Karen Cartlidge

Our wonderful friend Karen, sent us this link to her You tube video.
She is our crash test dummy, when it comes to trying out new and exciting prototype parts for our buggy’s. Maybe one day she will head out our way down under to try her hand at the Blue Ball buggy challenge in Auckland. I don’t think it has ever been won by a woman, so there is a challenge for you Karen!!!!! Blue balls is this weekend just outside Auckland. I will keep you informed as Craig is going to try and hold onto the trophy.


Peter Lynn Newsletter – August 2010


Though probably not in quite the way you expect- but please read on.

A life-long and involuntary (this is my excuse anyway) obsession with kites and kite flying can’t easily be indulged by staying at home, especially if that home is in the town of Ashburton (population 15,000), and that town is in New Zealand, which is about as far from anywhere in the world as it’s possible to get without falling off the edge.

For starters, if kite flying in its chronic form afflicts just one person in every 10,000 (a reasonable estimate?), then there should be just half of one other committed enthusiast here to share the fun with- which, depending on which half it is, might be somewhat handicapping (and there’s a thought: perhaps this was the inspiration for Martin Lester’s ‘top half’ and ‘bottom half’ kites).  Fortunately there are more keen kite fliers in Ashburton now- but it can still be lonely pursuit in any small town.

And also, the wind is bad for kite flying in Ashburton- either too much or not enough.  During the winter (now) it’s of the not-enough variety, which isn’t easy to deal with when you have a serious addiction.

So I travel away all the time, hanging out with my fellow afflicted, sometimes even in places with useful wind.

But, historically, Ashburton and New Zealand are not the kite-flying desert that I constantly whinge and complain about. Polynesians bought their kite tradition with them in the 13th century when they first arrived in ‘Aotearoa’ (In Maori; ‘the land of the long white cloud’, but pejoratively; ‘the land of the wrong white crowd’ since 19th century European colonisation).  Maori kites are recognisably similar, by name, form and construction to those still flown in the South East Asian birthplace of kites, from where their Polynesian ancestors began the Pacific diaspora more than 3000 years ago.

European style kites came to New Zealand from the same origin but the long way around; from Indonesia via Islam through Spain, or perhaps via China through Italy.

And this history has just become more accessible.  It’s now possible to research early NZ newspapers on-line through the site “Papers Past” which has almost all NZ newspapers up until about 1921 available.  They’ve been scanned in and can be accessed via an OCR (optical character recognition) program.

It’s a treasure trove- not least because privacy was not the concern it is today, so personal details are there for the reading.  A quick look at  “kites” produced many more hits than could be read  in any reasonable time,  but already some fascinating avenues have opened. Here’s a sample (emphasis is mine):

The Ashburton Guardian (our local newspaper) of 6 Dec 1888 printed the following story:


Some forty years back a mania set in amongst aeronauts who believed that carriages drawn by kites would supersede railways to a considerable extent.  Among those who followed this fascinating study was Dr Pocock, an uncle of W.C. Grace, the champion cricketer.  Dr Pocock made many journeys from Bristol to London in a little carriage drawn by a couple of large kites flying a quarter of a mile or so in the air, and he often attained a speed of fully 20 miles an hour. It was thought, too, that kites would supersede sails for ships, and, in fact, for some time scientific England went kite mad.

In order to thoroughly understand the action of these gigantic kites (some of them were as large as a ship’s mainsail), a certain John Farenheit- who we may observe was no relation of the famous chemist of that name- made several voyages of considerable distances in a basket, an ordinary wickerwork affair such as is used by laundresses, tied to a kite. The kite was started in Romford, in Essex.  It was attached to a pony chaise, which was constructed as to be easily steered by means of handles, such as those on old-fashioned tricycles.  In the chaise sat two men, one the brother of the kite traveller, the other a wealthy gentleman who spent a considerable fortune in hare-brain experiments of this description.

Well then, how about that!  I’m not sure about the wickerwork bit; was John suspended at the kite or some way down the line?.  And was he just an observer or did he exercise some control? Considering current  efforts to pull ships with large parafoils and to generate electricity using kites, I fully understand the dissipation of fortunes on hare-brain experiments bit though- nothing much has changed!

And from the North Otago Times.  (Dunedin is another small southern NZ town):

DUNEDIN, December 28, 1892

An extraordinary fatality occurred at South Dunedin today.  A number of boys were engaged flying kites when a lad of 12, named Fiddes, son of a painter, trod on the kite of another boy named Foggarty, aged about 13.  Foggarty struck him a blow, knocking him down.  Fiddes died very shortly afterwards.  Foggarty has been arrested.

