My curiosity fueled by these incidents I searched the National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident/Incident Database for references to aircraft "accidents" involving kites. There are none apparent in the 45,015 aviation accidents recorded by NTSB since 1983. I also searched the 114,817 record database of aircraft-related "incidents" reported since 1981. Here I found 8 incidents involving kites. None resulted in accident or injury though a person was charged with malicious mischief for deliberately flying a kite in front of a Pitts (Special?) on landing approach. The Pitts landed without damage. Another incident in 1996 involved a Piper PA-18 towing a banner. A kite severed the banner line and the banner "fell into the sea" near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Of the eight incidents involving kites four were described as causing no damage while the other four caused minor damage. Four of the aircraft involved were single-engine private aircraft, three were executive multi-engine aircraft (two jets), while the remaining case was an Agusta A109 commercial helicopter. Five of the incidents occurred during an aircraft's final runway approach and one immediately after takeoff so there appears to be a causal and intuitive relationship with proximity to airports. The remaining two incidents occurred during low level cruise (the helicopter ferrying passengers from New York to the airport and the banner towing airplane.)
Only two reports mentioned kiteline strength. The helicopter incident had the following description "during cruise aircraft contacted 100 pound test nylon kite cord. Cord entangled in rotors. Safe landing." The helicopter was not damaged. The other kiteline citation mentioned 20 pound fishing line. A third incident was described by the FAA as "Pilot struck a kite that was being flown by a 9 year old girl in his flight path on final approach." Brooks Leffler provided some more details on this March 1988 incident in Mountain View, California. "A little girl was holding 170 lb line to her dad's 11 ft Cloud Pleasers Marshall Delta-Conyne when a flying ambulance came in too low on a seldom-used approach to nearby Palo Alto airport and snagged the line in the prop. Girl was lifted about ten feet and let go when she saw a grove of trees approaching. No damage or injuries, but lotsa adrenalin pumped."
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