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, 11 August 2017

US Mk II Stunter

When it comes to American PP Stunters, I've got in my collection a triple-stack of the Junior, a smaller version of the basic Stunter, and I've got the The Monster, a 6-foot version. But up to now, I hadn't managed to get my hands on a 'standard' American Stunter. That's changed now, with the addition of an American Mk II to the collection!


It's similar to UK-produced Stunters in most way, but it does feature an extra spar at the back of the kite, similar to the extra spar of The Monster:


The Mk II feels quite heavy on the lines, and is relatively sluggish response to input. This is definitely different compared to UK Stunters. I'm not sure what the cause of this is, although the extra spar of course increases the weight of the kite.


You may have noticed something missing: a tail. I must admit it was quite strange to fly a PP Stunter without a tail!


Now the kite didn't come with a tail, but that in itself is easily remedied. However, according to the 1991 catalogue, the "kite is flown without a tail".


Well, who am I to disagree with a PP catalogue?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

BP Stunter

Earlier this year, I wrote about me getting my hands on a BP promo Peter Powell. It needed some TLC: the tail part had been fixed with duct tape, but this had lost its adhesiveness over the years.










Rather than simply replace the strip of tape, I decided to make the repair a bit more thorough, and use green duct tape to keep within the colour scheme of the kite. After all, it also came with a green tail!










So here's the BP kite, ready for take-off at our primary flying field!


Personally, I'm very happy with how the repair came out. Even though it's not original, it certainly looks like it could be.

And it looks very good in the sky, with its green tail.


I have no idea how many BP Peter Powells were produced, but whether one or a hundred, it's a very nice addition to my collection!


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Red polythene Mk II

Our very first Peter Powell Stunter was a blue polythene Mk II, and this particular version isn't exactly common; it's taken me until now to get my hands on a second one, with a red sail.


Flying it in winds gusting over 30mph just again shows when PP Stunters are really happy!



What's curious about this one is that the frame is black fibreglass rather than the usual white:


I have seen the occasional picture of a PP with a black frame, so I do think this is original and not a home-made refit ...

Having two polythene Mk IIs (and being part of a kite team), we of course had to fly them together!


And they flew together very happily in the strong gusty wind!


I do think I'll keep the tails as they are now: red with red, and blue with blue. Somehow looks better than red with blue, and blue with red (but feel free to disagree with me).

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ripstop Mk II triple-stack?

I recently posted on an orange ripstop Mk II, which needs quite a lot of TLC to get it flying again. Shortly after posting, I got my hands on a pair of ripstop Mk II PPs, for a very reasonable price, and in very good condition.


Having three ripstop Mk IIs now, in the colours yellow - orange - red, screams out "stack 'm", doesn't it? None of the kites came with tails, but getting a set of yellow, orange and red tails from the Powell guys is easy enough. Or, maybe even better, a set of three banded tails: yellow/black, orange/black, red/black? Would certainly add to how the triple-stack looks in the sky, given that the sails are a single colour. What do you think?

As they say, watch this space!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A wee restoration project ...

If I'm basically given an old Peter Powell kite, needing some TLC to get it flying again, I'm not going to say 'no' and condemn the kite to the dustbin, am I?

Here's the kite in question: a ripstop Mk II:


Sail is faded, quite a bit actually, but is generally in pretty good nick; no rips or tears. Cross spreaders are missing, and the spine is broken in two. When I said 'some TLC', I actually mean 'quite a bit' ...

Now it so happens that last year I was given a complete fibreglass frame, and since then, I've acquired some more spars and bits and pieces. Plenty to get this faded orange Mk II back in the air again; watch this space!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Jamaica

So far, I've only been able to get my hands on three kites from the Caribbean Kite Company: a single Cayman in the older chevron colour pattern, and a pair of Caymans in the later colour pattern. But the company also produced a wide range of dual-line deltas, and even a quad-liner.

Thanks to eBay-US (and a friendly fellow kite flyer who was willing to bid for the kite on my behalf, and ship it to the UK), I've now been able to add the first dual-line delta from the Caribbean Kite Company to my Peter Powell Kites collection: a Jamaica (virtually all their kite models were named after Caribbean islands).


The Jamaica is a relatively small kite: wing span of 1.63m. It has a fibreglass frame and is also quite flat. That flatness really influences its flight behaviour.


The kite needs a decent breeze putting pressure in the sail all the time; it doesn't like the edge of the wind window. Jamaica also tends to oversteer quite a bit. But even though it is not much more than a glorified beach kite, I did manage to axel it! Just about, but still ...


The self-proclaimed ambition of the Caribbean Kite Company was to produce kites of the highest quality, to be the benchmark for top-end sports kites. This Jamaica certainly doesn't tick that box, but it may well have been aimed at the lower end of the market, with the larger models targeting that top-end. Guess I'll find out once I get my hands on them, won't I?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Another bicolour ripstop Mk II

You know the saying about buses, don't you? Wait for one for ages, and then two pass by. Same with kites sometimes. Recently, I got my hands on a teal/pink ripstop Mk II Peter Powell through eBay, and very shortly afterwards, a very similar one popped up on eBay. This time the colours were green and pink.


Wind was quite variable when we flew it for the first time (as the previous one, with a modern pink tail), so it certainly didn't perform optimally, but flying it did!










