## Lofted 1200 ft. By Squall And Survived

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tomatkins
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

If a person were to try to design a method for bringing themselves down from a high and long lofting on a kite, they would have to take into consideration a MAJOR difference between piloting a kite and piloting a hang glider. That is: THE DIRECTION THE PILOT IS FACING during the "glide in". With a kite, the "pilot" would be facing backwards.

When you factor into the equation, this difference, it becomes clear that the pilot of a hang glider will want to land in a manor where he is facing a headwind, in order to maximize the lift of the glider...until the last minute, during which time, he will actuate a "stall" maneuver, and thereby set himself down softly and basically "fall" only a few inches or feet, to the ground, at zero velocity.

To do the same kind of "glide in" landing on a kite would be a real hat trick...while facing the direction that you just came from.

Soooooo, setting a kite down safely, will not follow the model of a hang glider.

Good luck in analyzing the necessary direction of flight and speed, and use of back stalling, and the use of kite loops, in an effort to come up with flight principles which can be used effectively in controling the speed and direction to be applied, while coming into a successful landing on a highly lofted kite!!

I think that Sully might be our only hope in figuring this one out.

RickI
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

Coming down from a lofting usually is a downwind glider landing, ouch. How about a downwind, down slope glider landing? I think some do them, usually with something breaking, hopefully just down tubes. Even if you are traveling downwind, with a low or near flat AoA, if you increase it you should still flare, correct? Question is, will you have made things better by decreasing forward speed, maybe, or worse by likely increasing your height? What about trying to do this a couple of times to burn off momentum and altitude? You don't want to increase the AoA to stall that is for sure though, need to be gentle. Not sure many would get around to trying this still, some might, if it could help.

Is it feasible to try to turn 180 degrees into the wind near the end of a spectacular lofting? If you could pull it off you would decrease your velocity, likely increase your altitude yet again. Still, you are pointed in the right direction to try to pull off a good flare? Or is this too unlikely a scenario to pull off?

Megaloops? Brainstorming now, so why not? What do folks think about that application? I recall talking to Dimitri about an uplift lofting experience he had off OBX in which he flew off a good deal of the forward speed before landing years back. I was communicating with Damo recently about aspects of this in consideration of his experience off Sleeping Bear Dune. He indicated a need to cycle the kite overhead to avoid flying forward of it. He may have just been falling below stall speed and needed to help the kite "see" more wind to stay above stall. He was heading into the wind in that case of course.

Each case is different other than most suck in the extreme with no real initial expectation of a happy outcome.

I wanted to underscore,

this 1200 ft. or 335 m lofting
happened with a 16 m flat kite reportedly in
only 30 mph (25 kts., 46 km/h, F6, 13 m/s) !
.

That was a main motivating reason for putting this up. You don't need real strong winds to get in trouble, just bad circumstances usually allowed by the rider's choices. Avoid squalls with a vengeance trying to deal with the aftermath is way too uncertain and likely painful in many cases.
Last edited by RickI on Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RickI
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

Squalls seem to come to many areas of the earth at one time or another. The frequency may vary among different areas but they are quite wide spread. Best advice is to research in advance and with knowledgeable locals. I've been looking for a reliable advanced, tip off of hazardous wind conditions aside from what can be seen at the beach and on the Internet in advance. For a while it looked like percipitious drops in dew point and barometric pressure might appear in advance of strong gusts. The timing and appearence seemed to be too variable to be of more than limited use for easy advanced warning in the cases I looked at.

There are general rules of thumb, that apply sometimes, not always though. Things like:

1. You see threatening weather
This can vary place to place, should know what it looks like and how it behaves. Cumulonimbus clouds, shelf and roll clouds, mammatus, cumulus clouds with black and ragged undersides, waterspouts!, a darker cloud line in the distance, frontal boundaries, white water/strong wind lines, mist, dust from devils and bursts, virga, etc.. Not a lot of simple answers other than you should know what to look for before you go out and if you pay attention, you may pick up on the "threatening" aspect of some systems.

2. The wind may decrease or even die as a squall approaches, although not always.
"The calm before the storm." A number of severe kiting accidents have involved kiters rigging larger kites to deal with calmer conditions or continuing to try to relaunch and head out even though winds suddenly eased. Both likely happened with a visbily threatening cloud system moving in. ALL strong gusts are not necessarily accompanying an obvious, evil appearing cloud. It can be more subtle at times. Still with proper weather planning there should be fewer surprises.

