Lessons Learned

Had an epiphany? Stepped in a metaphorical cow pie? Share the experience here.

Tree Eats New Kite ;-(

Been flying kites just about every day. Very light winds here…5-10 mph at best.

Lost my new 8 foot yellow SUMAC ROK to a 100 foot tree yesterday ☹ ….recovery will be 50 / 50… This is my second kite that I stuck in a tree over the last two months….both are still in the trees…. Recovery options will be my focus in the coming weeks. See if you can spot the kite in the tree below.
Tree eats kite...
A bit closer.
Tree eats kite...
Still got the red vented ROK,..... yellow ROX is in the tree.
Rokkaku KAP kites

The kite lost was 100% my fault, I leave the kites up un-attended (tied on to my fence) – wind dies….or gust take down the kites…. Not certain how the yellow ROK came down. Hope to inspect IF I can get it out of the tree...kite is close to 100 feet up....in the very top of the tree. Possible stick failure....

I did get in three good KAP sessions with the SUMAC ROK in the days prior to the lost kite.

My focus, beyond kite tree rescues, has been on getting my replacement Sony A6000 to work with my replacement CAMRemote controller. After lots of experiments it seems the IR trigger on my A6000 only works intermittently ….sometimes taking only 10 shots other times max of ~100….. bit frustrating. The CAMRemote works fine with the pan and tilt servos but the Sony only sees the IR trigger intermittently. I power off and on the Sony and it immediately sees the IR trigger….only to fail a short time latter and stop taking pictures….

I have moved on to playing with the Sony in camera time lapse app with good results so far….now if I can just keep my kites out of trees….


Good fall color in my neck of the woods. See a few photos below and in this flickr album.

Leaves Speak!

Leaves Speak!
Leaves Speak!


  • The photos are beautiful :-), while we here feel for your kite :-( ...
    Sometimes brute force works - ripstop nylon, carbon spars and a good kite lite are no match for thin branches ... (5 of our kites were eaten, 3 recovered, one disappeared, one still in the tree (it's been there for 2 and a half years now)).
    Good luck!

  • "Neck of the woods" seems an apt phrase to describe your tree-rich area, which certainly looks beautiful!

  • edited October 2020

    My dad sometimes says that he's forgotten more things than I'll ever know... well, I think you've lost more kites in trees than I've ever owned. :wink:
    Seriously though, sorry to hear about your kite loss. I hope you can get it down safely. Very nice pictures too. The leaves just turned here in Southern Maryland over the last week. So far the weather hasn't cooperated for me to KAP them, but hopefully I will get the chance before they are gone.

  • Hi WindWatcher,

    very sad to know that "my" yellow ROK is on the top of that tree... from the picture maybe the spine was broken.... the sail is of very good and strong quality, the edge is all reinforced... I hope that you can have back your kite wish you a strong wind in direction of line...

    SMAC from Italy

  • Beautiful shots of your neighborhood. I just do auto-KAP so am not familiar with IR triggers. Is there a possible light leakage issue? I've noticed my IR remote for a Blu-ray player quits working if sunlight falls on the sensor. Perhaps some black tape over the trigger/sensor might help?

  • You never learn so you Jim?
    Re IR remote.... When I first got a GentLED, I pointed it
    at the red flashing light instead of the IR receiver. It didn't work very well!! You're not doing something like that are you?
    Fly High

  • a past experience with a ROK on a tree in Tuscany, may 2017, beautiful place Il Poggio Celle sul Rigo near San Cascano Bagni ; less than 10 second without looking to the kite and... the V shaped bridles exactly on the top of the tree... at the end after some attempt the kite was destroyed in pieces, very sad... best approach would have been a cutter as in picture fixed on a long fishing pole, cut all bridle V and get down the kite sail + frame without damage

    SMAC from Italy

  • another ROK of a friend kiter on a tree july 2018 Ceresole Reale, recovered with another ROKKAKU and fixed on the line a piece of line ending with a hook... after many troubles the kites returned safely home.....
    SMAC from Italy

  • That's an impressive recovery operation. Good thing he didn't end up with two Roks in the tree.

  • Kite rescues complete!

    Two WW kites that have been stuck in local trees for over 5 weeks have been successfully retrieved from the high tree tops.
    The kites have been exposed to high winds (50+ knots), sun and rain with significant damage to the SUMAC 8 foot ROK. Will have to explore repair options.

    Certified tree expert (Arborist) and his son climbed the trees with ropes to recover the lost kites. Took about 90 minutes of effort. See photos and videos below showing the rescues. See additional photos here in this flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmSxouux

    The Premier 9 foot delta kite faired better with no major damage.

    The larger 8 foot ROK was stuck over 100 feet in the air and was exposed to higher wind. The vertical spar remained intact for the duration and was successfully recovered. Portions of the two horizontal spreaders were recovered (found on the ground at the base of the tree) with no evidence of damage. Missing segments of the lower horizontal spreader along with a hole in the kite sail near the lower horizontal spreader.
    Most likely root cause - failed lower horizontal spreader in flight during gust. Kite was tied off at the time and I did not observe the failure in real time.... Kite ended up in the very top of a tree over 100 feet up in the air.

    Enjoy a few photos and videos of the recovery and kite damage.


    Kite Rescue
    Kite Rescue
    Kite Rescue

    Click on the above image to see video on flickr.

    Kite Rescue
    Kite Rescue<scriKite Rescuept async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8">
    Kite Rescue
    Kite Rescue

  • thanks WindWatcher for sharing
    good to see what has been recovered but very sad for me to see in what conditions is a kite new built on july this year
    my only first possible remark is that together with the two kites (ROK yellow and ROK vented - red) I have sent you also some pieces of sail ; if you can find a local chance of sewing....
    SMAC from Italy

  • I hope the two rescuers were well-rewarded for their efforts, which surely involved some danger to them despite their obvious expertise. Good to see that you got the kites back, Jim, sad to see the damage, and perhaps a lesson or two learned from this?

  • SMAC, Yes I will be repair options in the coming weeks for the yellow ROK. May replace the damaged panel or reduce the overall width on both sides.... Need to do some thinking....

    NZflier - Yes many lessons learned. #1 - Fly new kites over open safe safety box to speed recoveries from failures, #2 fly kites while holding the line (as opposed to my current practice of tying off the kite line and only checking on the kite every hour or so....). Life is too busy now....will be sticking with my less than optimum tie off practice. Rescuers were well rewarded for the risky recovery. The tree experts and I are on a first name basis.... I think the kite recoveries are now approaching 8!


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