Road rage of the kite variety

And another from the Nelson Evening Mail, 4th Jan 1901 (Nelson is a settlement to the north of Ashburton):


The residents of Nelson have been mistified during the holidays by beholding suspended in the heavens oblong shapes that resembled the air-ships described by George Griffiths in his fanciful war-of-the-future novels.  Some regarded the curious visitors as portents, and wanted to know if the Russians, the Boers, or the Chinese had made an up-to-date invasion of the colony.  On inquiry, however, it was ascertained that the queer looking objects were merely American Navy Blue Hill box kites, imported by Mr T. Blake Huffam, and flown by him for advertisement and amusement.

These kites range in size from about six feet to two feet in length and they are so constructed as to adapt themselves to combination, whereby two, three, and even four can be flown joined together, thus giving great lifting power.  Their practical use is in raising banners, flags, advertisements, cameras, scientific instruments, etc, to a great height.  It is no exaggeration to say that if two of the largest were flown combined they would lift a small boy off his feet, and carry him into the air if he could only hold on; while a sudden release of the slack of the string would throw down the strongest man.

And, in the Poverty Bay Herald of Nov 2 1912 there is an account of a lecture “KITE FLYING.  AN ANCIENT MAORI CUSTOM.  THE MANU-AUTE DESCRIBED” given by the Rev Archdeacon Walsh to the Auckland Institute which is too long to reprint here but which contains information that I was not previously aware of (or have forgotten)- like that Maui was a kite flier. (Maui is the legendary fisherman of Maori mythology who created Aotearoa/New Zealand by pulling it up from the sea.)  Ah ha!-but as the Polynesian kite tradition derived (as do all kites I believe) from kite fishing, the implication could be that New Zealand was hauled out of the deep by a kite!  Now there’s a creation myth I’ll vote for!

And this is just a start; as on-line access extends to everything in the world that’s ever been written and has survived somewhere, some very interesting things are going to come to light.

Peter Lynn, Ashburton, August 1 ’10. (actually I’m in Singapore, but the story line didn’t work so well from here).

Peter Lynn Newsletter – July 2010

At the Cervia Kite Festival in 2009, I was ceremonially presented me with a Tee shirt by Klaus from Luxemburg labeling me, not entirely unfairly, as the “Master of Disaster”; see accompanying photo.

Master of Disaster at work

I wore it with pride at every kite event after that for more than a year while offering it to other fliers who, by their virtuosity in precipitating various kite incidents, had shown themselves to be deserving.  Strangely, none ever accepted.  Perhaps they were just too modest- or perhaps I should have washed it at some stage.

Anyway, getting desperate for a change of clothing, eventually a cunning plan evolved:

At Cervia in 2010, I gave it for the auction, then, contrived to be absent when it came up for sale so that the auctioneer (Paul Reynolds) couldn’t knock it down to me again – and winkle away my life’s savings in the process – ‘cos he would have.

I think Klaus was a bit hurt by this – perhaps he felt it was not quite right for me to give away his gift – or maybe he sees it as his duty to put up signs to protect kite fliers, rather like having “Road Works”, “Deer Crossing”, “Accident Ahead” or the like on roadways.

Actually, I shouldn’t have said that – now he’ll probably present me with an “Accident Ahead” Tee shirt.

But Klaus, the sale raised $50 for a good cause, and the general idea was so good I think I’ll copy it (no, I’m not aware of any Chinese ancestry, my surname is Lynn not Lin.)- and copying is the only sincere flattery.*

How about expanding Klaus’s idea a bit:

Master of Disaster tee

And what about a few other themed Tee shirts like:


And another one:

But I don’t really mean this last one, really I don’t, and here is one way I can help to fix your kite:

Judging by how some of them fly at kite events, it seems that almost nobody out there (or at the PL Kite Factory for that matter!) yet knows how to tune Pilot kites.  I’ve attempted to describe the process in previous Newsletters but clearly haven’t connected.

This is my fault entirely; I’ve been explaining it too technically, using too many words, and trying to cover too many exceptions.

It’s easy, and even the why of it is simple:

Here’s the essential:

To pull a Pilot kite to the right, shorten “B” bridle on the right. – End of story!

A’s are the set of bridles along the leading edge, B’s are the next set and C’s are the ones nearest the trailing edge. (on later model 8 bridle Pilots there’s no C in the centre span.)