3. Temperature and wind shifts
Temperature may noticeably drop with a pending squall. If you feel a sudden drop, you may have very little time to react in some cases, seconds to minutes. Winds may shift violenetly all over during a squall, not familar with a normal direction change that happens prior squalls EXCEPT with squall lines with fronts, the wind may often shift around 90 degrees. What was onshore may become offshore. This has taken kiters out before by dragging them offshore.

One approach for weather planning for consideration is given in the next post.
ZenWind wrote:Anyone know what weather conditions create the potential for a Squall? Some areas seem to be quite prone to Squalls while other places never get them at all. When traveling it would be good to know what kind of visual and / or temperature weather conditions precede a Squall. When out on the water are there changes in wind direction right before a Squall, or are there any other indicators in weather that would serve as a warning to kiters to get off the water and land the kite NOW!

RickI
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

IF YOU DON'T READ ANYTHING ELSE, READ THIS. It could make an important difference to you, less wind waiting, less time flying into hazards, unaware.

Kiteboarding Weather Planning And Monitoring Considerations

1. Marine/Water & Hazard Forecasts
Check reliable forecasts (predicted winds, direction, HAZARD FORECASTS, temperatures, anticipated changes, cold fronts, tropical or strong systems). Anticipate changes don’t fall into them. Not all private weather sites are reliable, use what works well in your area. Will your kite size work for the day or will you need to increase or decrease size at some point. How about exposure clothing, is there a sudden temperature drop inbound?
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/

2. Radar and Satellite Maps
Is stormy weather (often bright colored masses), squall lines, isolated storm clouds or feeder bands inbound? Looping weather images can show CURRENT trends and speed. Does it look they will arrive during your session? Temper this with LOCAL knowledge as conditions can change radically in only an hour sometimes, systems can accelerate or stall, etc..
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/radar_tab.php
http://www.weather.gov/sat_tab.php?image=ir

3. Synoptic/Frontal Weather Maps
Are there significant weather systems inbound, cold fronts, tropical systems, strong high/low pressure, got tight pressure isobars for strong wind? Look at these maps on loop again to learn about CURRENT trends and speed.
http://www.weather.gov/outlook_tab.php

4. Real time winds
How are winds upweather or the direction of the prevailing system, spikes/gusty and shifting winds inbound? Frequently you can see a preview of what the front will bring to your area, hundreds of miles upweather in advance. It’s a free look at what may be the future, why not take it? If unstable weather is coming avoid it until it passes.
http://www.ikitesurf.com/windandwhere.iws?regionID=201

5. Wind Useable or NOT?
If you decide to go, STAY AWARE, at all times of the weather. Things like cloud lines, funnel clouds, wind direction and velocity, white caps, mist, temperature changes. Typical weather patterns can be recognized within given seasons. Learn what to look for and when to react. Good chance you are a wind junkie already so play the complete roll and tune into wx. Measure wind speed at the launch along with other visual indicators such as white caps, tree and flag movement and ask how other kiters are doing on their respective kite sizes before selecting yours. If you expect a weather change to occur, don't be on the water if something violent comes through. Sometimes the hazardous period can be short so just wait it out.

6. At the beach & riding
Checkout wind speed, direction, sky and water conditions at the launch and during your session. Is the wind useable, are sky conditions stable or threatening? What do threatening sky conditions look like in your area? You should know. Are there dark clouds and/or a wind/whitewater inbound? What about funnel clouds or waterspouts, are there small points showing up at the bottom of clouds? Always be aware of your surroundings, weather changes, ANTICIPATE & REACT early.

7. Squall is almost here!
Land, thoroughly secure gear early, before significant wind, temperature changes or threatening weather arrives. Systems can move 50 mph + hitting with minimal warning. If caught on the water, consider totally or emergency depowering early, waiting too long has taken riders. Be ready to release your kite leash if your kite powers up again. Riding out far from shore may work for ships. Ships don’t get ripped 50’+ from the water and blown at high speed downwind. DON'T WAIT, act early to kill the power of the kite even if it means swimming in after. Your strong swimming skills and impact vest should make that a manageable process.
Last edited by RickI on Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

DrLightWind
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

prayfawind27 wrote:WOW!!! are you sure this story is true?
this shit is tripping me out
It is all for real.
I talked to Dale and also 3 witnesses about it and all confimed to be true,
the way Rick is describing the details about it.

