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Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

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Toby
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Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby Toby » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:56 pm

unbelievable story from Belgium!

A helicopter in search of a missed child hit a kite and the kiter broke some bones...


The accident happened around 7 p.m. yesterday. 8 kite surfers were surprised by a Seaking rescue helicopter that was flying very low above the ground. One kite surfer was making a big jump at the moment, when his parachute collapsed due to the strong winds caused by the helicopter. He fell a couple of metres down in shallow waters.

The man broke his heel bone and had to be rescued by fellow surfers. His club is considering filing a complaint. "We should also talk about this with the army. I am not saying the helicopter crew made a mistake, but they should be very careful to avoid accidents like this in the future", says Bram Degrieck, the alderman for Tourism in De Panne.


http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/news/120813_kite_surfer

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby CaptainArgh » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:12 pm

I don't see how a helicopter could sneak up on anyone....let alone EIGHT KITERS. They're big. They're loud. And whenever you see one getting near you, you land your kite in the water at the edge of the wind window and wait until it goes by.

Of course I wasn't there and anything is possible, but a search and rescue mission isn't usually screaming along at top speed. They have to go slow enough to look in the water....

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby aircatcher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:20 pm

It was the down draft turbulence from the helicopter that cause the accident ,wasn't it?don't jump when you see one flying low above u.

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby Jono 111 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:36 pm

More importantly, by a somewhat infinite factor than a person with a sore foot, did they find the child?

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby frankm1960 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:49 pm

Jono 111 wrote:More importantly, by a somewhat infinite factor than a person with a sore foot, did they find the child?


:thumb:

aren't the seaking helicopters a Canadian contraption? and how DID that thing manage to sneak up on the kiters? lol

I had a helicopter fly over the beach where I was kiting a month ago.... it was doing a zig zag pattern over the lake... but it was quite high up there. I was still waiting for wind but not sure if I would've been affected by it had I been kiting. I probably would have come to shore... especially if it was a seaking contraption lol

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby RickI » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:55 pm

What did the helicopter do wrong, anything? If it was engaged in a Search and Recovery mission I would say it was highly unlikely from the information in the few accounts that I could find online.

What did the kiter do wrong? Lots based on what info is available. I hope they spare themselves embarrassment and possible harm to the sport by not filing a complaint.

- Keep your ears and eyes open, if a helicopter approaches, ease your kite closer to the water as it passes. You don't want to catch your kite on the skids or in the rotors. If there is helicopter traffic in the area, you need to be aware of it along with boats, other kiters, windsurfers, kayakers, surfers, etc. etc., you DON'T throw a jump anywhere near it. Stay aware and properly respond in advance. This should be second nature to all kiters.

- If you choose to jump in water so shallow as to cause an injury like this, you can only blame yourself when it goes wrong. This time some rotor wash stalled the kite, usually it is a lull, steering error, lost foot strap, whatever but too many kiters have had far more serious injuries than this from boosting in the shallows.

Helicopters trail rotor wash behind them extending downward towards the surface. If your kite encounters one, it may stall and drop you like a rock, cause your kite to drop momentarily or worse it might just tie the kite in knots. Just like boat wakes, you need to expect they are there and watch out for them. They can seriously disturb the air below them even if they chopper is flying well above kite level.

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The helicopter generates a ring of disturbed air which leaves as a vortex extending behind and below the chopper.
http://wikimedia.org/

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The vortex is that loopy colored stuff that will drop your kite pretty quickly if you encounter enough of it.
http://www.onera.fr


Kites and helicopters don't mix, work to keep them apart for these and still other reasons. It isn't hard to do if you are paying attention.


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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby Thor SFBay » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:26 pm

Supposedly there was an incident near the Golden Gate Bridge in the summer of 2011 where a military helicopter buzzed a kiter just for the heck of it. It caused the kite to collapse and tangle in the lines which resulted in the kiter having to be rescued. This was a kiter with years of experience and the helicopter totally caught him off guard. Based on the description of the event, it sounded like the helicopter pilots were just having fun (they flew UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge) and did not realize the possible deadly consequences.

