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.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Skylite (and looking for a Mustique)

Two American-produced Peter Powell deltas are already part of our collection: a Wing and a Skyraker. And I'm pleased that we have now been able to add a third one to the collection: a Skylite!

This PP delta appears to have come on the market in 1992, based on the ads in the Kite Lines magazine. It's essentially an ultralight kite, with a wingspan of 2.47m.

The Skylite tracks very well, no oversteer at all. It does need a bit more input than a more modern delta, but would make a pretty decent team kite.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, when the Caribbean Kite Company took over the American arm of Peter Powell Kites, they retained some of the existing PP models under a different name. The Skylite was renamed Mustique, and, judging from a Caribbean Kite Company catalogue, it appears nothing much was changed in the specs of the kite.

Now you may well have seen this coming, but does anyone have a Mustique they'd be willing to part with? Colour not important. Would be fun for Flying Fish to have a Skylite - Mustique pair in their quiver!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

'The Monster'

The American arm of Peter Powell Kites started out with producing diamond Stunters very similar to those produced in the UK, but quickly diversified their product range. As well as deltas (of which the Skyraker was the first), they also started creating smaller and larger versions of the standard diamond Stunter. Meet the 6' version of the classic diamond Stunter, called 'The Monster'!

We first got to fly this large PP at the Leominster & Hereford Kite Festival at Berrington Hall. The wind was quite variable, mostly 3-15mph. In these conditions, 'The Monster' took to the air slowly and gracefully, and proved itself to be easy to handle and steer, though obviously needing more air space to fly loops and circles.

Pull was firm, but nothing that couldn't be handled. However, the official wind range of this kite is 5-40mph, and I can well imagine that the kite will become a serious handful when the wind goes above ~20mph. An indication of that is the fact that the kite has an extra cross spar behind the sail, strengthening the frame and preventing the leading edges from collapsing in high winds ...

First flight of 'The Monster' was with an all-white tail, but I'm going to see if I can get a tri-colour blue-pink-white tail for this kite. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

PP Stunter - aluminium frame & vintage lines

The first Peter Powell Stunters in the UK had a wooden frame. This was quickly replaced by aluminium, in several different configurations, and later again by fibreglass. In the job lot of Peter Powell Stunters that basically kickstarted my collection were four with an aluminium spine and leading edges, but fibreglass cross spars. In other words, I did not have a Stunter with a fully aluminium frame in my collection ...

Cue the interconnectedness of kite flyers, and the presence of this blog: I was offered a PP Stunter with complete aluminium frame for a very decent price. Specifically, the price for the kite was "a pint next time we meet in a pub". Good deal or what?

As I said above, the configuration of the aluminium frame went through several versions, and the picture below shows the configuration of this particular kite. a bent metal rod goes through the tube on the spine, and two aluminium cross spars slide over the metal rod.

So how does the oldest PP Stunter in my collection fly? I first had the chance to try it out at the Leominster & Hereford Kite Festival. And it flies exactly as you would expect a 1970s Peter Powell to fly: it needs decent wind pressure on the sail and doesn't like it when that pressure falls away. But with enough wind pressure, it flies and steers well.

Now the kite also came with the original lines and handles, and I felt it would be fun to fly it on those lines rather than our modern Climax Protec.

Flying the kite on these vintage lines is ... let's just say 'interesting'. It really felt like I had two long elastic strings connecting me to the kite. Clearly, lines have come a long way in 40 years ...

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Sail colour of the original prototype was ???

Small snippet of information on the early history of the Peter Powell Stunter. If you had asked me a few months ago what the original sail colour of the Peter Powell Stunter was, I would have said black, without hesitation. I had always been under the impression that in the early days the sail only came in black, and that later, blue, red, yellow and green sails became an option. Found out recently (with thanks to Paul and Emma at Peter Powell Kites) that prior to the black sail, the prototype for the Stunter had a clear sail, but these clear-sailed kites never went into production.

Unfortunately, none of these clear-sailed prototypes seem to have survived, and I couldn't find a picture of one through googling. So I can't post a picture, but in the absence of the real thing, you can easily imagine what it could have looked like against a blue sky, right?