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How do you Launch your Kite ?

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RichardM
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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby RichardM » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:26 am

geopeck wrote:I prefer an assisted launch by a kiter, I'll slide launch up to about 18 knots and tether launch over that. I only like to slide launch if I have good beach and downwind clearance to do it, otherwise try to think ahead and tether launch. We have big tides so sometimes there is 300 meters between my tether and the water, other times 10 meters. Naturally the tether point is surrounded by logs and RVs and signs, so it's not a great place to have a kite up for long.

Here's a method I've been using pretty often if I see non-kiters on the beach and I'm going to launch solo and don't want to tether. Rig the kite up, ask the person if they would be willing to help me launch. Get affirmative, depower, hand them the chicken loop and say "This is going to give about 30 lbs of pull when I set it up, you can let go if it if you are getting pulled too much." Set kite up same as tether launch, take CL from them.

This is kind of nice because it's going to move me into a safe sandy spot and it doesn't have a bystander handling the wing or creating surprises. It might be presuming too much that they will think to let go but I have a "pretty good idea" once the kite is on one tip if there is a potential for trouble.


In almost EVERY case, it is TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE to have a non-kiter help you launch or land your kite (unless YOU have specifically TRAINED them to do so).

Even in the situation described, things can easily go wrong. First of all you should ALWAYS be aware that something can go wrong which is completely unanticipated and unexpected. A frequent comment after a bad experience is "I didn't know that could happen" (I've said this quite a few times myself). And there is absolutely NO WAY to have confidence that someone WILL actually "let go" if things go bad. The USUAL tendency is to hold on. Even briefly holding on could allow the kite to do all kinds of bad things. Having a pretty good idea that something won't go wrong MAY be justified if you're the only one who'll suffer from a mishap (assuming your mishap won't get your location restricted), however it in NO WAY justifies putting others in ANY amount of danger.

If you do not have confidence that you can reasonably safely launch and land your kite by yourself, the conditions are too sketchy and you should wait for mellower conditions.

This is not to say that you should not take advantage of an assisted launch/landing from another experienced kiter if you feel it advantageous to do so despite your having the ability to reasonable safely self launch/land in the conditions that are present.

Richard M.
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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby pwnd550 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:57 am

I agree with DirkGently, when i launch a kite, there never seems to be any real problem, so i just launch it as i want and never worry about anything. I never kite in winds higher than 25 knots (and at that level i'm a bit more cautious), and from experience, i know that when i fail the launch, i either get dragged on my belly on the beach (which can be amusing), then situation gets normal again, or the kite falls out of the sky (hoping it won't hit a tree or boat) and i launch again. But also i'm experienced but not a pro, i just enjoy it, otherwise it's no fun!

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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby TheJoe » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:43 pm

RichardM wrote:
TheJoe wrote:Normally its just one hand and unhooked. Letting go is a lot faster than messing with a quick release.

I will disagree with you Bille on launch as the most dangerous time. To me it would be coming in and landing a kite. When launching you are rested, have the strength to deal with the kite, and react faster. Upon coming in you are tired, have muscle fatigue, and most likely dehydrated. All things that can influence your decisions and reaction time.


Launching unhooked is faster than activating a QR only if the kiter actually lets go. Many, many accidents happen or become worse because of the natural tendency to hang on.

Disadvantages of launching unhooked include:

1. The kite is fully powered up exactly the same as pulling the bar all the way back.
2. Because it is fully powered with maximum tension on the back lines, the steering is maximally twitchy.
3. In strong wind ( when you'd be worried enough to try this method), it may be difficult to hook in; especially if wearing a seat harness and/or have a small CL with a donkey dick in the way. This situation can dramatically increase the danger because of #s 1 & 2 above.

Although your point about fatigue increasing the danger of landing is well taken, the kiter HAS CONTROL over this element and need not get to the point where it is a significant issue (except through stupidity/greed or an unforeseen problem).

For a kiter not tired to the point where safety is significantly impacted, landing has the following safety advantages compared to launching:

1. The kiter has a much better grasp of exactly the responses he can expect from his kite in the present conditions.

2. If conditions are such that landing seems excessively sketchy, the kiter has the option of either putting the kite in the water at the shoreline on its leash or self rescuing from deeper water farther from shore. Obviously, this approach could also be used by a fatigued kiter to minimize the dangers associated with land.

