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.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Black fibreglass spars

At some point in their 'evolution', Mk I Stunters' frames changed from aluminium to fibreglass, and this spar material continued in the Mk II Stunters (and right up to the current Mk III Stunters).

In all the Mk I Stunters I've got in my collection, as well as in all I've seen, the fibreglass used is white. Same goes for the modern Mk III Stunters. And for most of the Mk II Stunters ...

I do have a single Mk II Stunter, with polythene sail, which has a black fibreglass frame, including a black nose and black spar connectors.

When I first saw it on eBay, I thought it might have been a home reframe, but I've since seen pictures of others like this. And recently, another black-framed Mk II Stunter appeared on eBay:

So what's going on here? Interestingly, all the ripstop Mk II Stunters I have and have seen use the 'normal' white fibreglass, so it isn't a simple case of the black fibreglass spars being superior to the white ones and replacing them at some point in time. Was there a period in which Peter couldn't source his normal white spars and had to find an alternative source? Or were these a 'special' version, produced in more limited numbers? If so, what was special about the black frame? Questions which need answers ...

Monday, 5 February 2018

A Field of Poppies!

Last year, Mark and Paul created a special PP kite in support of the annual Poppy Appeal, and of course we had to have one.

Twisted Bridle, our sister pair within the L-katz team, got two of these 'Poppy Powells', and we had a lot of fun flying both their kites:

Obviously, we now had to get a second one as well!

And that means we can now fly three or four 'Poppy Powells' together!

Lisa, from Twisted Bridle, made a set of four green satin tails, with the aim of extending the wind rage a bit (as they're lighter than the standard plastic tube tails).

Anyone wanting to join our Field of Poppies, they can be ordered directly from Peter Powell.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Second Skyraker

Some time ago, I got my hands on a Skyraker. This early Peter Powell dual-line delta came in several versions, and the one I added to the collection was a 3-panel Skyraker. Obviously, the hunt continued for other versions ....

Took some time, but I was finally successful in catching an 11-panel Skyraker!

First flight showed the kite to handle very much the same as my earlier one: needs a decent amount of wind (double figures, please), and needs some space to turn (certainly doesn't turn on a dime!).

Now we have a pair of them, we obviously had to fly them together .... pop over to our Flying Fish blog for a report on that.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A poster with classic kites ...

Some time ago, a scan of a Japanese poster featuring classic kites was posted on FB:

Look at the top three rows, and what do you see? Yes, almost exclusively US-produced Peter Powell kites! Unfortunately, the scan resolution was too low to read the details, but since then I have received higher-resolution scans of the PPs on the poster (thanks, Mike!)

So what's on this poster in terms of American PP kites?

First of all, the poster states that the earliest polythene Stunters were called Mark Zero rather than Mark I. If true, that's completely new to me; I've never come across a mentioning of a Mk 0 PP.

Poster then continues with further Mk Is (singles and trains):

Mk II and Mk III Stunters:

And, finally, The Monster:

We then move away from the diamond Stunters, and first see a Skychaser:

And then we come to a series of Skyrakers. This includes the single-panel version, referred to on the poster as 'Skyraker Original':

What follows is the 3-panel version ('Skyraker Basic'), the Illusion version (also referred to as 'Basic') and the 11-panel version ('Skyraker Team'):

Final Skyrakers shown are the Stars 'n' Stripes and Jolly Roger version, also referred to as 'Skyraker Team':

Next pair of kites are Wings, in two different colour schemes:

Followed by Skyblazers, again in two different colours:

And, last but not least, the two PP quads, Double Diamond and Omni:

What did I learn that I didn't know already?

As mentioned above, the earliest Stunters are referred to as Mk 0, which is new to me. But I'd like to see some independent confirmation of this before I relabel my polythene US Mk I. I was aware of single-panel Skyrakers, so it's nice to see some of the colours they came in. Also nice to get conformation of the existence of a Jolly Roger Skyraker. I was aware that the Wing also came in a 'lightning' colour scheme (which isn't yet part of my collection, I hasten to add!). The poster doesn't mention a 'Baby Blazer', so it's not clear whether the two colours shown for the Skyblazer are indeed both for the full-size kite. And, finally, the poster confirms that the Omni came in different colours, and that the two different sides of the kite didn't always use the same colours. Lack of different colours for the Double Diamond on the poster doesn't mean necessarily it didn't come in more colours, even though my kite is identical to the one on the poster, and I've never seen a photo of it in any other colour.

