|SKIN IN THE GAME* (again)
For the last few years, I've been officially "retired" with business connections to the kite world only via Peter Lynn brand licensees (Vlieger Op in the Netherlands for traction kites and Peter Lynn Ltd in NZ for single line kites) and Airbanners (now licensed to Kaixuan in Weifang).
8 Bridle Pilot Kite 8 Bridle Pilot Kite
Elwyn and I have been able to go to kite events together for almost the first time ever, which we are really enjoying. And I've had leisure to think some more on why single line kites don't fly, by way of a few thousand hours applied to Pilot kites and Rays (more a life sentence than a lifestyle choice at times). I've largely stayed off traction kite development because of recurring shoulder and back problems (legacy of far too many crashes) and because for the last nearly 10 years, improvements have been coming from incremental development of existing designs which isn't nearly as exciting (to me) as revolutionary new approaches. Or maybe I'm over the hill and out of touch- and my back and shoulder hurt because I'm getting too old for this stuff.
We shall see!
Having time with Elwyn has been great, but the kite stuff's been getting a bit boring of late.
So I'm about to become much more actively involved in the business side again- have already actually, partly because the Pilot and Lifter kites I've been working at incessantly for many years are flying so reliably now that I have a mission to get them out to everyone and everywhere- and at irresistible prices. 3 Bridle Stackable Pilot 3 Bridle Stackable Pilot
At the beginning of this (southern) winter a 9sq.m 7 bridle stackable stayed up in the kite field down the back beside the kite factory for 75 hours 28minutes. Far and away a record for me, ever- and this was in the totally horrible winds that this field is renowned for. So horrible, that Simon (Peter Lynn Kites Ltd) generally declines to test fly there, preferring to pack and drive kms to a more open location instead.
The 9 sq.m 7 bridle stackable, the 11 sq.m 3 bridle stackable and the 22 sq.m 3 bridle stackable are now available direct from Kaixuan (Weifang) to end users for US$130.,US$180. and US$280. respectively, plus freight, under the Airbanners brand.
Production versions of these have all just survived 5 days at Taiwan's notorious Baishawan beach during the typhoon season- an endorsement equal to Lake Clearwater (NZ) in a raging nor-wester.
Our aim is to keep their prices so competitive that home kitemakers will put their own time into something more interesting and creative instead. They'll also be available from PL Kites Ltd in NZ of course.
But mainly I'm back in business because I've developed a new single skin traction kite (
last month's newsletter
) and need to get it to market. It's revolutionary. I'd been broadcasting the possibility of this kite for some years, hoping that someone else would do it so I wouldn't have to interrupt my life of leisure (yeah right). But eventually, sheer frustration when nobody put their hand up- and from seeing that it was possible- has caused me to jump in again. "THE SKIN" Appropriate don't you think?
Development has been rapid and successful during September, with two models now production ready. The latest has just 5 cells, 16 front bridles, 6 brakes and flies really well. I've mainly stayed with 4sq.m sizes- for easier comparison between prototypes (22 in 2months), but I have made one 10sq.m, just to check for unexpected scaling problems- and there didn't seem to be any. The latest 5 cell is just 2.75sq.m. For now I'm concentrating on traction kite versions, but some other surprising kite applications have now emerged- maybe more about these next month.
And now this kite has a name: The SKIN- appropriate don't you think?
Exactly how the SKIN will be marketed is not yet settled, lots of discussions going on. If early promise turns into market success (never certain) then ideally there may be 5 main licensees, each operating primarily in a different sector of the kite world . "THE SKIN"
And I will be offering one-off licensees free to home builders. These will be granted case-by-case at Peter Lynn Ltd's discretion to requests accompanied by bona fide names, addresses and email. Initially design data will be by providing sets of fabric cut-outs- all the pieces required for making either of the first two designs for NZ$75-unless you want special colours or fabric). For second and later kites all that will be required will be permission from me and a number, which will be registered against your name and address. I may have to cease issuing one-off licenses at some stage depending on licensing negotiations that are in progress, but for now this is how it will be.
I've also organising for a few 4 sq.m 7 cell and 2.75m 5 cell four-line SKINS to be made by Kaixuan in Weifang- to get things rolling faster. These will be available from them for US$90 and US$75 respectively plus freight- limited colour choices and simple graphics only for now. Again, this is an arrangement that may not be able to continue as other negotiations settle.
As I said; back in business- and starting from the bottom again!
Peter Lynn, Chengdu, China, October 1 2013
* "Skin in the game": A term from the money markets used to distinguish those who's earnings come from commissions from those who share the risks.
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