Alameda Lofting Incident

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Postby username » Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:35 pm

What about signs reminding kiters where to launch and/or signs informing the public what and what not to do if kites are around. I know for sure unsuspecting pedestrians tend to be "curious" taking a closer look at the kite wether its flying, launching, or worst landing as a result endangering them selves. Main St. and shoreline, along shoreline, or even on Otis, could post these signs??

Bottom line, kiters should be responsible for fellow kiters in order to prevent another accident...

What do you guys think?
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Postby f » Sat Oct 09, 2004 9:09 pm

How is it possible that somebody gets lofted 30 feet high and travels 125 feet and is not able to activate the safety?

It's sad, but there was thread on kiteforum.com showing that the majority of safety systems on the market are crap.
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2305668
I'd really like to know what kind of system this kiter was using.

Sure, being on a bigger kite than everybody else is bad. But wind is unpredicable and even those other kiters on 12 sqm kites could have been lofted in a strong gust. You just never know.

You should be able to activate your safety blind-folded in a quarter second under dynamic loads equivalent to much more than your body weight (even if the bar is rotated). I'm glad I'm using the Willi shackle system where the plastic ball that activates the safety is always, always on the right side of harness bar.
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Postby f » Sat Oct 09, 2004 9:28 pm

Uups... it was 20 feet high...
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Postby fearlu » Sun Oct 10, 2004 8:44 am

I think that the problem is, that when all hell is breaking loose, there simply isn't enough reaction time in some incidents. I once read that the time to decide when to pull the plug is now, while you're sitting comfortably on the couch, so that you can ascertain the conditions under which it's simply safer and wiser to abort.

I think that advice is good. For example, if you are getting an assisted launch and the kite drops back in the window, at what point do you continue to try to get it into the air versus pulling the safety. If you're overpowered and upwind of some obstacle, how close are you willing to get before you pull the safety? This type of analysis is helpful and the boundaries are then pre-defined in a variety of likely scenarios. (This may have worked for the guy in Alameda who would have had a planned bail-out earlier in the game).

I've read the safety system reviews from the German mags on kiteforum.com and despite what they say, some deemed "inadequate", I like the RRD TSC system. With one swift pull you can detach 3 out of 4 lines and the handle is very easy to find. Relying on your shackle to release is not sufficient, you need redundancy in depowering methods.

Stay tuned, there are more safety systems coming for '05 and I'll bet some are very well thought out.
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Postby Guest » Sun Oct 10, 2004 12:02 pm

fearlu wrote:Relying on your shackle to release is not sufficient, you need redundancy in depowering methods.


Actually I do have a secondary release that also disconnects 3 out of 4 lines but I never use it. Still, could you explain why the don't believe in well designed shackle systems (such as the Willi shackle) using the right model of Wichard shackle that always opens under high loads?

What I personally don't like are systems where you use the shackle to disconnect the lines whenever you land the kite but you use a different system as the safety, for example the Naish chicken loop with a pin system. The problem is that you don't practice using the latter system frequently enough and it won't become a reflex if you really have to use it.
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