Bottom line is that there is no PP kite on the poster I wasn't aware of, so my mental picture of the variety of US-produced PP kites seems pretty complete!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Adoptee #2

A few months ago, I blogged about being given three Peter Powell Mk I Stunters, which resulted in the Peter Powell Kites Adoption Agency. The first of these three was made R2F a few months ago, and the second one is now also ready to take back to the sky. Few small repairs to the sail, and a replacement of one of the two cross spreaders, was all it took.

It didn't come with a tail, but I decided to fly it with a white tail; something a bit different from the usual blue, red, or yellow tails.

I already have a red Mk I in the collection, but as that one is suffering from BSS (Brittle Sail Syndrome), she's unlikely ever to fly again. So this adoptee can nicely take her place in my collection!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of 2017 - overview of the collection

Exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post summarising my collection of Peter Powell kites at the close of 2016, and I thought it would be nice to take stock of what I've been able to add to the collection during 2017.

So here goes!

Like before, I'll group the PP kites in my collection in four groups: UK-produced during the 1970s, 80s and 90s; US-produced; Caribbean Kite Company; and UK-produced during the 21st century.

At the close of 2016, I had nine PP kites produced in the UK during the 1970s/80s/90s. And during 2017, I managed to double that!

Specifically, I added a blue polythene/fibreglass Mk I, a Junior, two customised Mk Is (made for the Round Table for for BP), two polythene Mk II (red and yellow), a 3-stack of ripstop Mk IIs, and two single bicolour ripstop Mk IIs (blue/pink and teal/pink). As before, I count a stack as a single kite. So a total of 18 original UK-produced PP kites at the close of the year.

Moving to US-produced Peter Powells, at the end of 2016, I had six of these, and managed to add another five this year.

These five include a Mk I Stunter, a Mk II Stunter, a Skyblazer, a Skychaser, and an Omni. So almost doubled the number of US-produced Peter Powell kites, to 11 in total.

On to Caribbean Kite Company kites, I only had a single early Cayman at the end of last year, and got my hands on four more this year.

Two later Caymans, a Jamaica and a Trinidad raised the number of Caribbean Kite Company kites to five.

And the finally on to modern, 21st century PPs. At the end of last year, I had a total of seven of those (two for our pair and five for the team), and this year, I added two more.

One of these was a 'standard' Mk III, in a Dutch colour scheme, the other a special Poppy Powell. And those two bring the total of modern PP Stunters in the collection to nine.

And all that brings the total collection from 23 at the end of 2016 to 43 at the end of 2017; not a bad year at all, I'd say! And the collection has really taken off since our very first Peter Powell kite in 2013 ...

So what will I be looking out for in 2018? For older UK-produced Stunters, I'd love to get my hands on one with a wooden frame (fat chance!), and will keep an eye out for Mk Is with a different type of aluminium frame than the one I have, and for any Mk Is or Mk IIs with sails of colours or designs different from what's in the collection already. For US-produced PPs, I'm especially interested in the ultralight Mk III, different versions of the Skyraker, a 'Baby Blazer', a Skytoy, a Dragonfli and a Firefli. Plenty of Caribbean Kite Company kites still missing from the collection, so anything I don't already have is welcome. And when it comes to 21st century PP Stunters, Mark and Paul have a few plans up their sleeves, so hopefully one or two of these will see the light of day in 2018.

As always, if you have a Peter Powell kite for sale which adds something to my collection, please get in touch!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Yellow polythene Mk II

I've mentioned it before: for some reason, polythene Mk II Stunters are far less common on eBay than their Mk I ancestors. Whether that's because people are more likely to want to hang on to them, or simply because fewer are made (or both), who knows!

Nevertheless, I have been able to add a few polythene Mk II Stunters to the collection: earlier this year, I got my hands on a red Mk II and our very first Peter Powell kite was a blue Mk II.

And quite recently, eBay provided me with a yellow one!

Following the tail choices on my first two Mk IIs (red with red, and blue with blue), I decided to fly this yellow Mk II with a yellow tail.

Flight characteristics are not different from any of the other Mk I or Mk IIs in my collection.

Now having a trio of Mk IIs, with matching tails, does offer the opportunity to fly the three of them together. Maybe at a festival in 2018?