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.

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 ...