naufragado wrote:Wow! Classic aviation photos. I've heard people talking about how they can rip in 45+ kt. winds with a small kite. To keep things in perspective, I work for an airline that ceases operations in 50 kt. winds (something about cargo doors being ripped off of 24 ton aircraft). All I can say is that I'm more concerned about lightning than wind...
Run ins with squalls have happened to many kiteboarders all over the world already, some have been severely injured. Using a simple force relationship, if the windspeed triples (15 to 45 kts.) the force goes up roughly by a factor of NINE. That is enough force to fire you about 250 m or 800 ft. horizontally at very high speed or it was in one case in Cabarete last year.
Another index is area, in this same simple relationship you could also roughly equal the same increased force in the original wind speed of 15 kts. by using a kite NINE TIMES LARGER. So, instead of taking out your 16 m LEI in 15 kts. how about using a 144 square meter kite instead? Can you imagine the force in only 15 kts.? These relationships oversimplify things but they do convey the idea. Smaller gusts less than 30 kts., even 10 kts gusts can do harm if particularly if you don't use anti-lofting procedures.
Unstable weather isn't to be trusted. Too many riders have learned that the hard way already. IF riders think that they can handle it, tell us what sort of kite you would rig for 15 kt. gusting to 45 kts? Lightening has been a plague to aircraft for a long time, amazingly enough I haven't heard about a serious incident involving a kiteboarder, yet. I hope I never do and fingers crossed. If we aren't a bit more careful though about unstable weather or squalls, such an accident may well yet happen.
We need to avoid violent unstable weather including squalls.