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Mikefule

Safety reminder

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I went to a local fly in yesterday.  I am not a club member at the moment, but it was local and I had an hour or so to spare so I popped along.  It was very windy, gusty, and turbulent - the sort of day and the type of site where one moment your kite is pulling like a train and the next moment the wind has got behind it and it is tumbling - then the kite catches the wind again and roars back up, then goes into a swooping spiral.  It was the sort of day where, if I had been alone, I may have spent half an hour with each kite tinkering with the bridle, adding or changing a tail, and then been pleased to have achieved a sustained and reasonably stable flight.

I gave up and left the site after half an hour or so because I was concerned about safety.  There were members of the public, including children, walking gaily under the kites, and some of the kite flyers were standing chatting within the radius of a fast swooping kite.  When you think your kite is stable then it suddenly goes into fast death loops and skims within a metre of the ground, you don't want anyone near.  I couldn't really move as flyers were dotted about the field so that almost any move up or downwind, or across the wind, would have caused interference.

Even my small Conyne, with its GRP spars, could cause a lot of injury at full speed.  I think I'm a reasonably experience kite flyer (this was my 38th flying day since late March this year) and it was the first time I've found myself frightened that someone was going to get hurt.

Theres not much we can do to stop members of the public walking under our kites (although maybe a club could have posted warnings or even roped off an area) but it was surprising to see some of the flyers so blasé about what was going on overhead.

Individually, none of us wants to cause or suffer an injury, and as a group we don't want to find ourselves banned from public sports fields and the like.

Take care, folks. 

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Safety first, always. When you ignore it, it will bite you. If you don't feel conditions are safe, pack your stuff and leave. Mention it to the others. They will either listen or laugh. Either way, you did what was right. Let them pay for the consequence of their actions. It's good to have fliers like you on the field. Someone should always act as the "Safety Gauge".

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One of the kites I struggled and gave up with because of the crowds was a small and rather heavy Conyne which needs quite a stiff wind to get it up, but is quite sensitive to how the bridle is trimmed.  It was the one that was in the death loops.

Today i took it to my local field and there was a fitful breeze, with gusts at tree top height.  After a lot of careful nursing, I got the kite up to the full length of the string but it was seriously unstable, looping and whirling, and I was having to move backwards and forwards like a caffeinated fencer to keep the tension on the line just right.

So I walked the kite down, trimmed the bridle (2 or 3 attempts) and then nursed it back up.  The steeper bridle angle made it harder work in the low wind zone, but once it got up there it was like it was nailed to the sky, pulling but rock steady.  I even allowed a passing child to hold the reel - while I had my hand circling the line to catch the reel if he let go.  It was pulling strongly enough that the kid couldn't stand stlll.

This is the sort of single line flying I enjoy: spending the time, adjusting and tweaking, and nursing the kite up, fishing for the wind.

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