Isn't it possible that the helicopter was moving fast enough that the kiters didn't hear it until it was too late? Also, shouldn't helicopter pilots know to keep their distance from wind powered vehicles like sailboats, windsurfers, and kites? This reminds me of several incidents I have heard about on the east coast where emergency personnel have run over sunbathers while driving vehicles on the beach in response to an incident.

And finally, in response to Ricki... It's good to know what to do when a helicopter approaches when kiting (thanks for the info), but did you really expect all of us to already know how to respond to such an unusual event? That's not exactly standard training nor is it a very likely scenario for most of us. The helicopter pilot bears some responsibility for getting so close to the kites.

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby RickI » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:30 pm

A helicopter doesn't have to be that close to you to mess with your kite. I had small one carrying a photographer on a 60 mile kite race we were in running down the coast temporarily stall my kite. He must have been 75 to 100 ft. over me and pretty far forward, still it happened. In this case with a larger chopper with a big rotor radius, I would expect the effect could cover some distance. From the reports, the pilots main responsibility was finding and saving a child whose life may have been in danger.

I've been avoiding helicopters in my area while kiting for 14 years. It is a fairly dense air traffic area with frequent coastwise overflights by both rotor and fixed wing aircraft. It doesn't take a genius to think, hmm, it would be a bad thing if my lines or kite were caught by that aircraft, for both of us. Solution, bring your kite below the probably flight altitude.

In the early days, I was the only kiter in a few counties. Helicopters didn't know about us as they blasted at times at 150 mph at minimum altitude. What kind of an idiot, realizing this would leave his kite in place in their flight path?! I have made other mistakes, just not that one. In high wind you may not hear them until they are close but you can easily see them. We need to be aware of our surroundings and consciously stay aware. Squalls, wind lines, boats, planes, choppers wave runners, boats, surfers, SUP, and on and on, we need to be aware and act appropriately in advance.

Here's a blast from the past from 2003 on this subject: http://www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6348

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby Bille » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:56 pm

The down-wash from a hoovering Heli will extend downwards ;
but if the Heli moves away, that down-wash can linger for a minute or two,
as it slowly moves along with the wind your kiting in.

A Hang glider pilot was killed this way, a while back ; he was filming a TV
commercial with a Heli & camera crew. They say he was probably
dead before he hit the ground.

so i would maybe , keep on hand on the QR if a Heli passes Slowly up-wind of me.

The Faster a Heli goes forward --- the Less turbulence they make.

Bille

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Re: Seaking helicopter incident leaves kite surfer injured

Postby flyingweasel » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:02 pm

RickI
That has to be the biggest load of waffle you have collected off the net yet. Anyway, keep acting like you know.

I kite bang in the flight path of the worlds busiest heliport bar none for over 10 years. Some estimates are 400 000 passengers per year. Easily 10-30 overhead flights per session. Almost entirely Super Puma/Tiger

There is only one thing you need to know about helicopters and kites and here it is in case nobody has made the educated guess already...

Get as far the f&*k out of their way no matter how you do it and secure the kite if its going to be even remotely close! Get it?

Same as cars, Planes, trains etc. etc.They do not sneak about as CaptainArgh knows. And if you need to be thinking about their rotorwash, you have made some seriously bad judgements. So bad that if a kite doesn`t get you it is most likely that picking your nose will or some other stupid act.

LOL! you very funny guy!

Bille. again, bad judgement if you need to be thinking about your QR. The kite should be down and secured long before that scenario. The parrafin budgies dont fly well with kites in their rotors either and I would hate to think of the myriad of possible consequences.(don`t stay up all night thinking about it Ricki for your next Magnum Opus)

Can you all get a little bit back to reality here?


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