Richard M.
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You points are well taken but I am fully competent flying a kite unhooked. I think learning how to control a kite while being unhooked is very important and would save lives and serious injury. The average kiter will panic if they inadvertently become unhooked. Where as some one that is competent with unhooking with react appropriately. I have witnessed people getting drug down the beach from this.

I have just as much control over the kite hooked in as when unhooked. It's as easy as grabbing the chicken loop with your free hand. I strongly recommend everyone to experiment with unhooking and learning what to do if they in fact become unhooked.

RichardM
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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby RichardM » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:26 am

TheJoe wrote:
RichardM wrote:
TheJoe wrote:Normally its just one hand and unhooked. Letting go is a lot faster than messing with a quick release.

I will disagree with you Bille on launch as the most dangerous time. To me it would be coming in and landing a kite. When launching you are rested, have the strength to deal with the kite, and react faster. Upon coming in you are tired, have muscle fatigue, and most likely dehydrated. All things that can influence your decisions and reaction time.


Launching unhooked is faster than activating a QR only if the kiter actually lets go. Many, many accidents happen or become worse because of the natural tendency to hang on.

Disadvantages of launching unhooked include:

1. The kite is fully powered up exactly the same as pulling the bar all the way back.
2. Because it is fully powered with maximum tension on the back lines, the steering is maximally twitchy.
3. In strong wind ( when you'd be worried enough to try this method), it may be difficult to hook in; especially if wearing a seat harness and/or have a small CL with a donkey dick in the way. This situation can dramatically increase the danger because of #s 1 & 2 above.

Although your point about fatigue increasing the danger of landing is well taken, the kiter HAS CONTROL over this element and need not get to the point where it is a significant issue (except through stupidity/greed or an unforeseen problem).

For a kiter not tired to the point where safety is significantly impacted, landing has the following safety advantages compared to launching:

1. The kiter has a much better grasp of exactly the responses he can expect from his kite in the present conditions.

2. If conditions are such that landing seems excessively sketchy, the kiter has the option of either putting the kite in the water at the shoreline on its leash or self rescuing from deeper water farther from shore. Obviously, this approach could also be used by a fatigued kiter to minimize the dangers associated with land.

Richard M.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)
http://www.MalibuKitesurfing.NET
kfRichard@MalibuKitesurfing.NET


You points are well taken but I am fully competent flying a kite unhooked. I think learning how to control a kite while being unhooked is very important and would save lives and serious injury. The average kiter will panic if they inadvertently become unhooked. Where as some one that is competent with unhooking with react appropriately. I have witnessed people getting drug down the beach from this.

I have just as much control over the kite hooked in as when unhooked. It's as easy as grabbing the chicken loop with your free hand. I strongly recommend everyone to experiment with unhooking and learning what to do if they in fact become unhooked.


Please try not to take my comments too personally. You of course know your situation vastly better than I do and my comments may not be correct as applied to you in your situation. However, I bear in mind that many others read these posts and a certain number of them are novices who do not necessarily grasp all the potential factors involved in a particular situation or technique and therefore should be exposed to any potential problems involved, especially in critical safety related situations.

You're correct that unexpectedly becoming unhooked can cause problems and it makes sense that the more experience one has being unhooked, the less likely it is to cause said problems.

However, we shouldn't lose track of the fact the issue here is being unhooked during launching which is arguably the single most usual place that accidents occur.

Therefore, it seems to me that in strong wind, for instance where there is enough upward pull such a kiter is on their toes or being pulled even with the kite at the side of the window, many of us wimpyier types would have a very hard time attaching the CL with one hand. And this is a situation where the goal is to make things as EASY as possible rather than add difficulty.

Incidentally, do you use a seat or waist harness? It is a lot easier to hook into a waist harness. Not only do you not have pull the QL as far down, but through the added distance of pull required by a seat harness, your arms have much poorer leverage.

Richard M.
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Bille
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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby Bille » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:40 am

TheJoe wrote:...

I have just as much control over the kite hooked in as when unhooked. It's as easy as grabbing the chicken loop with your free hand. I strongly recommend everyone to experiment with unhooking and learning what to do if they in fact become unhooked.


>>It's as easy as grabbing the chicken loop with your free hand ...

