There will be times when you have a kite at zenith on land or have to pass it past zenith and since I got lofted doing just that (in a second as the kite flew past zenith) I've gotten into this habit.
Before launching trim the kite so it's neutral or slightly underpowered. Launch unhooked, landing too if wind is gusty.
Keep the kite low as much as possible and only hook in to pick up the board with the kite pointing out to sea.
Any time I have to pass my kite anywhere near or past zenith on land, (changing boards for instance, or just going back out again after I get back to the beach, or mucking around, test flying, etc) I unhook and jump with it as it flies past zenith.
Haven't tried this in enourmously overpowered conditions but I'd rather be holding a fully powered kite and ready to let go than hooked/shackled to one waiting for it to loft me.
It sounds like you are using sensible technique. It may well spare you a nasty encounter one day which should justify the inconvenience of the approach and then some.
I think for extended lofings, kite flight characteristics at least at lower speeds approximate conditions during larger jumps. It would be good to get the perspective of guys that pull a variety of tricks and manuvers on larger jumps. I would imagine bar control imputs would be very similar. For loftings where the rider might be moving at 40 to 50 kts., I am not so sure how a kite will behave.
Marina indicated the rider in Cabarete noticed a twitchy kite response. He mentioned the same to me during phone converstions arranged by Marina. Thanks! At very high speeds of travel this may be the least to expect. It is good that he kept calm and was able to steer towards a relatively soft impact against a pine tree.
It would be good to rehearse in your mind what you might do in a severe lofting incident. With luck and good judgment hopefully you will never experience one. If fortune drops you in it someday however it might be good to have done some mental preparation.
I am reminded of the terminal lofting in Spain about a year ago. The rider was at a substantial height and free fell to impact. It is uncertain if he intentionally released to avoid slaming into something or did so accidentally. He was a very experienced rider. It is also uncertain if thermal lofting may have been partially involved in that accident aside from gust lofting. If conditions permitted it may have been better if he could have ridden things out or perhaps tried a transition to reverse his direction of travel as Greg and Dimitri were able to do successfully. Of course these guys are advanced riders and do these manuvers routinely which helps.
Your holding the bar and the lines are attached to the kite. Imaginary arrows on those lines pointing directly to the kite. This is always the direction of your pull. So if up in a loft, if kept directly twelve you will pendulum under and kite will not be at twelve. A continuous steering of kite to keep it at a pefect twelve is the safest. Steer that kite cause yer gonna' follow. Adapt and overcome. control that kite or it will control you. The power is always in your hands.IMAGINARY ARROWS bar to kite is your direction so steer in direction you want.
Marley, I get you, you're saying that if you steer the kite you will swing under it so it will always be at zenith.
Rick, did you ask the guy who got lofted about steering the kite, whether he had to use really small movements of the bar or leaders and/or correct after?
Did he keep the kite powered or depowered while flying it down?
Saying you must try to steer that kite to a perfect twelve just before landing then power the hell out of it so you stall or parachute or stop any motion just before landing. this is in extreme situations to come down as softly as possable. You will or may not plane away but you will have full bodily functions and LIVE TO RIDE ANOTHER DAY.
On 2002-10-09 19:18, Mr Jo Macdonald wrote: Rick, did you ask the guy who got lofted about steering the kite, whether he had to use really small movements of the bar or leaders and/or correct after? Did he keep the kite powered or depowered while flying it down?
I recall that he said he used small control inputs or words to that effect. He did indicate that the kite response was strange or twitchy. I don't think he commented on whether or not the kite was depowered. The one thing I have noticed is that sudden changes in sheeting will slow or interrupt the smooth flight of an LEI kite. You have to wait a while for it to power backup and resume normal flight. What would happen with the kite seeing a forward speed of 30 to 40 kt. or more is hard to say. Small control inputs seem to potentially have a violent effect, amplified by the higher wind velocity going over the control surfaces of the kite.
Remember in this case in Cabarete, the rider almost had his kite in the hands of an assistant when a 51 kt. gust hit. So his kite was low to the ground and yet it still fired up into the powerzone. I suspect that small pressure differences on the control bar or possibly slight uneveness in kite line lengths were substantially amplified by the very strong wind. Alternatively, he may have accidently steered it there during the initial dragging. He was 20 m off the ground and heading towards a building under construction once he had a clue as to what was happening.
So, what may be reasonable and expected in more moderate winds, say less than 30 kts. may fly out the window in more extreme gusts.