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Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

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Herman
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Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby Herman » Sun Jan 22, 2023 4:53 pm

Regularly there seems to be accident reports that suggest a rider launched too big a kite. There may be an element of truth in this but I find it hard to believe that this is the main factor. A kite can be held whilst way way overpowered. Perhaps it is more likely that it is a combination of kite size and loss /lack of control, with the loss/lack of control being the predominant or at least equal factor.

After such reports we often see the start with one hand on the CL, followed shortly by start unhooked suggestions. Fine, do that if you want to, but imho the emphasis should still be on staying in control. If you are going to do either of the above you should still have a plan to stop the kite flying up. You need to be comfortable dropping the top hand to the bottom of the bar and perhaps more importantly, once the kite has rolled up walk a little down wind to unpin it rather than yank it off the sand and have it fly up and back. Having the skill to caress the kite off the sand is probably more important than where your chickens loop is held imho.

Having said the above, I don’t travel much nowadays and so I don’t see many other kiters. Are there many peeps launching kites that are so oversized that they could not be held if conservatively controlled at the edge of the window?

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Toby
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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby Toby » Sun Jan 22, 2023 5:47 pm

I always launch powered.
One hand on QR means only one hand can steer…having that hand near the center is less likely to steer fast.

But also demanding faster and faster kite (why does a medium rider want a fast kite?) leads to more and more accidents.
And a death loop is also more and more likely.

Set your kites to slow, stay clear of any possible hazards on the beach. Be aware, and before launching make sure the lines are all correct…ask your helper to look out for it too because it is hard to see from 20m away if maybe something isn’t correct.

Stay away from strong winds, you are asking for trouble. And normally progress is little compared to moderate wind.

Don’t follow trends where you think you have to do things you don’t feel like. Do what you prefer and you feel save with doing. Don’t go out if you don’t feel safe in those conditions.
Several times I skipped a session when I didn’t feel Ike it will be safe or good. Stronger winds means gustier winds, and this leads to less control. One mistake, that could be it.

And yes, one hand on the QR is a big help, it could make the difference between getting yanked or not when things go wrong.

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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby Toby » Sun Jan 22, 2023 5:50 pm

Here again a video everyone should watch:


https://strictlyhooked.com/viewtopic.php?t=2464

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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby purdyd » Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:02 pm

I’m not sure that launching is always the problem I think it might be gettting to the water

We’ve seen people lofted from beaches.

And some horrific video from Florida





A common theme appears to be on shore conditions and sudden gusts.

I imagine kite size is a contributing factor but not the only one.

What strikes me about the above videos is that it appears neither experienced rider let go or even completely sheeted out.
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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby SolarSet » Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:18 pm

I see most frequent when rider doesn’t know how to stand against wind direction when lunching leading to some possible yet very easy avoidable risk, like with many extreme sport it’s often 1-2year is most dangerous year when skills don’t keep up with with confidence and people hugely overestimate their skills.

I shouted and people countless time WTF they are doing no only putting themselves in danger but others too

Chasing 40kts+ has stopped for me since I realize learning some old school tricks is more fun than new Woo record and
Putting yourself in unnecessary risk is pointless

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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby Havre » Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:21 pm

Most accidents I have seen have been due to lack of concentration. I have seen extremely skilled kiters getting slammed on the beach.

I think Toby’s advice is reasonable. I’m not sure if it matters much if you already got your hand on the QR, but it should mentally prepare yourself to release. Almost every single time I have seen people in trouble they had more than enough time to release - they just weren’t mentally ready - thinking they would try to save the situation first (which probably works most of the time).

I have only once launched a kite myself in what I realised was too much wind for the size. But as mentioned by others I was still able to control it more or less. I started to slide a bit on the grass. So someone did grab hold of me as well just to stop me sliding. But the situation wasn’t all that bad - even if it could have been if I had slipped. So not a pleasant experience.

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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby Peter_Frank » Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:25 pm

Very very rare I would say, riders are too powered to hold the kite, and agree with you Herman, it is hardly never because it is too windy.

