Use this categories to post questions and advice regarding safety as well as discussions associated with safe KAP practice.

A story of flying too high from England....

Just spotted this making the news right now on the BBC website which happened only this afternoon (Sunday 8th May) near Bristol airport.


  • edited May 2016
    This is something of non story. Yes, there was a kite flown over height. Yes, the police advised the kite flier this was unsafe. What is intresting is how this important safety message was a police operated helicopter landing in a public park.

    All ended happily and the police went on their way.

    Given the state of public finances is this best use of such a high value police resource?

    As far as I can tell the 'copter pilot saw the kite, decided to drop the flight plan and land. The rest is news.

    I often wonder about helicopter movements being a 'spur of the moment' thing and this event confirms this- they operate in similar ways to drones, a kind of 'just do it' behaviour. They are the risk I fear the most. Even by keeping to the required CAA height for kites I never know if I may snare a 'copter as they fly at any height they please.

    Paul Chapman was there and recorded the event, he consided the risk to be low and hopes the flier, who was unaware of the CAA regs, will fly safe in future:


    Here is Paul's account:
    Since it is national news, and I saw what went on, I may as well add a bit to explain. I was aware of the police helicopter before I got to the Downs. Parked up and joined Alan Pinnock; too windy for me. Alan pointed out a kite well up and alongside the Avon Gorge .. clearly too high, especially with the helicopter around. Then the helicopter came over us so Alan dropped his stuff...and it landed a hundred yards away.

    Police helicopter. Of course we went over to see and, we were right, it was the kite. Two airborne coppers legged it in the direction of the kite while we admired the helicopter ( not surprisingly since I used to design these airbeaters). Anyway the pilot said they had clocked the kite at 600 ft and not only was that illegal (over 60 metres), the gorge is often used as a light aircraft route (minimum height 500 ft). At the same time the pilot said there was no danger...although there could have been. He was ok about it, other than the kiteflier needed a warning.

    I explained that generally the Downs are self regulated...we talk to others, mostly people unaware of the regs, and would not recommend flying next to the gorge where the wind is bad anyway. A bit later I spoke to another policeman who told me that the kite was at 1000 ft and that the cable could bring down the helicopter...I questioned the height...he backed down, and the cable (wire or kevlar?) but he did not know. So I then hiked off to see the kiteflier. Nice, friendly man out in the sunshine with his family.

    He had made a kite for his children like the ones they used to fly in Jamaica....I took some photos...and he had no idea that he was doing wrong. I checked the cable...which turned out to be a cheap poor quality nylon line, probably about 30 lb breaking strain. Yes, too high, but very unlikely to be a threat.

    I suggested next time they should fly with us as we are well clear of the gorge, as well as being very safety aware. He might..I hope so..but he was clearly shaken by his inadvertent run in with the law. Great pity since we are always delighted and intrigued when people bring kites from far away places....recently from Chile, Sri Lanca, China. So..if you are flying kites on the Downs then please come over and chat with the locals. We know where the best winds can be found, know the do's and dont 's, know where to get kite stuff...bla bla Better than risking an unwanted visit from the law.
  • Awesome looking kite!
  • Pelham describes it as a 'Bermudan 3 stick'
  • edited May 2016
    One might wonder, if you just saw them posing .... but the cops can testify, not only can that kite
    fly - it can Fly High ( tip o' the cap to Sue ).
    It looks like that beauty has more air time than most of mine. And it's still cookin' !
    Kites, an international language....

    ps: the "open nose" reminds me of an old alligator who lived in the Everglades National Park. He was
    called " The General ". He had apparently mixed-it-up with another in the past: he was left with
    the front-half of his upper jaw... missing.
  • Interesting story. I don't like to hear an helicopter when i fly a kite.
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