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Old 07-25-2005, 07:49 PM
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Default 800 FOOT LOFTING REVISITED


From: http://216.92.244.20/pictures/patoKi...eAir/index.htm

32. Incident# 3 3 02 "Record Lofting" Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic - Updated 7.25.05

Date of Incident March 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 4



The lofting occurred near the central portion of the bay near that large white house that shows up in the aerial photo.
From: http://www.hispaniola.com/

Summary

A 155 lb. (70 kg) kiteboarding instructor of about 2 1/2 years experience on a four-month holiday in Cabarete was rigged with an RRD 11.9 m kite. The wind had been consistently side shore 10 to 15 kts. He noticed a black line of clouds or squall moving in to shore. He came into shore at the west section of Cabarete Bay at Bozo Beach. He lowered his kite to within 3 to 5 m (10 to 16 ft.), off the ground for an assisted landing. He was then hit by a violent wind gust, that he described as an “explosion.” Wind records from nearby wind meters reported that average winds were 35 kts. with gusts up to 51 kts.

The winds had shifted suddenly from side shore to dead onshore. By the time the rider understood what happened he was flying inland over a building under construction with exposed rebar at an altitude of approximately 20 m (65 ft.). He didn’t feel it was safe to pop his snap shackle release at this point. He continued to rise in the gust and at one point estimated his altitude to be 30 m (98 ft.) or higher.

Looking forward he saw no clear area to land but was rapidly flying towards high tension lines and trees. He noticed a pine tree and headed in that direction.

He described the kite handling to be stable but very “twitchy” with attempted control inputs. He had a few previous experiences hang gliding and paragliding and felt this time at least helped him manage the shock of the flight in part. He was traveling at approximately wind speed or roughly 40 to 45 kts. over ground. He then hit the pine tree, breaking a limb and then rebounded into the trunk.

He then fell down through the tree breaking limbs until he hit the ground. His kite then started to power-up again. At this point he released the snap shackle and his kite flew off to windward where it was heavily damaged. The rider was admitted to the hospital for observation for possible signs of internal organ injury and brain hemorrhaging. He was released two days later and returned to kiteboarding two days after that. He was not wearing a helmet but was wearing an impact vest. The overall horizontal distance traveled was reported to be 250 m (822 ft.) and the maximum height of flight at 30 m (100 ft.).

Lessons Learned

1. If a storm, black clouds or squall line is moving in, get off the water well in advance of the storm and while conditions are still stable and unchanged. Always be aware of weather conditions while you are kiteboarding and be prepared to act quickly if conditions change for the worse. Your kite should be down on the beach and thoroughly anchored well before any change in wind speed or direction or air temperature occurs. At a minimum it would also be a good idea to remove both lines from one side of the kite in case it is swept up in gusts.

2. If you suspect storms may be in the area, check out color weather radar if available in your area. If strong storm cells are moving towards your area, don’t go kiteboarding.

3. Don’t assume that the current wind direction and speed will persist if a storm hits as it may change both direction and speed violently several times.

4. Another approach that may have helped to avoid this event would have been to land unhooked:
a) fully pulling in on a long trim strap almost totally depowering the kite while still offshore
b) open the quick release at that time
c) to have held the control bar while near the shore and landing. When the gust hit, the bar should have been ripped out of his hands.

5. Yet another approach would have been to emergency depower the kite while still away from shore.

6. Always wear safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, gloves and hook knife at a minimum.
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Old 07-25-2005, 10:17 PM
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This rider was incredibly lucky to have come through a flight about 100 ft. in height, over a horizontal distance of over 800 ft. moving at a speed over ground estimated to be on the order of 50 mph, alive and largely uninjured.

The boost in wind speed from 15 kts. to over 50 kts. equates to over ten times the lifting kite power. So if 15 kts. could easily lift this 70 kg. rider, the reality of what 50 kts. could do is astonishing. This rider was lofted by another squall in Europe almost two years ago into a rough landing on the beach.

Another rider at Kitebeach in Cabarete reportedly was lofted into a palm tree and was left hanging on to the tree when he lost his kite. Three other kiteboarders lost their kites, which ended up hanging in two trees and one power line. I was told that no white caps or other surface disturbance signs were noted in advance of the storm cloud. Those that were looking for changing sea conditions and thought "no strong wind was coming", were sadly proved to be very wrong in this case.

Finally, on a very serious note, two girls were admitted to the hospital at the same time as this rider. They had been out parasailing off Puerto Plata about 15 miles to the west when the squall hit. One girl was killed and the other paralyzed. Violent squall winds are a serious hazard to more than just kiteboarders.


The conventional wisdom on how to avoid lofting is to keep your kite low while near hard objects. If you are caught in a powerful wind gust this technique may do little to help you avoid injury. Apparently in this case either the very high wind speed and/or perhaps inadvertent control bar inputs sent the kite flying up from the ground fully into the power zone. Normally it is expected that violent dragging would occur. Not in this case. Dragging could have easily caused serious injury or death considering the wind speed and associated kite force. Logic dictates that the only proper, reasonably safe way to deal with this situation would be to never be in it in the first place. If squalls are coming, land your kite very soon. Squalls of this level of violence can occur in various parts of the Caribbean and SE USA particularly during the warmer months. They may also be reasonably common in many other parts of the world. If you see a squall coming in, you have no idea whether the wind will die, reverse, boost 5 kts. or 50 kts. or all of the above.

I am reminded of a story about Luftwaffe glider pilots trying to learn about conditions inside cumulonimbus storm clouds just prior to WWII.
Of the original group of 35 pilots I recall that two survived interacting with the incredible violence inside these clouds. Some things are best left alone. Other kiteboarders have been injured by squall winds in several other accounts in this section. Black incoming storm clouds and squalls should be avoided by kiteboarders at all costs.


This squall was recently identified as resembling a shelf cloud. Several of these were seen around Florida during the recent passage of Hurricane Dennis in 2005. They are also seen not that uncommonly at other times of the year in various parts of the world.


This actually looks like it might be a "wall cloud." These clouds though similar in some ways to shelf clouds are also associated with violent weather including tornados.
From: fksa.org


From: http://icons.wunderground.com


From: http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/


From: http://www.chaseday.com/

Shelf clouds are associatied with gust fronts the passage of which passage is noted by:

* calm winds
* then (sometimes excessively) gusty winds and a temp drop
* then rain

Question: If you saw one of these coming your way, you'd land, right? Just make sure you land well in time to have everything secured before it hits.

More about severe weather at:
http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/me...r15/index.html

Ideas about weather planning and monitoring for kiteboarding appear at:
http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=130
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:37 AM
chui chui is offline
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Wow, some of those pics are desktop worthy.. Do you have them in a higher resolution?

These stories are scary but I guess when you play with fire sometimes you get burned...
Im just getting started in kiteboarding and am looking forward to some decent air... but nothing near 800ft!
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chui
Wow, some of those pics are desktop worthy.. Do you have them in a higher resolution?

These stories are scary but I guess when you play with fire sometimes you get burned...
Im just getting started in kiteboarding and am looking forward to some decent air... but nothing near 800ft!
Unfortunately, most are from the Internet in the resolution shown. I do have higher res. originals of the one show with the credit to the FKA along with some other related shots.

It is little different to other weather dependent activities, like flying or ski mountaineering. If you are indifferent to the weather you may get spanked badly. Historically all too many kiteboarders and guys in those other activities were indifferent as well. Lots of accidents ensued.

More about riding and working to avoid these sorts of hazards appear under the first listed topics and below at:

http://fksa.org/viewforum.php?f=85

http://fksa.org/viewforum.php?f=25
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