thats whats happened !
Ever wondered what happens when you throw a 11.5 AR5 Naish kite into the
main rotor of a Bell helicopter ? what if you were to do that over a
crowded beach ? what are the chances that NOT 1 person gets injured ?
this all happened before my very eyes yesterday...
there is one spot at Ilhabela (near Sao Paulo, Brazil) that is good for
southwinds. There is a rarely used heliport (not approved by the local
equivalent of the FAA apparently) that is right on the beach. Its a
tight island so they just plopped the heliport in between a beach and a
Yesterday there were about 30 kites (a lot for our standards in brazil)
sailing at this spot. the wind was ranging from 10-15 knots and people
were really enjoying the day... the wind dropped to about 8 knots so
most kitesurfers headed back in to the small beach and landed their
kites... The whole beach has about 30 meters in length (measured with
kite lines !) so it was quite impressive that we could sail that many
kites and have no near misses. There were only two kites up in the
air... Our friend Kiko that owns a hotel on that beach (intermediate)
and myself on my kitelongboard (which rocks in 8 kntos with an arc1120).
Suddenly the bell executive helicopter (owned by a commuter company)
swooped in VERY fast into the heliport. The pilot seemed to be doing
some aerobatics to land as quickly and as "vietnam movie style" as
possible. I was about 30 meters upwind with my arc and i started to get
really worried about the helicopter knocking my kite down so i brought
it down to the side. Kiko was right next to the heliport - about 15
meters to the side. The Helicopter has almost landed (about 10 meters in
the air) when Kikos kite started getting sucked to the side of the
helicopter. he was trying desperately to steer it the other way but the
kite did not respond. He (luckily) unhooked and released the wrist
leash. The kite came over the top of the helicopter (at 10 meters in the
air) and INTO the main rotor it went...
The kite disintegrated in less than a second, it was like an explosion
of ripstop. The lines got reeled into the rotor... and the helicopter
landed in the nexyt few seconds. as it slowed the rotor down the bar got
reeled into the blades until it got sucked into the gear and as the
rotors slowed to a halt the naish bar went into the gears, the blades
twisted to a halt.
NO human damage whatsoever !
There were about 60 people on the beach and many more spread around the
If the kitesurfer hadnt unhooked he might have been pulled into the
blades or at least be thrown a considerable distance.
If the helicopter hadnt landed safely they might have crashed on people
or worse exploded and killed almost a hundred people.
Lesson learned. keep FAR away from helicopters.
The most impressive was seeing the kite get ripped into powdered
ripstop. the fact that no one got hurt allowed us to make some jokes
about the durability of naish kites to Dudu (naish software designer)
who was on the beach as well.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... rolado.jpg
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... ro%201.jpg