Joe -- to learn, would grabbing the chicken loop while still on the tether & back-up safety,
be a way to learn kite control unhooked ; experimenting turning the bar with the other
hand ? I never don un-hooked before & i scared ! Don't laugh ; i'm scared of anything
new cause i Don't do well with New data.

Bille

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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby TheJoe » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:02 am

Bille wrote:
TheJoe wrote:...

I have just as much control over the kite hooked in as when unhooked. It's as easy as grabbing the chicken loop with your free hand. I strongly recommend everyone to experiment with unhooking and learning what to do if they in fact become unhooked.


>>It's as easy as grabbing the chicken loop with your free hand ...

Joe -- to learn, would grabbing the chicken loop while still on the tether & back-up safety,
be a way to learn kite control unhooked ; experimenting turning the bar with the other
hand ? I never don un-hooked before & i scared ! Don't laugh ; i'm scared of anything
new cause i Don't do well with New data.

Bille


I would start by just unhooking while just out riding. Go downwind and play with the power of the kite. When you get over powered just bare off wind and hook back in. Only way to learn is do it and the safest place is in the water.



I would start unhooking by simply unhooking and riding downwind. You need to learn how to deal with the power and how to control it with edging

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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby Flight Time » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:46 am

I'd have to agree with a couple on here. I almost exclusively drag-launch, and I have never had any problem, even when flying lit. If I need to abort, I know the QR will dump all the power in any unforeseen gusts, and I know exactly where it is. I always try to keep my downwind options open, and I try not to park the kite at zenith for extended periods of time in gusty winds. I know that if I get lofted, a quick draw on the QR will solve that problem instantly.

One thing that I need to work on is running unhooked, because there have been times where I have become unhooked unexpectedly, and it was always an unpleasant shock. It always happened with the damned Cabrinha harness with the rounded hook. The loop on my Cab bar would constantly get jostled off the side of the hook, leaving the whole pressure of the kite hanging on the dick, which I noticed more often than not, but there were some instances where it let go and I felt my arms at full extension on a fully powered 16m kite. Since I switched to my Epic harness, it has never happened again. In fact, most companies use a squared-off hook design, which seems to keep the loop in place much more effectively.

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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby Bille » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:31 am

TheJoe wrote:...

I would start unhooking by simply unhooking and riding downwind. You need to learn how to deal with the power and how to control it with edging


Fully Trimmed in the Go-Fast position ?


Flight Time wrote:I'd have to agree with a couple on here. I almost exclusively drag-launch, and I have never had any problem, even when flying lit.
...
.


Do Ya have any videos ?
This is Also something i'd like to learn !!

Bille

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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby OzBungy » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:01 am

I don't drag or anything. I simply tension the lines from an upwind position and end up with the kite facing down into the sand. Basically the kite is face down and flying itself firmly into the ground.

Normally I don't even hold the bar at all. I have recently added a step where I hold the bar upside down so that I am actively flying the kite into the ground. It sounds a little complicated but it avoids any chance of the kite self-launching before I want it to.

Once this is done I can check the lines and have a general fiddle about. If I am not happy I can easily park the kite and start again.

If I am happy I just walk downwind and pivot the kite up and into the air from the normal side launch position.

The advantages are:
- the transition from parked to inflated is separate from the parked to flying step.
- the kite does not drag more than a few cms on the ground no matter how strong or light the wind.
- I can choose the exact moment the kite actually launches off the ground. It is not tension, turn and boom!
- I can abort any time I want.

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Re: How do you Launch your Kite ?

Postby TheJoe » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:46 pm

Bille wrote:
TheJoe wrote:...

I would start unhooking by simply unhooking and riding downwind. You need to learn how to deal with the power and how to control it with edging


Fully Trimmed in the Go-Fast position ?


Flight Time wrote:I'd have to agree with a couple on here. I almost exclusively drag-launch, and I have never had any problem, even when flying lit.
...
.


Do Ya have any videos ?
This is Also something i'd like to learn !!

Bille


You can push the kite to the edge of the window and depower it by edging harder up wind. I don't mess with my trim much once I am on the water instead I just use the board to control my speed and power.

Drag launch would be the same as relaunching your kite in the water. Only difference you do it on land. I do it often but only in lighter winds. My fuels relaunch really deep and I end up with a hot launch when I do this.


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