Now, having two very similar PPs like this, we had to fly them together, of course.


The wind was quite difficult for flying a pair of PPs properly, but we gave it our best shot.


Incidentally, I just realised that this is my 50th blog post here!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Giant Peter Powell

A standard PP Stunter has a 4' wing span, right? And the US arm of Peter Powell Kites created a 6' version, called 'The Monster'. Do you want to hear about a Peter Powell kite a bit bigger than that? Quite a bit bigger, in fact: we're talking 30' (!!) wing span?

No, this was never a commercial product, but a 30' Peter Powell did fly once, if only very briefly. I don't know exactly when this happened, but I stumbled across the following one day:


If anyone reading this has more information on this unique "Giant" PP, please let me know!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Double Cayman!

We can debate until the cows come home as to whether Cayman kites made by the Caribbean Kite Company are Peter Powells or not. In one sense, they're obviously not, as they don't have a name or label anywhere proclaiming them to be PP kites. But, as I argued earlier, in another sense they are Peter Powells 'in spirit', and, to me, they're very much part of the story.

I already got a Caribbean Kite Company Cayman, in the older chevron colour pattern, and I'm very pleased now to have been able to add a pair of Cayman kites, in the later colour pattern, to the collection! Despite being new and unused, they only cost me $10 each (plus shipping and customs/import charges).










They came with blue tails, but I replaced these with modern green and red tails, to match the central stripe in one kite, and the leading edges in the other.










Obviously, they need to be flown together!



They felt really light and nimble on the lines, and didn't need the same wind strength of a 'normal' PP to fly. Which made me wonder and weigh the kites .... Turned out the weight of one kite (without the tail) is 222 gr. Compare that to the 262 gr for a modern PP with standard fibreglass frame .... That's a 15% weight reduction; do we have an ultralight PP in all but name here? And remember, they only cost me $10 each ... Bargain or what?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A teal & pink ripstop Mk II

I've mentioned before that ripstop Mk II Peter Powell Stunters don't pop up for sale often. But eBay is my friend, and I did manage to get my hands on another one, this time with a bi-colour teal/pink sail:


The kite didn't come with a tail, so I got myself a modern pink Peter Powell tail to match the pink half of the sail.


It flew exactly as you would expect a PP Stunter to fly. One issue developed during its maiden flight, though: one of the leading edge spars repeatedly came loose from the nose piece, causing the kite to collapse in mid-flight and the spine to come out as well. Nothing that some TLC (tape-led care) can't deal with, though.

By the way, does anyone know how many different sail patterns were used for ripstop Mk II kites? Obviously, single colour sail, and bi-colour half & half sail, but I don't think I've seen any other patterns on UK-made ripstop Mk II kites (US-made is a different story ...).

Finally, Irma was quite pleased with how her photo of the kite in a tight spin turned out!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Granny up!

If you're UK-based, you may have seen the interview that Mark and Paul gave on BBC Breakfast this Saturday morning.








Very nice interview, touching upon the rise and fall of Peter's kite business in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and the resurrection of the PP Stunter by Mark and Paul, behind Peter's back, in the last couple of years.

The interview was interspersed with some old footage, and, for me, one piece of footage really stood out. You may have read that Peter, in the early days, got his grandmother to let herself being hauled up by a kite. I'd heard the story of course, but wasn't aware there was actual video footage of it!

So here some screen grabs of granny being hauled up, handbag firmly in her hand!






You can hear Peter ask her whether she likes her birthday present, and granny appears to really enjoy the experience!

Credit for the screen grabs: Neil Lover

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Popular Science 1977

While surfing the wwweb for snippets of information on Peter Powell kites, I stumbled across this article from 1977 in the magazine 'Popular Science'. Contains a picture of a triple-stack flown from a boat! I'll just leave you to enjoy this wee window to the early days of Peter Powell Stunters.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dutch Mk III

When it comes to modern Peter Powell Mk III Stunters, we have a customised pair for Flying Fish:


And we have a set of five, customised for L-katz:


It recently dawned on me that I don't actually have a basic standard Mk III in the collection. Clearly, that's a situation that just couldn't be tolerated to endure ... Whereas Mk I and Mk II Stunters came in a small number of different colours, modern Mk IIIs give you the option of 10 different colours. If you then take all the permutations (left wing, right wing, large and small mid section) into account, the number of possible colour variations becomes way too much for a collection. Quick back-of-the envelope calculation suggests that of the 100,000 possible combinations, there are more than 65,000 possibilities where each panel is different from the adjacent panel, and 810 of those are symmetrical .... Not going to attempt to collect all of them! So it was to be a single Mk III PP, using the template available in the Peter Powell on-line shop.

But, as I said, with 10 colours to choose from for the various panels, which to pick for each panel? I finally decided on one in the colours of the Dutch national flag, but reflecting the historical 'ranje-blanje-bleu' flag rather than the modern 'red-white-blue' one.


Obviously, the tail had to be orange as well!




Kite was very happy in the gusty 12-28mph wind we first flew it in:


If we're flying as Flying Fish or as L-katz, we'll obviously fly the appropriate PPs customised for pair or team. But if one of us just wants to have fun flying a Peter Powell Mk III Stunter, we now have this 'Dutch' one to use! Any excuse to add to the collection ...