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.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Queen promo

Surfing the web, I stumbled across this picture of a Peter Powell Stunter, promoting the rock band Queen.

At first, it wasn't clear to me whether this was an official Queen promo item, or whether a fan had simply stuck a 'A Day at the Races' sticker on a kite. But then I came across two detail pics, and it does appear that this Peter Powell kite was official Queen promotional material.

Posting the pics on the forum of the official Queen web-site, and asking for more information, resulted in exactly zilch. Paul Powell told me he had never heard of this kite, so the story behind this special and unusual Peter Powell kite remains to be uncovered and written.

Needless to say, I guess, but if anyone has one of these Queen promo kites, gathering dust and looking for a new home among other Peter Powell kites, let me know, ok?

And now, indulge me please, from 'A Day at the Races':

Update: acting like the proverbial buses, another Queen promo PP kite popped up on eBay a few days after I published this blog post. Starting bid? £150 ... Well, I'd like to be able to add a Queen-branded Peter Powell kite to my collection, but not that much! Bidding ended with a single bidder snapping up this rarity for £150.

Update 2: many thanks to a reader of this blog who sent me a bit more information on this kite: "It was an item you could order through the Queen Fan Club back in early 1977. I have a link to a video that shows an order form from that time. At about twenty seconds in you can see a graphic of the kite too."

Update 3: I stumbled across one of these kites being auctioned at Bonhams as part of a job lot of Queen memorabilia; don't know the specific date or year. The lot as a whole went for £200; no clue as to what the kite would have fetched on its own. 

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Pair-flying Stunters, old and new

Another break in our team-flying session, with strong blustery wind this time. Last week, Roger had brought his Mk III Stunter, this week he had brought his Mk I Stunter (last week, he said he would).

This Mk I Stunter has a fibreglass frame and a green sail. First time I'd seen one with a sail in this colour; all vintage PP Stunters I'd seen (and flown) so far had a black, blue, yellow or red sail. As we knew Roger would bring this kite, we'd come prepared, and had brought our PP Stunters. We decided to fly our blue Mk I Stunter together with Roger's green one.

The green Stunter had a bit of a mind of its own, twisting and turning a lot, making it a bit of a challenge to fly the two together properly. But before we could see if the bridle needed some tweaking, one of the bridle legs broke, so we'll have to wait a bit before we can try it out again.

And as we had them with us, there was no way we could not give our customised Mk III Stunters some air time.

No problems flying these together!

Picture credit Flying Fish flying their Mk III Stunters: Roger Backhouse.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Kite bag for the PP collection

Kites need a bag to live in when they're not out flying, that's obvious. My collection of kite bags is well-ordered, so I know which kite lives in which bag; makes it easier to simply grab a bag, as I know the kite(s) I want to fly that day will be in there, with all the relevant accessories (e.g. lines, tails, etc). Now, clearly, a collection of Peter Powell kites needs a dedicated bag; I'm sure you would agree!

Decided to get an HQ Proline kite bag, from Kiteworld, And here it is, with the entirety of my PP collection to date in the main compartment, and tails etc in the small compartment.

No, you're not seeing double, there are two bags in the first picture .... I thought I'd order both the larger (170cm) and the smaller (130cm) version. Even though these kite bags can house a good number of kites, I'm sure I'll need both as the collection expands. Possibly keeping the paired Stunters in the small bag and all the non-paired PP kites in the larger bag (given that the Wing doesn't fit in the smaller bag) in due course?

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Break from team practice ...

Practice session with the L-katz team, taking a break. Roger had brought his Mk III Stunter, and we all had a quick go at flying it.

The wind was enough to fly it, though another 3-5mph would have been perfect.

Just to be clear: this kite is not part of our collection, but we still had fun flying it!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Double 2-stack of Peter Powell Stunters

Of our recently-acquired job lot of seven vintage Peter Powell Stunters, the single blue Mk I has been flying, and the pair of black Mk Is has taken to the air. So it finally was the turn of the remaining four Mk I kites to get ready-to-fly. These four kites all have an aluminium frame with fibreglass cross spars.

I got them as a 4-stack: yellow kite at the front, followed by red, blue, and then yellow again. But as I wanted to be able to fly them with Flying Fish, my aim was to turn them into two 2-stacks, each with a yellow kite at the front. So this was a case of cutting the stacking lines between the red and blue kite, reversing the order of the blue and yellow kite, and adding a bridle to the (second) yellow kite. Plus whatever TLC was necessary (e.g. replace the cracked or broken t-pieces).

And then it was a case of waiting for a windy day, which, at this time of year, didn't take very long ...

First tried out both of the 2-stacks separately, which showed they handled pretty well!

And then the moment of truth .... would they fly well together, given that I tied the bridle for the yellow/blue stack myself?

Both stacks launched easily, and off they went!

No noticeable difference in speed and handling, and they flew together quite happily. One thing we had to be aware of more than usual: ground position. This was the first time we'd ever flown stacks together, and certainly the first time we'd flown stacks with tails as a pair. So we had to make sure the front kite of the leading stack didn't catch the tail of the back kite of the following stack. We had one tail catch, but got out of it again quickly.

Flying infinities, parallel loops and circles, getting in and out of wraps, and basically flying anything that doesn't involve sharp corners (which Peter Powell Stunters are not good at) really created a colourful spectacle thanks to the double tails. 

Which brings me to the one disadvantage of flying multiple tails ....