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Old 10-29-2013, 09:35 AM
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Default Avoiding Severe Kiting Accidents

A question came up on kiteforum about this. I posted these considerations in response.

If there is any positive news it would be that unlike in 2009 when we lost 23 in one year, deaths in the last few years appear to have been substantially lower. We can hope the trend may last and work to that end as always but it may not. Also, if you are the one getting killed, or your friend, that trend isn't important. Another very important factor is that for each fatality, there may have been on the order of 50 severe accidents which were survived worldwide with similar causes and means of avoidance. Tragically, there is a good deal of repetition in many of the main contributing factors or causes in severe accidents over the years and up to the present day. You can read over many of them in a forum Toby setup for me on here.

http://www.kiteforum.com/viewforum.php?f=131
and
http://fksa.org/forumdisplay.php?f=29

I encourage kiters to read through these posts as there is a lot of hard won information there.

If I had to summarize some of the main factors in these accidents, it would be that the fatalities have often been the consequence of poor choices or "operator error" frequently through a series of smaller choices. Most arise from a lack of hazard awareness, appreciation and avoidance or in large measure complacence. These poor choices can be worsened by weather and location/site related conditions among other factors. Choosing to go out in excessively strong wind, squalls and extreme weather through poor judgment, lack of proper weather planning, monitoring, failing to anticipate weather changes, going out with an excessively large kite and/or unfamiliar gear, having a kite up with too small a downwind buffer and close to shore or hard objects, failure to properly practice Emergency Depowering and act in a decisive prudent way EARLY enough, trying to keep the kite flying instead of immediately emergency depowering it and/or setting it free, kiting solo and without someone keeping an eye on you, failure to maintain or properly preflight gear, failure to use reasonable safety gear, helmet, flotation, etc., to complete proper training and/or skill development or going out in conditions beyond the riderís capabilities, to listen to well intended advice and/or local knowledge, poor health and/or conditioning have figured in these accidents. Wind shadow or turbulence downwind of objects has been a significant factor over the years arising from poor location selection. There are still more factors but these are some of the main ones.

There are lots of truisms dealing with all of this, some worth remembering, "no session is worth the rest of your life," "live to kite another day," "listen to your gut," "distance is your friend," "when in doubt, don't go out" and many more.

Poor kiting practices won't necessarily harm you the first time you do them (but they might) or even the 30th time, it is a numbers game governed by probability. You never know when they might take you out, give you a permanent disability, lay you up for months, trash your kite or cause harm to another kiter in the area. The main thing you can assume for certain is that they are a BAD idea and likely to mess you and/or others up and your access.

Those are some considerations off the top of my head, there are still more. Please read over the accounts and discussions at the link above.
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