage really stood out. You may have read that Peter, in the early days, got his grandmother to let herself being hauled up by a kite. I'd heard the story of course, but wasn't aware there was actual video footage of it!

So here some screen grabs of granny being hauled up, handbag firmly in her hand!






You can hear Peter ask her whether she likes her birthday present, and granny appears to really enjoy the experience!

Credit for the screen grabs: Neil Lover