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I have a bit of knowledge of FAR 101 due to some years of Model and High Power Rocketry.  I find the kite regs to be a bit hard to read.  Am I correct in saying that if your kite weighs less than 5 pounds there are generally no rules that apply as far as how high and where you fly?  I realize it would be very reckless to fly too near an airport, etc. and I do live near two airports one of which is an United States Air Force base.  Stunt kites are generally pretty low but I do have 1000' of line on my reel that I use for single line kites.  I usually fly way out in the country at the school where I teach 30 miles from the airport, etc.  I just don't want to cause problems in any case.  I'm supposed to be having fun and relaxing, not pissing people off.  This is for USA situations in my case.

Thanks,

Dwight

 

DLB

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General guidance is not in line with the runway, 500' from the closest part of the runway and lines not to exceed 100'

I fly on base all the time.. only question ever asked is how long are my lines..

Short version is ask, as you are at the mercy of (not what the reg says but) how the person in authority at that location interprets the regulations..

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Stay out of air traffic lanes. And you know that that changes depending on wind direction. I'm within 12 miles, west of O'hare International Airport in Chicago. Planes come in to the landing pattern from the west at 900 to 1200 feet at the rate of one per minute during peak hours and just a bit less frequently the rest of the time. You don't want your kite anywhere near within 500 feet of an airplane. If you do fly that close to one, the FAA will send someone to visit. You will not like it. I speak from experience. 

That said, all it takes to avoid unpleasant contact with the authorities is a little bit of common sense. Put yourself in the airplane pilots' shoes. What would really piss YOU off, knowing that sucking a kite into an engine could kill you and hundreds of passengers? The kite flying rules are rather vague because kiddy kites flown at less than 100 feet (in most cases) and stunt kites that are normally flown at 200 feet or less are generally not a threat to aviation unless flown very near an airport. Even the monster show kites are seldom flown at more that 200 feet. However, some SLK's can reach altitudes over 1000 feet given enough line and a pilot with enough experience to make it happen. If you feel the need to fly that high a call to the FAA is in order. I've done it. They will not laugh at you or hang up on you. If you ask for advice on a location where you can fly at high altitude they will help. They take it seriously and appreciate responsible action.

The five-pound reference applies primarily to kites that may cause property damage or personal injury, whether while being flown or if it should break loose from its line or tether. Five pounds of kite with a solid frame coming down on a person's head can cause some real pain or even death. You know from your rocketry experience how deep a balsa nose cone can bury itself in the dirt if the rocket is heavy enough and the recovery system doesn't deploy. A framed kite can do even more damage.

Rule of thumb with kites is to keep them under 400 feet and you will have no issues if you're at least 5 miles from any airport.

Have fun, smile and don't forget to breathe.

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On 5/7/2018 at 11:21 AM, freepistol said:

Am I correct in saying that if your kite weighs less than 5 pounds there are generally no rules that apply as far as how high and where you fly?  I realize it would be very reckless to fly too near an airport, etc. and I do live near two airports one of which is an United States Air Force base.

Depends on the airports involved.  I've always seen the 5-pound limit in text, but from the stories I've read about run-ins with officers the weight of the kite is never discussed.

The rules as I understand them:

  • If you fly within 5 miles of an airport, 150 feet maximum altitude.  Or better yet, don't fly near airports.
  • If > 5 miles from an airport, 500 feet maximum altitude.
  • Never so near clouds or aircraft that a low-flying pilot couldn't react, at least 500 feet.

 

In general it is the "don't be stupid" rule.  Do you really want to be in the news for interfering with commercial flights because FAA folks couldn't figure out your intentions? Do you really want to make the news because an emergency helicopter came out of a cloud bank and crashed on your kite?

If there is a chance a pilot might be distracted by your kite then don't fly there.  I've skipped flying at parks that had great kite potential because they were too near a major highway for my comfort, and I wouldn't feel comfortable being responsible for a distracted driver's crash.

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6 hours ago, frob said:

If there is a chance a pilot might be distracted by your kite then don't fly there.  I've skipped flying at parks that had great kite potential because they were too near a major highway for my comfort, and I wouldn't feel comfortable being responsible for a distracted driver's crash.

Yup, the highway thing too. Might even be worse. More "pilots" flying down the road than in the air.

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@makatakam I can relate, one of my favorite spots is right across the street from an international airport. With a good pair of binoculars I can see the facial expressions of the air traffic controllers. However i'm usually more concerned with the drivers on the road. Any road for that matter.

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