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.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Wing

While surfing the web, I came across this kite, for sale on Rob Banks' Yard Sale, for a very decent price. Kite was said to be a Peter Powell delta. A what? At that point, I thought Peter Powell only made dual-line diamonds and had never came across a Peter Powell delta.


Some research made clear that to deal with the initial success of Peter Powell kites in the US, a company was set up there to produce and sell Peter Powell kites under licence. Initially, this US Peter Powell Kites company produced dual-line diamond kites, but gradually, they expanded more into dual-line deltas. So this kite must have been one of those American Peter Powell delta kites. Further searching unearthed this ad from 1989, in the magazine Kite Lines (all issues of this discontinued magazine are available as pdfs here), identifying the kite as a Wing.


So here is our Peter Powell Wing!


Quite a powerful kite, which needs a solid breeze, but really has the ability to pack a punch.


I quite like the colour scheme of the Wing in the ad above, so if anyone has a Wing in that same blue/yellow colour scheme, gathering dust and looking for a new home, drop me a note, ok? It will have a buddy to play with here ...

Now the Peter Powell Wing we have has a wing span of 2.31m. I stumbled across a picture of what is obviously a Peter Powell Wing, but said to have a wing span of 9ft (!!).


I don't know if that 9ft is an error or a typo, or whether they really came in different sizes, so if anyone reading this has more information on this possible XL Wing, please get in touch!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Malmesbury kite festival, a prototype ultralight stack, and a group photo

In the previous blog post, I mentioned getting our pair of custom Peter Powell kites, and Malmesbury kite festival in 2014 was the first time we flew them in a public display.

But this kite festival had a couple of other Peter Powell dimensions. First of all, after chatting with Mark and Paul, we were given the handles of a prototype ultralight 3-stack to try out.





Lots of fun to fly, but we did have to get used to not getting the tails tangled in the stacking lines ...

And secondly, thanks to a kind and willing member of the public, we got a very nice group photo including Paul, Mark, and, of course, Peter himself!


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Custom pair of Peter Powells!

When the news broke in 2013 that Peter Powell Kites was back in production, getting a pair for Flying Fish was a no-brainer. And as a cherry on the cake, they also offered the opportunity to get them with custom sails. So the order for two white Peter Powell Mk III kites, sporting the Flying Fish logo, was accompanied with the necessary artwork pretty quickly. Pleasant surprise was that they arrived signed by Peter himself.


One with a blue tube tail, one with a red tube tail, and at the first opportunity we took them to our usual flying field in the New Forest.


I must say these kites really are a hoot to fly. They don't need as much wind as the original 1970s version, but still need a decent breeze. Very easy to fly loops and wraps and circles, and the long tails really add to the spectacle if you're flying them together. Which, as Flying Fish, we often do, of course!


Since adding this pair of Peter Powells to our team bags, we have flown them at Malmesbury, Dunstable (shown in the picture) and Exmouth kite festivals, and will no doubt fly them at more in the future.


Picture credit Flying Fish at Dunstable Kite Festival: Simon Dann

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Our first Peter Powell kite

As we only got into kite-flying quite recently (i.e. early 2009), we weren't flying kites in the heydays of the Peter Powell craze in the 1970s and 1980s. But that doesn't mean we didn't want to get our hands on a genuine vintage Peter Powell! Of course, eBay is your friend in such a pursuit, and it didn't take long before we could fly our very own original Peter Powell.


Blue polythene sail, fibreglass frame, and a 3-point bridle, making it a Mk II kite. Mk I kites had bridle attachments halfway along the leading edge and near the tail; Mk II kites added a third bridle attachment at the wing tips. Incidentally, Mk I kites came first with a wooden frame, then aluminium (in several versions), and finally fibreglass. Mk II kites were only produced with a fibreglass frame; though the polythene sail gave way to ripstop later.

Was good fun flying our first Peter Powell. Clearly a kite which needs a decent breeze, but as long as it has good wind pressure on the sail, it's very steerable.


The start of the collection!

Monday, 1 February 2016

A Peter Powell kites collection

I've decided to start a new blog, separate from my Flying Fish blog, on my growing collection of Peter Powell kites. Why? Well, several reasons, actually. To create more web presence for Peter Powell kites, to pay tribute to the man who brought dual-line kite-flying to the masses, and, selfishly, as a tool to help me grow my collection further. The first eight or so posts will be written 'in hindsight', basically bringing the story of my Peter Powell collection to the present day. And from then onwards, posts will simply be added as and when appropriate and relevant.

So here goes! If you're a kite flyer, I don't have to tell you that it was Peter Powell who invented a dual-line diamond kite in the early 1970s. Even though Peter wasn't the first person to fly a steerable kite with two lines, there is no debate that he popularised dual-line flying like no other. It became a massive success, winning the Toy of the Year Award in 1976, and reaching a peak production of 75,000 kites weekly, in five factories.


Production of Peter Powell kites in the UK came to an end around 1999/2000, but, as you may know, Mark and Paul, his two sons, took up the baton and started producing a new version of the Peter Powell kite in 2013. More on that in a later blog post.

Peter sadly died in January 2016. I am glad I met him and had a chat with him at a few kite festivals recently. Peter,  RIP, and I hope you enjoy the sight up there of so many dual-line kites flown around the world today. That may well not have happened without you!