In my opinion with modern technology why not take advantage of weather forcast before going out?
It's all there and available to see the local current radar loop what's going on,
so when you arrive you could decide what to set up and how to launch safely.
If there is a little uncertainty or no "pilot saturation" (feeling of satisfied before take off) don't go
The way my instructor Trip Mellinger used to describe it well,
who was the first one flew powered Hanglider to Katalina Island from CA about 26 miles.
Why can't we develop such a deep awareness like that to minimize unexpected incidents
and put our life into the "Soarmaster" or our weather to decide our destiny
Learn from the large proportion of accidents in hangliding involve over-confident novices failing to heed advice,
or pilots flying beyond their limits. Aren't we flyers also at the end regardless pumping or not

DrLightWind

RickI
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

Thanks for passing word on along about this incident and researching what happened DrLightWind. It carries some valuable lessons for kiters in South Florida but really all over. Who would have ever thought someone could be lofted about 1100 ft. and 100 ft. high in a 30 mph gust with a 16 m kite? Wonder what would have happened if even stronger gusts came along as we've been having the last several days, see below.

I frequently encounter people with no real regard for squalls, figure skill, technology will fix it or perhaps don't really think about it at all. What is it that Aristole had to say about this, something about reason being the thing that separated man from other animals and plants? I've been a kiting turnip in my time, especially in the early days. Didn't like getting blown into the soup to stew with the other vegetables though. It is hard to look good, if you come off like a cabbage in board shorts getting cooked in an avoidable squall. Reason and common sense will help, use it.

Our seabreeze squall cycles seem to have kicked back into gear as in "normal" summers, whatever those might be. Things will change. We say we're in off wind season for most of the summer in Florida typically and with good reason. Been treated to some interesting thermal squall spikes for the last few days like this from yesterday:

Note the building wind as the squall line approached the ocean from the Everglades inland. There is that short lull before the storm, possibly real short and then BAMM! The wind shuts off and eventually swings 180 degrees! This was near West Palm Beach at #2 on the radar image. The gust spike hit over most of SE Florida though around this time due to that nasty red reef of squally weather in the radar.

This is what the radar looked like just before. This can be regular summer thing along some east and west coastal areas of Florida. I don't even bother to kite this anymore, tried years back. Getting shocks off bars, hair standing on end, lightning striking minutes later, not enough wind most of the time then getting squall lunacy, said the hell with it. Guys have been lofted into comas, air med evac in Florida in these hazardous winds in the past. Off season it is until some clean wind comes along, typically in the fall.

The wind archive at ikitesurf can be a very valuable thing for planning kiting sessions. Also, the real time winds upweather, usually with fronts, lows and tropical systems can be pay dirt too, go or no go and when.

More about our Sea Breezes With A Punch HERE

RickI
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### Re: Lofted 1100 ft. By Squall And Survived

I was speaking to Dale about the pathway I originally depicted, he indicated that it missed part of the original path. Initially, he was lofted almost NNW, he tried to pull on the left side of his bar to return to the water to the west unsuccessfully. The wind clocked to west and to the northwest during which time he pulled more on the right side of the bar to try to fly back over the water to the south as he traveled east. The corrected, approx. pathway shows up below and in the original posting above.

The horizontal distance increased about 100 ft. for an overall range of about 1200 ft.

All this in only about a 30 mph squall gust. Once again, avoid squalls.

jwoodunlv
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### Re: Lofted 1200 ft. By Squall And Survived

bet some drivers on that street pissed themselves seeing this guy flying overhead.

RickI
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### Re: Lofted 1200 ft. By Squall And Survived

Talking to Dale and the other witnesses, they did say people were screaming, running all over, some cars stopped. Dale just kept going up and looking down thinking how small the people looked. He thought he might clear the island at one point. It would have been too far but at times like this, who knows. A very lucky guy.

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### Re: Lofted 1200 ft. By Squall And Survived

Had to get out of it one day... You need a 5th line kite or a direct to front line flag out to get out of that if you pull it in time. The Ozone Instinct Sport for example now have the through the bar front line safety leash, so you just pull the loop safety and and it flags on front line. But still full spinning bar... for a 4 line kite. Some others have that system as well...

Good to hear he made it out ok...

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