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.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

A Peter Powell selfie!

When we were at Weymouth Kite Festival earlier this year, and took delivery of our set of L-katz Peter Powells, we also got ourselves a pair of PP hats to keep our heads warm in the coming winter, colour-matched with our Flying Fish coats.

Well, today was definitely cold enough to start using them!

By the way, with this picture we've joined the selfie generation: this is our very first ever selfie; not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed ...

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

L-katz Peter Powells in flight

Some time ago, I showed you a picture of our set of custom Peter Powells for the L-katz team. Now you may have wondered why I didn't post any pictures of them flying. Well, the reason for that is that I wanted to hold off on that blog post until L-katz had flown all five together. Unfortunately, shortly after I got the kites, Tony suffered very serious health problems, and he may never fly as part of the team again .... So I decided not to delay any longer.

The first time we flew three of the five kites (#1, #2, #5; red - black - red tails) was when Neil was also out of action, due to surgery on his hand. Roger, Irma and myself had the honour of the initial flight of the L-katz Peter Powells.

The wind was strong, the kites were in their element, and we had fun!

Next time the kites came out was with a 4-man L-katz. Four kites (#1, #2, #4, #5; red - black - black - red tails).

We could really take the kites through their paces, and try out which patterns worked and which didn't.

And with the 3-man as well as the 4-man team, there were occasions were it didn't work! But, as they say, if you don't crash into each other every once in a while, you're not trying hard enough ....

I want to finish this blog post by simply expressing our wish, in the strongest possible way, that Tony will one day be able to take back his place in the team, and fly kite #3, with a yellow tail. #3 has so far remained unflown, waiting for Tony to pick up the lines. Fingers crossed ...

Saturday, 12 November 2016

'Chevron' Cayman

I've written on this blog before about the US arm of Peter Powell Kites becoming independent and changing its name to Caribbean Kite Company. Several of the kites produced by Peter Powell Kites were continued, but under a different name. For the standard PP diamond Stunter this rebranding resulted in the Cayman.

As I said in this earlier blog post, I regard kites made by the Caribbean Kite Company as having 'Peter Powell DNA'. You may well disagree with me, but for me, Caribbean Kite Company is part of the Peter Powell story, and so I've been looking for Caribbean kites to add to the Peter Powell collection. There certainly aren't many around so I'm pleased that I've managed to get my hands on a Cayman in the 'chevron' colour scheme, new in its package, and for very little $$!

This Cayman hardly changed from the Peter Powell Stunter that was its predecessor: same 4' wing span, ripstop sail, same spar arrangement, fibreglass spars. Besides the slightly different nose piece, it's just the label which identifies it as having been produced by Caribbean Kite Company.

It also flies exactly as you'd expect from a PP Stunter: needs a decent pressure on the sail to be optimally steerable, but in winds over, say, 10mph, it's a fun kite to fly.

And in case anyone has any doubt about the PP ancestry of the Cayman, look at the handles that came with the kite:

What does it say on the handles? Exactly ..

Monday, 31 October 2016

'The Monster', part II: adding a custom-made tail

I blogged earlier about our 6' Peter Powell 'Monster' and wrote that I was hoping to convince Mark and Paul to make me a blue-pink-white custom tail for the kite. Well, they were happy to do so, and here is this custom-made tri-colour tail; thanks guys!

Because the kite is around 50% larger in height and wing span, Mark made the tail also longer, to keep it roughly the same length relative to the kite.

And the extra-long tri-colour tail looks really good on the kite, I must say (but I would say that, wouldn't I?).

There's just one downside to flying kites with extra long tails ...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Battle-scarred ...

Got her via Ebay, a Mk I Stunter with fibreglass frame, and she arrived with battle scars: two long tears, repaired with tape. As I was setting her up in our usual flying field for her first flight with me, another tear appeared. She's clearly suffering from BSS (brittle sail syndrome), a common problem with old Peter Powells. Another length of repair tape, a quick field fix, and she was ready to take to the air.

I launched her with a hefty dose of apprehension. The wind was quite strong and blustery, and that's not ideal for an old girl with BSS ... But off she went and crossed were my fingers (at least for as far as the line straps allowed me).

She seemed really happy, riding the gusts as if nothing was wrong.

I kept expecting to see another tear appear as she was flying around, but no, all went fine! Battle-scarred and wounded though she was, she was enjoying herself, diving, rising and looping to her heart's content. I will need to treat her with caution, of course, keep a close eye on her sail for any emerging tears, and repair when necessary. But 'brittle sail syndrome' is progressive and incurable, so the day will come that her sail tears beyond repair ... But until that day, this old girl will remain a welcome part of my collection.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Looking for a Skytoy

While searching the internet for information on US-made Peter Powell kites, I stumbled across a mention of an "evil PP for the Japanese market", which, allegedly, "even Peter himself didn't like". Any attempt to pin down exactly which kite this was fizzled out into failure ...

Keep in mind the Japanese connection, and look at this ad from 1991 in the magazine Kite Lines.

Look at the kite featured in the lower right of the ad. It's a Skytoy, said to be "a big hit in Japan" ... Am I jumping to conclusion by adding 2 and 2 to make 4? Is a Skytoy indeed this "evil PP"?

The Skytoy was Peter Powell Kites' attempt to create a miniature stunt kite. It had a wing span of 86 cm, and weighed just over 50 grams. It was meant to be flown off two fingers, and was said to be very fast. Further attempts to get more information on the Skytoy, or even another picture, again fizzled out into the earlier mentioned failure, so if anyone knows more about this tiny PP kite, please get in touch.

And needless to say, but if anyone, whether in Japan or anywhere else, has a Skytoy for sale, please do let me know, ok?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Junior triple-stack

Some time ago, I posted on our new Skyraker, which we managed to get from the US. Well, this kite didn't cross the pond on its own; there was something more in the package ...

But let me first give you a bit of background. In the UK, Peter Powell Stunters all came in the same size: with a 4' wing span. In the US, this was also the case originally, but then the US arm of Peter Powell Kites started producing larger and smaller versions. The larger 6' version was called 'The Monster' and we have one in our collection. The smaller 3' (82cm) version was called 'Junior', and that's the kite that accompanied the Skyraker in its voyage to the UK. Or, to be more precise, three kites linked together: a Junior triple-stack.

The stack came without original tails, and I thought we'd just try to fly it like that. Big mistake ... Highly unstable, extremely twitchy and almost impossible to fly. We didn't bring any official Peter Powell tails with us, but we did have several Premier transition tails in the team bag. To see whether that made a difference, we first attached a single 50' tail to the lead kite of the stack. That definitely made a difference, and when we then attached two further 25' tails to the other two kites, we had a stack that was actually flyable!

The Premier tails weren't made for these kites, but they do match well, and the two different tail lengths create a nice unusual visual effect.

Even though the tails most certainly tamed the kites, they remain more difficult to fly than 4' Stunters, whether old or modern. I seem to remember Paul or Mark saying something along the lines of Juniors not exactly being the best kites ever produced under the Peter Powell name. I may have found out why, but nevertheless, they're a welcome addition to our Peter Powell Kites collection.