The rootcause has to be found elsewhere.

I would never recommend launching with one hand on the bar only, let alone unhooked - simply because the accidents I have witnessed has solely been initiated by kiters who found too much power, and let go with one hand only, and then it is all over as you will kiteloop and get yanked.

Of course if you can push the release before this happens, fine, but this is apparently not the case in these inci or accidents.

I prefer to have both hands on the bar, so if something is "wrong", I can either try to release yes, but most often, actually always, steer contra with the bar, no matter which way it is wrong.

As one must conclude it is with "something twisted" when launching, it can go horribly wrong.

If launched okay and it is a rider error or huge squall gust or line wrapped on bar suddenly, it is different - but here you can not prepare having one hand on the QR.

We all (almost everyone) seek as fast kites as possible, and here it is also good that it CAN be corrected better than a slow kite.
Others could with reason say the opposite, true.

So I think we should look elsewhere to "why it goes wrong" now and then.
Selflaunching is risky, unless it is tethered.
Having a less experienced (or one who does not pay attention) launch you, is probably by far the most risky, as things can be wrong :roll:

Launching unhooked would for me be impossible, meaning I would be hugely powered, and the kite might backstall - NOT a desired scenario risk wise I can say for sure.

Yes you can let go of the whole thing then - but it would happen so often that the danger for others on the beach, and having your gear destroyed, is extreme.

My point is, launching like this can be done yes, but it will lead to many bad launches and wrecked gear.

True, better than losing your life, agree, but it is still a matter of balancing things IMO.

The main purpose must be, to avoid launching in front of things which can be risky - as this is how it can go horribly wrong.
Parking lots, rocks, timber, houses and so on.

Maybe just me, but I dont like the unhooked or one hand on the bar launch - way too risky IMO.

Some prefer this, I know, and simply personal preference based on experience and HOW you ride of course.

8) Peter
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Herman (Sun Jan 22, 2023 10:05 pm)
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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby IWantToFly » Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:32 pm

Peter_Frank wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:25 pm
Very very rare I would say, riders are too powered to hold the kite, and agree with you Herman, it is hardly never because it is too windy.

The rootcause has to be found elsewhere.
This is absolutely true. Whenever there is an accident there is nearly always other people launching similar size kites successfully at the same time.

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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby knotwindy » Sun Jan 22, 2023 6:48 pm

Yes, it is rarely the conditions that cause accidents. It is your decision to go out in those conditions. It is rarely equipment failure that causes the ‘accident’ but your decision not to check it more carefully. It is rarely the beginner that has a ‘bad’ accident or the overpowered advanced kiter that has a ‘bad’ accident because they are paying very close attention to what is going on. It’s the in between ability levels & conditions that lead to complacency. I’ve done this a hundred times in this condition, it’s easy.
Yes, it’s easy when everything goes right but if something goes sideways are you paying enough attention and ready to react properly and quickly?
More small planes fall out of the sky not because they are less safe than large commercial planes but due to pilot error, usually bad decisions to fly in bad weather they are not ready for. Try and pay attention and make better decisions. Your & others lives might depend on it.
Yes, I know, it’s just a sport and it’s not as dangerous as it used to be. That’s the reasoning that is directly related to complacency.
Rant off.

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Re: Launching accidents - is it really too windy?

Postby FLandOBX » Sun Jan 22, 2023 7:08 pm

Herman wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 4:53 pm
Perhaps it is more likely that it is a combination of kite size and loss /lack of control, with the loss/lack of control being the predominant or at least equal factor.
Yes, this. ^^^

Skilled riders (using good judgment) can usually manage a big kite as you've described. But inexperienced riders often panic when they feel the extra power of high wind, then make things worse by pulling in the bar, lose control, and get launched into whatever happens to be nearby.

The more interesting (but unfortunate) accidents involve the more experienced riders. Usually, in these cases, something else comes into play (e.g., wind sheer, equipment failure, or, as knotwindy says, a lapse in judgment).


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