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, 16 October 2017

Skychaser

The US arm of Peter Powell Kites produced a range of dual-line deltas, ranging in size from the 2.47m wing span Skylite to the 0.86m wing span Skytoy. So far, I've not been able to get my hands on this smallest of Peter Powell deltas, but I did manage to snap up the second-smallest PP delta, a 1.26m wing span Skychaser!


In flight, the Skychaser proved itself to be a fast and zippy kite, and a much better-tracking kite than you would expect from its size. And even axels and half-axels can be coaxed out of it.


In the ads of the day, the Skychaser was promoted as very suitable for flying in stacks.









So I'll keep my eyes open for further Skychasers, with the aim of gradually building up a bit of a Skychaser stack.

Watch this space!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Peter Powell Kites Adoption Agency

I seem to have acquired a bit of a reputation for being interested in Peter Powell kites. Three times this past festival season I was given a vintage PP Stunter by someone who clearly knew about my collection, and said he had this old PP, it was damaged or missing bits and pieces, they were going to throw it away, but if I wanted it ... here it is!

Throwing away a PP? No way!!! If there's any way to get it flying again, I will do my best. So I guess the Peter Powell Kites Adoption Agency was launched ...

So here is the first of these adopted PP Stunters: a blue Mk I, fibreglass frame. This was the kite that required the least amount of reconstruction. The t-piece was broken, but that was easy to replace. It had a few tears in the sail, but nothing that a bit of tape couldn't fix. And some glue dealt with the sticker having come off the sail. It didn't come with a tail, but I've got plenty of PP tails to hook on to it.

First of the Peter Powell Kites Adoption Agency kites, moments before take-off:


And back in the air again!


As I mentioned earlier, there are two more to follow, which need a bit more work (certainly one of them does). And if anyone reading this is ready to throw an old PP in the bin, please think again and contact the PPKAA ... If I can make it fly again, fly again it will!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Mk II 3-stack

First, take a badly damaged orange Mk II Stunter: missing cross spars, broken spine, but at least the ripstop sail shows no damage:


Add to that a pair of yellow and red Mk II Stunters, obtained at a very reasonable price (thanks Josh!):


Stir in a set of bridle and stacking lines (thanks, Graham!):


That then gives you a stack of three ripstop MkII Stunters:


Finally, mix in three custom-made banded tails (thanks Paul!):


And all that will then result in a flyable Mk II 3-stack!


Wind was perfect to try them out, 8-12mph most of the time. So they took off without any problem!


As you would expect, the pull from a triple stack is considerably more than from a single kite, but nothing we couldn't handle. With higher winds, this will definitely require stronger lines than the 100daN we flew them on, though.


The banded tails really look great, and add a bit extra to the spectacle, given that the kites are single-colour.


I love it when a plan comes together ...

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Trinidad

Besides PP-esque diamond kites, the Caribbean Kite Company also produced a wide range of dual-line deltas after it severed its links with the Peter Powell name. A few months ago, I managed to get my hands on one of these, a Jamaica. And now I've been able to add a second one to my collection: a Trinidad.


The Trinidad has a wing span of 1.78m and if you look closer, you'll see that it's quite an unusual kite. For instance, it doesn't have a spine:


This means that there is no t-piece for the lower spreader to fit into, and instead of via a t-piece, the lower spreader is attached to the sail through a bungee:


I said 'lower spreader', as if the kite also has an upper spreader, but it doesn't and the upper outhauls of the bridle are both connected to the nose, sort of similar to the configuration of a Speedwing:


Design details aside, how does it fly?


The wind range is officially given as 5-25mph, but it really needs at least 8mph to fly halfway decent. The Trinidad has a tendency to oversteer, and it doesn't like the edge of the window; it needs constant wind pressure in the sail. I sort of managed to axel and half-axel the kite, but it doesn't do these tricks gladly (although that might of course say something about my own abilities, or lack thereof).


To be honest, I'm not overly impressed with this kite, as I wasn't with the Jamaica. For a company that was explicitly aiming to be at the top of the market, the two dual-line deltas I've flown so far certainly don't match that ambition. Maybe others do? Such as their 2+m wing span flagship models Mustique and Martinique? The search continues!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Early tail attachment

It's always good fun to stumble across another piece of the Peter Powell puzzle. This particular piece came from Martin Fisher (thanks!) who posted a scan of the original instruction sheet of aluminium-framed PP Stunters on the Peter Powell Kites Owners Group on Facebook:


What was interesting to me about these instructions was how the tail was to be attached on these early Peter Powells: not at the bottom end of the sail, as I was used to, but on the cross struts!

When I got my alu-framed PP, it did not come with the original instructions, so I had added a tail in the usual way, on the spine at the bottom end of the sail.

Obviously, I had to try this out! I did not have a PP tail with two holes, so added two holes to an existing later tail. And this is what it looks like once fitted:


I have to admit that my first impression wasn't very positive. It looked and felt rather clunky. And it looked odd, but that's of course simply because I'm not used seeing a tail on a PP attached that high up ...


Clunky or not, odd or not, the proof is in the pudding. Or rather, in the air, so up went the kite!



I have to admit, seen from the other side of 40m lines, it didn't look bad at all! And certainly different from having the tail come off the spine. I was a bit worried that the tail would become entangled in the bridle, but that didn't happen at all. The tail nicely hung between the two sides of the bridle, and never seemed at risk of tangling.


Now that I know that this was the official way to attach the tail to an alu-framed Peter Powell Stunter, I will of course fly alu-framed PPs with the tail attached to the cross struts from now on. Gotta maintain historical accuracy for as much as possible!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Bag expansion

Last year, I blogged about the acquisition of a pair of HQ Proline kite bags to house the Peter Powell collection. Well, since that time, the collection has grown significantly, to the point where it doesn't fit in two bag any more ...

Solution to this conundrum is pretty easy: get another HQ Proline bag, a green one this time, and again sourced from Kiteworld.


This new green bag, the smaller of the two versions available, will house the modern Mk III PP Stunters, leaving the smaller blue bag for the older UK PPs and the larger blue bag for the US kites.


Something tells me it won't be the last bag for the collection ...

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 3' Stunter, 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?