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Important - Serious Hazard

lots of valuable articles from Rick Iossi, FKA Inc.

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Important - Serious Hazard

Postby RickI » Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:44 pm

It is too early to say whether uplift lofting figured in the recent severe accident in Calshot, England this week. It is one possible contributing cause but more information is needed to better evaluate this possibility in this case. Uplift lofting did contribute to one fatality already in the Netherlands when a new rider was lofted up the side of a dike and suffered a severe head injury upon impact. Uplift lofting has also made other loftings even more serious once the rider was airborne and flying inland. More about the specifics of these accidents appears in the KSI. Safety gear is for just in case, as the unexpected can happen to new and experienced riders alike. It is something to think about. Now, to revisit another post from about a year ago ...


Uplift Lofting

You are an experienced kiteboarder and are flying a 15 m, four line
inflatable with onshore 18 to 22 kt winds. You just launched your kite and
are dragging along the sand waiting for your friends to launch. Your kite
comes within 20 ft. (6 m), of the windward face of a six story building as
you are dragging along. The next thing you know you are being dragged out
of control towards the building at speed with your kite rapidly flying
towards vertical or the zenith the closer you come to the building. You
think you are going to be dragged into the side of the building when you
suddenly are lofted free of the ground. You rapidly rise up off the ground
until you are about 20 ft. (6 m) high. You start to panic, fail to control
the kite, stall it and fall into the sand along the base of the building.
You suffer some broken ribs, a concussion, cuts and bruises. You are not
wearing a helmet or impact vest.

What should you do?

1. How to avoid the problem in the first place.

a. Once you launch go offshore without delay. NEVER fly a full sized
traction kiteboarding kite on land for any longer than strictly necessary.
Wait beyond 300 ft. (100 m) from shore, if you need to wait or delay
b. Avoid onshore wind conditions. If you do fly in them be extra cautious.
c. Never allow your kite to come close, 50 to 100 ft. (15 to 30 m) of the
windward face of a vertical surface (cliffs, buildings, dense trees, hills,
walls, etc.), in onshore winds. If it looks like you are coming within that
distance be prepared to activate your kite depowering leash rapidly.
d. Always wear adequate protective gear, helmet, impact vest, gloves, etc.

2. How to deal with the problem if it is too late to avoid it.

a. Once you are being dragged towards the building activate your depowering
leash immediately.
b. Test your leash periodically and inspect it frequently to improve the
chances for proper performance.
c. If you are lofted continue to fly the kite at all costs. Your chances of
coming through uninjured at this point are not good but may be aided by the
d. If you maintain kite control you may glide out of the slipstream and be
able to land, hard but potentially with minimal injury.
e. If necessary steer lightly to the left or right to glide out of the
standing pressure wave generated by the face of the building. Once you
start to fall you have left the slip stream but continue to fly out.
f. Be ready to depower your kite just before impact to disable the kite from
dragging your into further problems should you hit hard and lose control.

3. KSI accounts, if any, that are related.

( ... g%20Safety%

41. Incident # 6 02 1
19. Incident # 1 02 1
7. Incident # 5 01 1

Comments: Uplift lofting could be a relatively common problem considering
the frequency of vertical surfaces near launches and onshore wind
conditions. The winds don’t have to be very high to create such an
incident. Twenty knots, perhaps even less could do it. With today’s larger
kites and higher wind speeds flying up the windward face of the surface
relative to the onshore wind speed, causing uplifting lofting is easy to do.
You only need to come close enough. How close is close, that is hard to
say. One hundred feet is a good practical distance to shoot for. So, you
stall a kite on launch and you are dragged downwind, you carve a turn too
near shore and let your kite go over the uplift zone, you bust a jump near
shore and get dragged downwind, etc. It is easy to do, remember in
kiteboarding “distance is your friendâ€

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