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WARNING - Flat Kite Solo Launching

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RickI
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WARNING - Flat Kite Solo Launching

Postby RickI » Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:43 am

I heard about a serious accident today. It involved an experienced kiter solo launching a 15 m flat kite in about 18 mph. He reportedly bent and anchored wing tip with sand in the fashion of C Kites. Another kiter ran over to help him with an assisted launch but arrived just after the kite had been launched.

One of the bridles had wrapped a wing tip sending the kite into uncontrolled looping pulling the kiter at speed inland. The kiter hit a pile of stacked beach chairs breaking one and hitting his head. The other kiter sprinted and secured the kite before the rider could be dragged further. The rider suffered a large bump on his skull and perhaps no other injury. There was no helmet or impact vest in use.

I recently solo launched a 16 m flat kite in light winds in my normal fashion. This consists of leaving the kite leading edge down and pretending that it is being relaunched from water. I have never had incidents prior to this time although I never do this in higher winds. One of the bridles wrapped a wing tip sending the kite into a very slow loop. Despite this I was still dragged about 20 ft. on my feet through the sand. The wind was LIGHT fortunately.

As a rule if a wing tip is wrapped the obvious approach is to drop your bar, pop your chicken loop quick release and set the kite free. Otherwise you will likely be dragged uncontrollably downwind with disabled depowering. I have heard some say to pull in very hard on the leading edge leader lines. I have never tried this and can't comment on this approach.

I am not sure if all flat kites are equally at risk of accidental wrapping of a kite wing tip during solo launch or not. They all have bridles though so it might be best to assume that they all could wrap on solo launch using the two methods described above.

This leaves anchoring the chicken loop, setting the kite up for launching in an upright position and running back to launch it. Not all kites sit nicely in this position and there are other things that can go wrong with this approach.

It seems that competent assisted launches with flat kites are a very good idea and solo launch might unexpectedly result in serious injury over time.

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Note: by "flat kites" I am trying to described the various bridled leading edge inflatable kites available today and not kites that are merely "flat" like foils. The dynamics of foil launching are completely different.
Last edited by RickI on Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:51 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby mv » Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:21 am

Foil kites are flat kites that can be safely self launched and landed in high winds. I have self launched and landed many times in 30+ knots. Even though I can do it I always launch with my hand ready to pull the QL should a problem arise.

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Postby RickI » Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:34 am

Sorry to be misleading. By "flat kites" I was not referring to foils but to bridled leading edge inflatable kites. I added a note to the post above about this.

Have other folks had wing tips get caught while solo launching "flat kites?"

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Postby Alan » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:08 am

"This leaves anchoring the chicken loop, setting the kite up for launching in an upright position and running back to launch it. Not all kites sit nicely in this position and there are other things that can go wrong with this approach. "

If your kite does sit nicely using this technique then what are the other things that can go wrong with it? I think it is the safest way. I know it flies right BEFORE I hook in and I don't have to rely on some nice person who can't flip the kite without wrapping a line around a tip.

Alan

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Postby tautologies » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:31 am

for solo launch I do the attach the leash (that is connected further up on the center lines on the naish bar, thus depowering even more...the kite kite has always just sat there...I do make sure there are no-one downwind of me, so the worst that can happen is that my kite ends up in the bushes or trees.

So far it has even in gusty fairly strong (20 mph) winds it has been good.

Surely this is not something I recommend to everyone, and there are critical decisions that has to be made before trying a launch like that, but I think as long as there are no one downwind, it is fairly safe...

a.

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Postby tautologies » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:50 am

Alan wrote:"This leaves anchoring the chicken loop, setting the kite up for launching in an upright position and running back to launch it. Not all kites sit nicely in this position and there are other things that can go wrong with this approach. "

If your kite does sit nicely using this technique then what are the other things that can go wrong with it? I think it is the safest way. I know it flies right BEFORE I hook in and I don't have to rely on some nice person who can't flip the kite without wrapping a line around a tip.

Alan


i KNOW i KNOW i KNow....I've seen a uy bring a weight (for weight lifting) of 40 pounds to the beach....now his girl is sitting maybe 200 feet down wind of his kite (okay slightly to the side)...if his lines over time stretch on one side, and a gust hits the kite while walks back to pick it up..yes something really really bad can happen. THis is why I said something bad can happen and that it the launch needs some critical evaluation.

That said, the lines have less chance of wrapping...I have wrapped mine doing the regular launch...luckly I was fast and lucky and got it sorted fast....

a.

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Postby Halomon » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:12 am

My take on solo launching is that I love to do it and and have drift launched for over a year. I have just tried the secure the c-loop method and I really like this launch style even better. In our sport so many things can and sometimes do go wrong; no sense worrying about them,just try to use good judgement with a healthy dose of common sense in every situation hopefully minimizing the bad consequences.If you have confidence in your game then you just deal with every negative episode that happens with the best of your abilities; sometimes you win; sometimes it goes negative. That's the nature of our sport. Build confidence step by step and you have a solid game. Skip a few steps and eventually you pay the dues... hopefully not in the ER....G'day

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Re: WARNING - Flat Kite Solo Launching

Postby Ismo » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:22 am

RickI wrote:As a rule if a wing tip is wrapped the obvious approach is to drop your bar, pop your chicken loop quick release and set the kite free.

You are kidding, right?

why would you let the kite free? put it into safety!

every kite must have functional safety!

I have had my kite bowtie + looping 10 - 20 loops and safety have worked every time. after using safety kite perhaps loops couple times but drops to ground/water and stays there whitout virtually any pull.

or are you saying that some flat LEI kites don't really have safety at all? those kites trust that nothing goes never wrong? if something goes wrong kite have no safety at all? why should anyone buy such crap?

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Postby Windrider » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:03 am

The only self launch I've done with my flat kites is using the anchoring the chicklen loop technique. I tie a rope in a loop around a tree root (at Kailua) or a sign (at Mokuleia) and anchor it with a carabiner holding the rope to the chicken loop.. It has worked every time (3-4 times) that I've used it. I tend to be patient and wait for someone to help rather than self launch. I've only had to self-launch when there was no one else around early in the day.

No bridles tanlged on wingtips with this approach because you get to see and check the setup when you put the kite on its wingtip and walk back to the anchoring point to launch. I leave the rope and carabiner on the tree root /sign until I get back from my session. So far, no one has taken my carabiner while I was out.

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Postby aahi » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:50 am

RickI wrote:Sorry to be misleading. By "flat kites" I was not referring to foils but to bridled leading edge inflatable kites. I added a note to the post above about this.

Have other folks had wing tips get caught while solo launching "flat kites?"


happened to my brother when drift launching... I was scared shitless for him as he was being drug and couldn't do anything (luckily wind was offshore, but there was coral a few meters away), i had time to self land on my fifth line, secure my kite and was almost to him when the bridle went free... and it's one of those newer kites with anti-snag webbing on the strut tips.... I'm real scared about bridal kites now (at least the ones that have bridals long enough to wrap around a wing tip)...

I do a lot of drift launching with my fifth line kite and have it pretty much down to a science, but you have to be extra careful on windy days cause a gust could pick the kite off the water when you still have 10m of lines to feed out!!! I almost lost my finger once because of that. On strong days I always have my hand on my quick release just in case...


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