Just curious, did you happen to notice what size HQ Neo (hopefully not > 6m) and if he was trying to inflate the kite on it's way to zenith?
As far as self-inflating closed cell foils go... I've come across quite a few forum comments mentioning that you simply launch these foils uninflated and let it inflate on it's way to zenith. This is clearly bad advice. Also, the pilot must consider the safest sheeting position for the front leader line pigtail.
all about the kite size and pilot control....
if i self lauch directly downwind, i make sure , i m ready to ride when the kite climbs up or i do it in the low range of the kite if i m on the ground or i launch the kite on the side of the window (well, a bit deeper than the LEI)
on my spot, launching is too tricky to do it on the ground (trees are surrounding the launching spot)(roller winds, gusts = not good with a very high aspect ratio that want to loft me when i m static)so :
The kite was an 8m Neo. I myself only fly foils in the water (flysurfer's) but i've never flown this kite so have no idea what the power's like.
Thinking back on want happen, it struck me that as the guy was lofted i managed to get hold of the back of his harness, and one of the instructor who was about to start a lesson got hold of his legs, but try as we might it was impossible to get to his safety release as it was above the bar. We tried to get to the chicken loop but couldn't see the release on it (turns out is a plastic ball that you have to pull).
From what we've found out, he was seeing friends alone the coast and was not local. After getting his kit back to his girlfriend/wife we found out that it wasn't good news.
I have a flysurfer 17 Speed 1 and I NEVER lauch in the middle of the wind window.
I ALWAYS preinflate the kite and lauch it in the edge of the wind window.
But in UK, the land borders usually launch their kite in the middle of the wind window.
This is not too bad because their kites are smaller than kite surfing kites and also they stop flying much earlier (probably 15 knots is the maximum they can handle).
I kite from time to time at Sandbank in Poole.
This is a very bad place to launch a foil in the middle of the wind window because you are very close to the buildings that create some dodgy shadow wind effects.
Actually I never try my flysurfer 17 Speed 1 even in light wind at Sandbank because I was not sure I could handle the launch securely.
The accident was terrible. Condolences to the kiter involved and his family. A number of my posts have been critical of the aerodynamic and safety inferiority of ram air (foil) kites. Without wanting to use this man's terrible misfortune to score cheap political points, it is important to note that this man's accident was DIRECTLY attributable to the type of kite he was using - ie ram air. The requirement or temptation to do downwind launches with many ram air kites, eg Flysurfer, makes them inherently dangerous and less safe compared to inflatables. There are countless episodes where ram air riders have got into trouble because of launches in the middle of the window. Ram airs are less safe compared to inflatables and this tragic accident, once again, demonstrates this.
Pump me up. I'm sorry but you're completely wrong.
As sad as this accident is, it was not DIRECTLY attributable to the type of kite he was flying, it was DIRECTLY attributable to the kiters inexperience and lack of knowledge of how to launch foils in strong winds.
When I fly foils (I land board as well) I always side launch whether I'm flying a 14m in 7mph or a little 2m in 30+mph.
In experienced hands an 8m Neo should be ok in 30knts, albeit at the top of it's range, and from what i can gather about the launch area at Poole, a down wind launch should never have been attempted.
At my local spot I have seen far more LEI flyers get into trouble launching in strong winds than I have foil flyers, whether land or water based.
Me and a friend had to save a guy from hitting the cliff, because his self launch of a 10m Bandit went wrong (after 1 already failed attempt), and he wouldn't release the kite onto the cliff to save himself.
It's not the type of kite that causes accidents, it's the people that fly them, and most launch accidents are caused by inexperienced flyers with poor launch techniques or poor kite size selection whether foil or LEI.
That is a sad situation. I hope he can at least walk again.
I watched my buddy launch his ram air foil many times (never in 30kts tho) and he always had his kite on the edge of the window.
I watched another friend launch his 6m foil during a winter session, around 20kts max, kite was straight down wind, and it lifted him from sitting position about 5' in the air and he landed 30m down wind.