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.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Two more PP quads

If you've been following this blog, you may be aware that the US arm of Peter Powell Kites produced two quad-line kites: the Double D and the Omni.

Neither of these two kites are commonly offered for sale nowadays, so when I had the chance to get my hands on a second Omni, for a very reasonable price, and in a colour scheme different from the Omni I already had, I couldn't let the opportunity pass. Especially since the kite came with the handles that the Omni was originally sold with.



Like my first Omni, flight is very twitchy (which may, of course, say something about my quad-flying abilities ...).


The seller also had a Double D, which he was willing to throw in for not very much. Even though the kite had the same colour scheme as the Double D already in my collection (I've never seen a picture of a Double D with a different colour scheme, to be honest), it came with the original Double D handles, so in a moment of weakness ....



Flight is clearly more stable than the Omni, matching my earlier experience flying a Double D.


Of course, having two Omnis and two Double Ds now, I had to fly the two pairs!


It's difficult to fly a quad and take pictures at the same time!




Given the twitchiness of especially the Omnis, it's not very likely we'll ever fly PP quads in a festival routine ...

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Martinique

So far, I've been able to get my hands on several dual-line deltas made by the Caribbean Kite Company: Jamaica, Trinidad, Mustique and Tobago. Obviously, I want them all, but the one I was especially keen to add to the collection was their largest (2.68m wing span) delta, which was specifically marketed as a trick kite: the Martinique.

I'm very pleased to be able to say that I now indeed have been able to get me grubby hands on a Martinique!


Flew it first in 5-8mph. Flight is quite slow in this wind; even though the official wind range is stated as 4-20mph, it really needs 7-8mph to fly well. Once flying, it really looks sleek!


Kite has a tendency to oversteer, and it really turns on a dime. That level of instability suggests it should trick well. So does it? I can honestly say that this is by far the trickiest Peter Powell delta I've ever flown: it loves axels and half-axels; it gives them away for free. It's purely my own limit flying tricks that holds it back.

So yes, definitely the best Caribbean Kite Company kite in my collection by a country mile and more.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Adoptee #3, off to a new owner

More than a year ago, I wrote about the second of three 'adopted' Peter Powells getting to the air again. So what happened to the third? Here's its story ...

One evening we were having dinner at good friends of ours, when the conversation turned to flying kites. Our friend lamented the fact that he used to have a Peter Powell, which he really enjoyed flying, but that the kite was long gone. When I asked him whether he would be interested in getting his hands on another vintage Peter Powell, his eyes lit up. Guess that's a yes then!

I'm sure you'll see where this is going .... I still had one adopted Peter Powell Mk I Stunter lying around, so what better use to make of that than give my friend a Peter Powell kite to fly again!

First of all, it needed more TLC than its two predecessors coming through the Peter Powell Kites Adoption Agency.


It was lacking both cross spars, the t-piece was broken, the tube at the tail end of the sail was missing, and the nose needed some patching up as well. Fortunately, I had enough bits and bobs lying around to replace all that, and the end result was a 99% original vintage Peter Powell Mk I Stunter, ready to fly (the 1% was the small tube at the tail end of the sail; that was a modern piece of tubing). I even had an original sticker to glue on the sail!


An original tail and a set of original lines and handles was no problem either. Before handing it over to its new owner, I gave it a quick test fly, just to make sure all was as it should be.


It was ...

So all that was left for the kite was to have its first flight under new ownership!










I think I can safely say my friend was happy as a lark, reliving his childhood.



Monday, 29 April 2019

PPKOG 3-stack

You may well be familiar with the Peter Powell Kites Owners Group which I set up on Facebook more than two years ago. When I set it up, I was hoping for maybe 50 or so members, but at the time of writing this blog post, the group has accumulated 353 members! And if you're reading this and are not a member, what's stopping you from joining the group? Doesn't cost you anything!

At some point, Paul Powell floated the idea of creating a special PPKOG kite, available for anyone who had joined the group. Was there enough interest for such a special Peter Powell kite? Following sorting out some technical issues, and design of the logo (in which I had some input as well), the PPKOG kite was ready for ordering last month. In neon green, the colour introduced last year to mark Peter's birthday.


I decided to make my order a bit more than a single PPKOG Stunter, and ordered a 3-stack. PPKOG lead kite, plus two 'plain' neon green stacking kites. Black tails, as visual continuation of the black central stripe.


And to make it even more special, I asked Paul and Mark to sign the two stacking kites.