OK so I’ve lied a little, not quite the entire story: the kite will be sensitive to this adjustment to within a few millimetres, but only when the B bridle length is already nearly correct.  Often it will be necessary to pull in 50mm or so before it gets into this critical range.  I think this is why it’s so confusing.  If you shorten a side B by 50mm and nothing seems to have happened, then it’s completely reasonable to expect that another 10mm won’t make any difference either.  And if you then shorten it another 50mm and that side of the kite folds in half and won’t even stay inflated, then the conclusion might reasonably be that changing B lengths doesn’t work at all as a tuning system.  But it does.  You just have to find the critical length range within which it works.  Somewhere in the middle between the extremes will be a +/-25mm length range that will enable any Pilot I’ve met so far to be centralised.

But isn’t this rather a brave statement of the ‘Bring me your sick and dying and I will heal them’ sort?  Well yes, I am a bit nervous, can imagine really needing that last Tee shirt while at kite events from now on.

Realistically I expect there are some Pilots out there that are so asymmetric (from angled weft, manufacturing inaccuracies, asymmetrical stretch or a combination of these things) as to be beyond help.  But for some years now I’ve been taking the Pilots that have been rejected as un-flyable/unsalable by Peter Lynn Kites Ltd, fixing them by the above (and below) techniques and using them at events,- and haven’t yet had a failure.

But what about stability?

What to do when your Pilot starts weaving around all over the sky then crashes out in a series of loops (taking other kites in the vicinity along for the ride, and earning you a Tee shirt number two).  This cure is also easy:

To stop Pilot kites zooming around, shorten the centre span B bridle.  End of story.

But by how much should you shorten centre B?

By just enough to stabilise the kite, because too much will eat in to light wind performance.

And the reasons for why these techniques work?  This really is simple:

The more lift (upwards force) that a kite generates, the less stable it will be, but the more drag it creates horizontal force), the more stable it will be.

Shortening any B bridle reduces the camber (lift creating curvature) of that section of the kite, which decreases the amount of lift and increases the drag generated there.

When B bridle on the right side of a Pilot kite is shortened it reduces the lift and increases the drag from that side of the kite, allowing the left hand side of the kite to dominate and push the kite to the right.

When the centre span B bridle is shortened, the camber in the centre of the kite is reduced so the amount of lift generated is reduced and the drag increased, so the kite becomes more stable.

Sure there are forms of instability that this adjustment won’t cure, but the zooming around sort is by far the most common, and this is a complete fix for it.

These techniques work for every size and every model of Pilot kite produced by Peter Lynn Kites Ltd so far.

For the next (probably 6 bridle, but not yet finalised) models, rather than changing bridle lengths, there is to be an internal adjustment that accomplishes the same effect.  This is neater, more predictable in effect and even simpler to do.  It can even be retro-fitted to earlier 8 and 9 bridle Pilots if you have a mind to.

Peter Lynn, Ashburton, June 30 2010

*   So does this mean that the Chinese are really showing how much they admire us when ripping us off?
Judging by the increasingly blatant activities of Weifang New Sky Kites I think I’d rather be reviled – and no doubt will be when PL Kites Ltd finally loses patience with polite requests and starts jumping on their Western customers for copyright infringement in a big and expensive way.

Peter Lynn out at Lake Clearwater New Zealand 1993

This picture was taken in 1993 at Lake Clearwater in New Zealand. Peter is out on the ice with a Peel.

These pictures below were taken just a few days ago at the same place. Peter and his son went out for R and R. He had this to say afterwards:


Some areas of NZ are reporting the coldest temps since records have been kept- 139 years in one case. There’s excellent ice (85mm to 100mm) at lake Clearwater, has been for 3 weeks- but not much wind yesterday, and was a bit overcast- which is unusual there at this time of year.

Pete and I had the lake pretty much to ourselves.



New prototype downtube

We here at the Peter Lynn Factory in New Zealand, are always on the look out for new ideas and ways to improve your buggy experience, and the latest invention of our manger Craig Hansen is the prototype Carbon Composite down tube.

We have an awesome crash test dummy in the UK, whose has the very apt name of  Cartlidge.  Karen is a fabulous rider sponsored by Peter Lynn, who has the hard task to try out  our items in-between winning competitions, working, and on occasion breaking herself!!!!! Yes Karen, we heard about your latest adventure!!!!!  😉

The pictures below are of Karen’ s new buggy with the new type of down tube made of a carbon composite material. Take a look at the Lynn Link fork, another new piece of equipment added to our range of custom made parts.

Her rear axle is not the standard buggy axle.  It is the composite axle, which has been in production for over 3 years made here in New Zealand, and is such a hit with free-stylers in the buggy community.  This axle was another great idea from Craig.  If your interested in any of these items, or if you want to know any information about Karens great buggy please email me, Kirsty, at       sales@peterlynnkites.com.  If your out at any events this year, keep your eye open for Karen.