I would appreciate some different ideas for landing a kite by yourself. So far I've tried just letting go of the bar with the kite overhead. This works, but the kite can come down pretty hard and I'm afraid to damage the bladder and you need a large area down wind. I've heard you can fly the kite to the edge and low, let go of the bar and pull the brake line to turn the kite leading edge to the wind. this seems risky as it may end up tumbling back into the power zone, Any thoughts? Lane
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lndpnt on 2002-05-08 15:46 ]</font>
i don't like the sound of just letting go of the bar. i have done this on occasions and have had absolutely no idea were the kite is going to end up. I have also found it to be a little unsafe.
when landing solo, i run the kite out to the edge of the window and low to the ground - just as you suggested. However, at this point rather than just letting go of the bar i gently steer the leading edge of the kite into the ground.
In my opinion, this is much easier on the kite and generally safer than just letting go of the bar. I have been using this technique for sometime and have found it to work well.
what do you mean with "no idea were the kite is going to end up" - isnÃ‚Â´t the kite still connected to you by the safety leash?.
I often had to land the kite alone, here is what I do: fly the kite to the edge and low, land it in the water, let go of the bar and hold it on the safety leash. Then pull in the safety leash until you can grab the bar, fix the safety leash (which should be the only line under tension!) on the bar. At this point my old AR5 generates only modest forces, I can easily hold it with one hand. Then use the bar to slowly wind up all 4 lines until you get to your kite.
Better donÃ‚Â´t try to run/swim to your kite, your kite may move faster than you and you might end up hit by your own bar or worse...
Thanks for the input, kieran, I like your method to a point, but after you put it down, what do you do next? If it's windy your kite could start sliding down wind or worse start tumbling. Sounds like Mics way is the safest (although the wetest)
In retrospect I should have elaborated a little more on my method. Michel, my method is, as I understand, exactly the same as yours. In fact, I use my (or should I say our method) on both land and on the water. I neglected to mention that once the leading edge of the kite is on the ground, I let go of the bar and follow the same steps that you have outlined.
When I said that you have no idea where the kite is going to land, I meant that if you placed the kite overhead a just let go of the kite you have got no idea where it is going to land; that is, in the water, on the land, or even worse in the trees which may be close by, etc etc. Basically, it is the wind that determines where your kite will end up when you let go of the bar when the kite is overhead.
With the method described by myself and Michel you generally have a say in where the kite is going to land.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: kieran on 2002-05-10 07:32 ]</font>
This method also works when landing the kite on solid ground (although I think itÃ‚Â´s safer in the water, whithout trees & other obstacles) but I really prefer to get assistance by a colleague!
Solo landing can generally be done in light to moderate wind with a relatively wide, thinly populated smooth beach. You may have to land it a few times but it normally takes hold at some point. Also if you can land it at the side of the wind window behind a hill or other wind block that really helps. In more powered up conditions the various solo landing techniques that I have tried aren't very reliable other than letting go of the bar after the kite is near vertical which is extremely reliable. If you fail to stabilize the kite on the ground in a lateral solo landing attempt it will generally relaunch or tumble into the center of the power window and powerup. If in doubt or if you want to play it safe, just bring the kite to vertical, while unhooked, unsnap shackled and drop the bar. Make sure that there is clear smooth beach downwind of you or do this over the water. Doing this technique over the water will save your leading edge from the odd nasty impact on land.
As a final note please don't repeat the experience of the rider in Argentina that is described below.
Incident # 2 02 2
Date: Feb. 2002 Location: Argentina
Title: A (failed) very dangerous kite recovery
Posted by: Rick Iossi
Summary: An intermediate rider was out with a Naish 13.5 m kite in 20 + kt winds. He had just solo landed his kite apparently without depowering it. It does not appear that he had a kite depowering leash. He ran up to the kite holding his bar with his center loop snapshackle still attached to his harness. The kite relaunched unexpectedly before he could reach the kite. He was violently dragged into serious impact(s) into hard objects. He has four displaced vertebrae and canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel one of his arms. Other serious injuries may be present, it is not known at this time.
Lessons learned/prevention: NEVER approach an unsecured kite while you are still secured to your kite control bar. If strong gusty winds are present the resulting dragging could cause very serious injuries both to the kiter but also to bystanders. Ideally always have assisted landings with your assistant thoroughly securing your kite immeditely. If you must solo land do not approach your kite until you are no longer connected to your control bar. Move quickly toward your kite by carefully pulling towards it along ONE KITE LINE ONLY. Wearing gloves routinely while kitesurfing for this purpose is an excellent idea. If you land your kite by using your depowering kite leash, pull the kite carefully toward you using ONE LINE ONLY until you can safely grab one kite tip and properly anchor the kite. If in doubt take adequate lessons from a competent kite instructor.
Comments: The practice of solo landing and going to your kite while still snapshackled to your kite is easy to do but the price if things go wrong is way too high. MAKE SURE that if your kite relaunches, it will not pull you anywhere (i.e. open any snapshackle connection, FIRST before ever approaching the kite). If the kite relaunches your kite leash should save you from being dragged. All riders need to use kite leashes for this and many other important reasons and particularly for the protection of innocent bystanders. It is important NOT to do solo launches upwind of bystanders to avoid them having to deal with kite lines if things go wrong. Kites can apply tremendous force, too many riders continue to lose site of that and are getting careless and hurt as a consequence. Finally it is not known if an impact vest would have reduced the injuries in this case. Wearing an impact vest, good helmet and gloves may make a difference in avoiding an accident or coming through one with fewer injuries.