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, 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!



Monday, 28 May 2018

Wing #2

The first Peter Powell delta I got my hands on was a Wing. Now I wasn't specifically looking for another Wing, but when I bumped into one, for a very reasonable price, I just couldn't say no ...

So here's our Wing #2!


Like our #1 Wing, it develops quite a bit of pull when the wind picks up, and, as the sail is basically flat (no stand-offs), it needs to keep flying. Put it in a stall, or suddenly make it change direction, and you risk the kite dropping out of the sky. But if you maintain sail pressure, it tracks pretty well!



Obviously, as we now have a pair of Wings, we had to fly the two together.


As stated before, keep the kites moving, and they fly well together. They don't like tight circles, but as long as it's all kept moving and large, there is no problem flying the two Wings as a pair.


As before, I'm not specifically on the look-out for Wing #3, but should I bump into one with a blue-and-yellow sail, or, even better, one with the later 'zig-zag' sail pattern (black with yellow, lime or pink; any colour combination will do) ....

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Looking for Dragonfli and Firefli

So far, I've been reasonably successful in getting my hands on a range of Peter Powell dual-line deltas: Skyraker, Wing, Skyblazer, Skychaser and Skylite. But I haven't got them all yet, and two that are still missing from my collection are a Dragonfli and a Firefli:


Both had a wing span of just under 2m: 1.85m for the Dragonfli and 1.96m for the Firefli. Never seen one of these two come up for sale, and the internet is pretty much devoid of information on either. Only picture I've been able to find is one of a Firefli:


So ..... if you happen to have either a Dragonfli or Firefli (or, even better, both) gathering dust, ask them if they'd want to become part of a large collection of Peter Powell kites. Flying is guaranteed!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Further bag expansion necessary!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed my steadily-expanding collection. And you may also know that this collection lives in three HQ Proline bags. Well, the collection has now reached a level where it doesn't fit anymore in three bags .... Solution? Get another bag, again from Kiteworld, of course!


The modern Mk III Stunters already had a bag of their own, and now the older UK-produced Mk I and Mk II Stunters are split over two bags: one for 'single' kites, and one (with the feathers) for kites we have a pair of, so those we could potentially fly at a festival as part of our Flying Fish demos.

Will this be the final bag expansion? Surely not; the bag with American PPs is getting pretty cramped as well now ...

Monday, 19 March 2018

Little Cayman

When the American arm of Peter Powell Kites came into being, they initially marketed Stunters with the same 4' wing span as those produced in the UK. But not long after, they started to develop a smaller (3') version as well as a larger (6') 'Monster'. Later on, they also produced the Twister, which had a wing span in-between 3' and 4' (1.05m, to be precise).

When the American Peter Powell Kites company became independent, and changed into the Caribbean Kite Company, they started using the names of Caribbean islands for (almost) all their models; the name of the classic Stunter was changed to Cayman. They also continued producing larger and smaller versions, which were imaginatively called 'Grand Cayman' and 'Little Cayman'. And it's the latter, with a wing span of 1.05m (so equivalent to the Peter Powell Twister), which I managed to get my hands on.


First flight was in very un-Caribbean circumstances, but the kite didn't seem to mind. It didn't come with a tail, so I added a plastic ribbon tail (I felt a normal tube tail was a bit too much for this smaller kite).


Flight characteristics are as you would expect from a smaller version of a PP Stunter: bit more skittish than the standard 4'.


Need to find a Grand Cayman as well now, of course!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Peter Powell kite stickers - a possible timeline

If you're familiar with Peter Powell Stunters, you will be familiar with the stickers that adorn the sails of the Mk I Stunters. But what you may not realise is that there were several versions of these stickers over time ...

Curious how many versions actually existed, and whether you could use them to 'date' PP Stunters, I set about gathering pictures of these stickers, from my own collection, and from photos of PP Stunters available on the internet. Focusing purely on UK-produced Mk I Stunters, I have so far been able to find six different versions. Not saying more don't exist, but these are the six I've been able to find so far:


So is there any way to order these six chronologically, from earliest to latest, as that would offer a way to date Mk I Stunters, at least relatively? Well, none of the stickers has a date on them, so that doesn't work; we'll need to use a bit more subtle detective work ...

First of all, two of the six stickers I have seen only on aluminium-framed Stunters, and we know that aluminium frames predated fibreglass frames. So those two must have been used in the early days. But which is the older of the two? As I said, they don't carry dates, but I think I've found a clue to help me order these two, as well as the other four, chronologically.

I'll tell you what that clue is a bit later, but let me first show you what I think is the older of the two stickers on aluminium-framed sails (and therefore, the oldest sticker I'm aware of):


And the, in my opinion, younger of the two stickers on aluminium-framed sails:


So that then brings me to the stickers from fibreglass-framed sails. And to revealing the clue I've been focusing on: telephone numbers. The phone numbers on these two early stickers are 0242 30922 and 0242 88411. Only one of these numbers also appears on two of the stickers from fibreglass-framed kites: 0242 30922. On the assumption that Peter didn't change his telephone number back and forth, I concluded that the sticker with the 0242 88411 number must be the older one. 

As I said, two stickers with the 0242 30922 number, and I struggled with relative dating of these two, but here's my best guess. Older of the two, I think, is:


and the younger of these two, I think, is:


My reason for thinking this the younger of the two is that it is more similar in design to the next one, which has two clues to it being later:


So what are these two clues? First of all, the phone number has changed, to 0242 43222. And, secondly, it has added the 'toy of the year award'. And that allows us to pin this one down to 1976. So the stickers up to this one must date prior to that award.

Which leaves me with one final sticker, and my reason for thinking this the latest of the six is, once again, the phone number:


Design is quite different from the others, gone is the 4-stack with tails and the 'toy of the year award', but look at the phone number: 0242 862650. One digit more than the others, which suggest that this must have come when phone numbers in the UK were updated to include an extra digit, in order to increase capacity.

My timeline is mostly based on phone numbers, with a bit of gut feeling thrown in. So I may well be barking up a completely wrong tree. If that is the case, and anyone has any information to improve or outright reject this timeline, please let me know, so we can update this post and firm up the timeline. And if anyone is aware of additional versions of stickers on UK-produced Mk I Stunters, please get in touch.