Lessons Learned

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

The Line Parted….and I Ran and Ran and Ran…

Two kites in the air one with my KAP rig taking away pictures on a late fall day above Wind Watcher proving grounds.

The kite lines were a bit close due to a right bias on one kite and left bias on the second kite.

Winds were blowing out of the South 10-15 mph with higher gust up to 20 mph. A good size safety box above the WW proving grounds.

While repositioning the kite (SMAC vented Red ROK) with my KAP rig and multiple streamers attached to the line…. The kite line parted….

I took me a few seconds for the reality to sink in as I watched my new red ROK and newly build KAP rig and new Sony A6000 take off into the open sky above WW proving grounds.
Chasing the wind

Then kite instincts kicked in.

I started to run and run and run…..fast…..faster…..fastest….I could go….chasing the wind….

The kite line had 6 streamers attached with Brooks hang ups spaced about 40 feet apart. I kept chasing the kite line as the kite rapidly pulled away. I was running down hill which helped a bit but the free end of the kite line was still a 100 feet in front of me….I would close to 50 only to have the kite pull the line away.

Still I kept running. Across ditches and high grass. At the bottom of the hill is a state road with power lines….not a good ending…

I ran faster…getting closer to the end of the line. The big red ROK was still high in the sky with KAP rig somewhere above.

As I continued to sprint downhill I began to yell “GRAB THE LINE” to a few people who were walking their dogs in the park at the bottom of the hill….But know one understood my urgent pleas…

The kite was beginning to drift over the road and the power lines with my KAP rig still attached…..my hopes were fading of ever seeing this kite, KAP rig and camera ever again….

But….

Hope springs eternal.

As the kite dragged the kite line with streamers attached along the ground one of the Brooks hangups snagged a parking sign in the park just before the road and power lines.

Still sprinting and arriving at the kite line loosely attached to the parking sign I grabbed the line with my gloved hands and began to rap the kite line around my hands and wrists to securely hold the kite and take stock of where the kite and KAP rig were (flying now above the power lines).

Chasing the Wind

The wind had picked up the and the big ROK was pulling like a truck.

I gradually, step by step and with much effort, pulled the kite line, steamers, kite, KAP rig back up the hill that I had just sprinted down.

At arriving at my tie off point, I tied the free end of the kite line to a tie off point.

I was gassed. While all this excitement was going on…the second kite (big octopus kite) had come down in the field…..

The investigation into the line failure began immediately…

  • The break point was about 10 feet from my Stratospool and at a point where I had one of two “feathers” (line laundry) attached to the kite line with a Brooks hangup.

  • The kite line was the same Dyneema kite line that I had my previous line failure (with lost of kite and KAP rig in Florida earlier this year)…. 150 lbs test, light blue in color.

  • The previous failure I had attributed to a rough edge on my Stratospool….

  • This failure break was not near the Stratospool so I ruled it out as a root cause.

  • The weak or flawed kite line is my main root cause for this line failure. But more investigation is needed.

  • I have used this kite line for over 20 flights in the past few months…with no failures

  • The kite line was holding fine all day prior to the break …. Perhaps a gust added extra load on the line causing the failure

  • As the kite dragged the streamers and feathers down the hill both feathers came off the line. I was able to retrieve one feather (sheer luck) but was unable (so far) to locate the second feather (where I believe the actual break occurred).

Corrective actions (so far):

  • I dumped the Dyneema line (unwound off the Stratospool) and replace the line with new Spectra 150 lbs. line.

  • I put the big red vented ROK back into the sky today along with my KAP rig with the new kite just to keep my nerves steady. As I type this story the big ROK and KAP rig are taking pictures.

Unrelated to the above excitement, I am experimenting with the Sony in camera Time-lapse app with good overall success. The Time-lapse app experiment was triggered by inconsistent operation of the IR trigger that I normally use for KAP with my Sony A6000. I am not certain of cause for this issue (the IR trigger or the Sony A6000). More work is needed. In the mean time…using the Time-lapse app.

Pictures:

  • A review of the pictures revealed the Sony A600 dropping lower and lower. The camera did hit the ground at several points but relaunched into the air…..and got fairly close to the power lines….

    • The Sony A6000 appears to be undamaged and is in the air now taking pictures!

KAP life can be exciting …. And even give you an aerobic exercise (sprinting). 😉

Enjoy a few pictures taken from the KAP rig during all this excitement.

Fly safe!

WW

Chasing the Wind
Chasing the Wind
Chasing the Wind
Chasing the wind
Chasing the Wind
Chasing the wind

Comments

  • Oh my God.....
    SMAC from Italy

  • Never a dull moment at the Wind Watcher proving grounds. Thanks for sharing, that was enjoyable to read.

  • Jim, an other great and entertaining story to read !!! Did this happen during our KAPiZoom ?

  • Drama with a happy ending! Love it :-)
    Did the rogue kite get some cool photos? When almost the same thing happened to us, the camera smashed into the grond and unfortunately shut down ...

  • edited November 9

    Wahoo, what a story. Maybe a moment more aNAerobic (lactic) workout session than aerobic ;o))).
    Luckily, James, you're a sportman (kayaking ie).
    The broke of a line is always a sure way to increase our maximal running speed ;o)
    Good to read that you retrieve almost everything ans still fonctionnal.
    Emmanuel

  • Oh my gosh, what an adventure! And what a workout you must have had running after your possessions. I'm glad that luck was on your side in the end.

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