With our Flying Fish PPs signed by Peter, we now have 'the full set' of Powell lads!

First flight of my PPKOG 3-stack was in winds of mostly 11-18mph. It flew very well in that wind, and developed a solid pull; nothing that couldn't be handled, though. The neon green sails look fantastic against the grey sky, especially if they catch a bit of sun from behind, making them almost luminescent.




Of course, we had to make some videos (Irma flew the stack in both videos).



Paul has said that he is happy to make another PPKOG kite, with 2020 in the logo, next year, and to keep doing this annually, for as long as there is enough interest (in order to make creating such a kite financially viable, there has to be a minimum number of orders). I suggested purple, with a white logo, for next year. And if a 2020 PPKOG indeed becomes reality, I'm not ruling out I'll order another 3-stack. After all, flying a pair of PP 3-stacks is nice addition to Flying Fish's festival quiver, isn't it?

Saturday, 9 February 2019

PICAM power kite

PICAM stands for 'Products International Company Advertising and Marketing'. I couldn't find much information on the company, other than that it was based in California, and marketed a range of tools and games in the 1970s, often with the "As seen on tv" slogan. The company doesn't appear to exist anymore.



Why am I mentioning PICAM? Because a 'PICAM Power kite' was listed on eBay in the US. The box proudly proclaims "The latest in aerodynamic design", "The greatest in acrobatic performance" and "Flies in everything from a light breeze to a strong wind!"


Looking closer at the pictures accompanying the listing, whose name and face do we see on the box of this power kite?


Indeed!

But what's actually in the box? There were no pictures of the kite itself on the eBay listing, but there is of course one sure way to find out .... I took the gamble bidding on it and eventually bought the kite for $26; due to the low price, I escaped any import charges or custom duties.

The box states 'Made in England', and gives a copyright year of 1976, but it's not clear what the year refers to. The artwork on the box, maybe? If it referred to the kite, you'd expect a patent, not a copyright. Anyway, I didn't buy an empty box: it did contain a kite. To be more precise, inside the box was a fibreglass-framed Mk I Stunter, indistinguishable from other UK-produced Mk I PP Stunters.


It also flies exactly as you would expect from a Mk I PP.



My guess is that this is a UK-produced PP Stunter, imported to and sold in the US before the American arm of Peter Powell Kites was established to deal with demand there. So even though the kite itself is not anything special, the whole package does have kite-historical value, and adds something unique to my collection. And I'll definitely keep it with its box!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Pair of 'chevron' PPs

A colour scheme which was quite common in US-produced Peter Powell Stunters was the 'chevron' scheme. As far as I'm aware, PPs with this colour scheme were never produced in the UK, and, obviously, I had to get one for the collection.

Turned out I didn't get one; I got two!

One with a blue-yellow-red sail:










And one with a pink-yellow-black sail:










Being Flying Fish, of course we had to fly them as a pair.


They flew well together, even though the wind was on the light side for them.


Nice to be able to add them to the collection; it was suffering a bit from a chevron-shaped hole ...

Monday, 31 December 2018

End of 2018 - overview of the collection

Another year has passed, another end-of-the-year blog post, taking stock of my Peter Powell collection and what has been added to it this year.

My collection of original UK-produced Stunters has grown from 18 to 21: I added a blue alu-framed Mk I, a red fibreglass-framed Mk I, and a special Poppins-branded Mk I.


I was also able to add three to the collection of US-produced PP kites, going from 11 to 14: a second Skyraker, a ripstop Mk I, and a second Wing. Plus I added a second Skychaser to the one I already had (but that doesn't count as an extra kite, as stacks count as one).


A further three Caribbean Kite Company kites added to the five I had, bringing that section of the collection up to eight: a Little Cayman, a Mustique, and a Tobago.


And, finally, I added one more 'Poppy Powell' to the one we had, bringing the number of modern PPs up to 10.


Adding all this up means that the collection increased by 10 this year, growing from 43 to 53. Not as large an increase as last year, but that's to be expected: as the collection grows, there are fewer and fewer 'new' ones to add.

Which made me ponder what the maximum number of kites in the collection could be. So I did some back-of-the-envelope scribbling .... if I manage to get my hands on at least one example of every model produced in the past, and assuming I'll have more than one of those that came in different version, plus assuming that Mark and Paul will bring out a small handful of new models in the years to come, I come to a figure of just under a hundred. So that appears to roughly be the maximum size of the collection. Which does mean two things: 1) I'm more than halfway there; and 2) there are still a lot of Peter Powell kites to collect for me!