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.

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 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!