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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2001 1:00 am
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Location: Latvia
Hi bros,
have You heard anything about Ben Franklin`s kite?
Here is a part of some article:
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.....experiment was successfully performed by Thomas Francois D'Alibard of France in May 1752 when sparks were observed to jump from the iron rod during a thunderstorm. G. W. Richmann, a Swedish physicist working in Russia during July 1753, proved that thunderclouds contain electrical charge, and was killed when lightning struck him.

Before Franklin accomplished his original experiment, he thought of a better way to prove his hypothesis through the use of a kite. The kite took the place of the iron rod, since it could reach a greater elevation and could be flown anywhere. During a Pennsylvania thunderstorm in 1752 the most famous kite in history flew with sparks jumping from a key tied to the bottom of damp kite string to an insulating silk ribbon tied to the knuckles of Franklin's hand. Franklin's grounded body provided a conducting path for the electrical currents responding to the strong electric field buildup in the storm clouds.
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Of coarse nobody of us wants to ride in thunderstorm conditions but who knows, may be someone have been surprised by sparkles between kite parts? :smile:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2002 7:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
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Location: World (KF Admin)
once a guy had a kite up and could touch the bar anymore, since it was loaded with electricity! But no thunderstorm. Sometimes the atmosphere is loaded.

Thunderstorms - never ever go out when one is coming towards you. Check the weather reports!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 3:29 am 
My bar zapped me for about 15 minutes, standing on the sand on a foggy day. There were no storms anywhere near. At first I thought I was developing a twitch , there was a steady tick , tick , tick. I passed the bar to a friend and he felt it too.
I thought it probably wasn't to uncommon.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 3:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
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Location: Florida
I have had this happen twice where it was painful to hold the bar because of electrical discharges. In each case, lightening started within 15 min. I dropped my kite to the water fast and swam in before the pyrotechnics started.

This isn't so rare from reports from around the world. In fact I remember one report from a snow kiteboarder. You don't always have to have lightening soon follow such an episode. I suspect that all you need is a moist atmosphere, a moving conductor (your lines), a charge differential from the sky to the ground and a short to ground - YOU! In Florida, if I experience it again I am going to assume imminent lightening and get my 100 ft. lightening rod down FAST!

Avoid electricity experiments while kiteboarding!

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 3:25 pm 
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Location: Florida--JACKSONVILLE
Think I'll tie a brass key to my kite line up by the stopper ball. When I see sparks jumping, I'll know to turn loose of the bar! Seriously, I have a carbon bar wrapped in foam and Q power lines. Wondering about the conductivity. And if down in the water and lightening strikes the water, do you get a jolt?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 5:18 pm 
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If I recall correctly, one of the times I experienced this charged bar phenomena I was using a carbon bar and Q lines. The surface moisture and salt supplement the conductive quality of the lines and bar in any case. Where lightening is concerned, I simply wouldn't experiment.

As to dissipation of lightening strikes in the ocean that is something that I am uncertain about. As to the effective stun radius of a typical strike, who knows but I would think it could be within 100 or more feet away. As to the kill radius, I am even less certain. I recall from college that the electricity is dissipated in the upper cm or so of the water but tends to travel horizontally over more substantial distances. I doubt this will benefit you unless you can hold your breath for extended periods and have inspired timing.

As in many things in kiteboarding, using good judgment to never fall into these circumstances in the first place should govern. Once you are there getting out in one piece may be tricky or impossible.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2002 12:52 am 
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Location: Florida--JACKSONVILLE
I do know for a fact that fish and game officers put an electrical charge into the water to count fish. They use a magneto type thing and electrocute the fish. The fish float up to the surface "stunned" I guess, and in a short while they swim off. But I agree with you concerning getting outathere (new word). I have been on cats when the storm came up and the wind blows up out of no where and changes directions instanteanouisly. Flips a cat in a heartbeat! I don't even want to be dangling under a kite!


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