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Kite Adventures - Wind Watcher Proving Grounds - Story One...Dancing Levitation Delta

Kites have been keeping me on my toes over the last month or so.... with winter kite flying on most days.

Moderately strong NW winds were blowing across the WW proving grounds...just begging for a kite to join the winds high above.

An Into the Wind Levitation delta fitted with a Dynamic Spreader (DS) quickly soared into the bright blue sky above.... the kite few great for the whole day. The wind was a bit lumpy (as normal above WW proving grounds). I used my Stratospool fitted with 150 Lbs. blue Dacron kite line.... strong and easy on the hands.

At the end of the day, I returned to the tie off point (fence rail in my backyard) and began to bring in the big delta kite with my Stratospool kite reel.

This is where things got interesting. The lumpy wind continued to be lumpy with a bit of turbulence tossed in for good measure. The normally stable delta kite began to dance a bit. A big wind direction shift swept across the area with high turbulence and increased wind speed. The Levitation delta kite decided to perform a few acrobatic loops followed by "take your breath away" dives into heavily wooded area with very tall trees. All of this with the kite line in my hand (Stratospool). I began alternating letting line out to recover from the dives to reeling in line quickly in the lulls. This strategy was short lived as there were more dives than lulls.... and .... I was getting to the end of my line on the Stratospool reel!

The kite wished for even more excitement.... and did a high-speed dive into the top branches of several trees over 100 feet high.... Not one to give up easily on a kite in a tree.... I fought and pulled the kite out of one tree and to my amazement the kite caught wind and relaunched itself into the air and out of the tree (WW kites are well trained and experienced in these rescue maneuvers). Turns out.... more excitement was around the corner. The kite continued to misbehave and began a series of high-speed power dives back into the trees and beyond my site.... about 700 feet away.

I played line out quickly to arrest the dive... but in the end the kite came to the ground somewhere beyond my site. Knowing the local woods all too well.... I could tell from the direction of the line .... kites in trees were once again in my forecast.

I quickly tied off the Stratospool and began to trace my kite line to find my lost kite. I considered myself lucky as many of my past kite failures were unattended with few clues as to where the kite was located.

The kite line was stretched between five or six tall trees ... zig zagging between and over homes. Still no sign of the kite.... The kite line was very high up in the trees and hard to follow. I returned to my home to pull out a small pair of binoculars that I keep in my KAP bag for just these types of events. With the help of the binoculars, I was able to pick up the kite line high in the trees and continue my kite search.

The kite line began to angle back down to the ground and over one of my neighbor’s houses. My hopes were rising. I rang the doorbell of my neighbor's home and requested permission to search the backyard for a lost kite. The neighbor replied that her husband had just told her that he had seen a kite float past his home office!

I quickly moved to the backyard which was full of large trees in search for my lost kite.... now with increased hope in my heart.

Immediately behind the home in a small opening between the trees sat my Levitation delta kite sitting pretty on the ground leaning against a covered up hot tub... just waiting to get back into the air.

I could not believe my lucky landing. Just how the kite was able to navigate all the tree hazards and end up sitting upright on the ground is still a miracle to me. I quickly disconnected the kite from the kite line (Larkshead knot) and with the Stratospool cranking in line (with some effort at several points) I was able to recover all the kite line. Glad I did not need to contact my arborist for emergency help!

As to the root cause for all the misbehaving kite acrobatics... root cause remains a mystery. The center spine spar may have worked free. More testing is planned when steady South winds return to Wind Watcher proving grounds.

Enjoy a few pictures and map from the kite rescue event below.

Kite rescue be continued!


Dancing Levitation Delta Rescue



  • Wow, incredible story! It must have been quite the rush to find it resting right there out in the open. Glad you are still taking the time to fly in the cold weather.

  • This was certainly one of the better endings to your kite adventures, Jim. That Levitation certainly knows how to make a safe landing, although this one seems like almost a miracle.

  • It looks as if a larger blue parafoil kite has also landed behind your Levitation previously!

  • Jim, I've sent you another private message about the sand anchors. I hope it's useful.

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