This is the second kite-powerline incident that I have heard about in the last two days. In the other incident power was cutoff to a lot of people and in that case the kite also caught fire. I have heard of two cases recently where the kiter, left to themselves without outside input, would have likely been shocked or perhaps worse by trying to bring their kites down. So, for the record:
1. If your kite hits powerlines and you are still attached to it by a leash or bar you will be shocked or perhaps worse. So, if you see that your kite is likely to hit powerlines, disconnect everything and let go, FAST. The trick is to NEVER place yourself in this situation in the first place as the consequences will be expensive at best.
2. If your kite hits powerlines it may catch on fire and in turn set nearby trees, etc. on fire. If your kite appears to be in contact with power, even if nothing exciting seems to be happening, keep everyone well away from your lines and bar until the power utility arrives to deal with things.
3. If you kiteboard upwind of powerlines within 300 ft. or more in higher wind, and you release your kite without a leash, it may hit the powerlines. I saw a case locally where an Arc 1120 managed to fly 180 ft. horizontally in light, 14 mph winds after a poorly configured and ineffective leash broke. The kite snared in some trees 8 ft. above some high tension powerlines.
So, if you aren't using a kite leash and are flying within 300 ft. of powerlines start to or be prepared to deal with the consequences of an incinerated kite, power shutdown to a lot of people and possible kiteboarding restrictions. If you are using a kite leash, make sure that it is properly setup, works and won't break. If you are launching within 150 upwind of powerlines consider finding another launch. Your kite can be into the powerlines in SECONDS and kiteboarding skill at at that point won't count for anything.
When in any doubt about whether you will be able to safely get your kite down without doing an electricity experiment, call your power utility to safely deal with it. Setting your kite on fire, getting shocked or shutting down a lot of people's power just isn't worth it. Let the experts with the equipment deal with the situation if things go that far.
From: harks98 [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 9:38 AM
Subject: [ksurf] OVERHEAD POWER LINES!!!!!!!
May 29, 2002 (Shropshire Star News Paper)
Power knocked out by surf kite
The cause of a power cut which left more than 1,500 homes in
Shropshire without electricity was today revealed as a kite.
The state-of-the-art surfing kite smashed into an overhead cable
becoming entangled and knocking off the power supply in and around
St Martins, near Oswestry, for several hours.
Today a spokesperson for electricity company, PowerSystems, warned
that powerful kites could be lethal if flown near overhead power
The distribution arm of Scottish Power, which supplies electricity
to the Oswestry and north Shropshire, said more than 1,500 customers
were left without power in the Ifton and St Martins area when the
kite hit the overhead line on Saturday at around 2pm.
Supplies were restored to 1,466 customers within one and a half
hours, and the remaining 60 after nearly three hours.