Simple Kite Flying Rules - Oops!

by Thom Moore
(Portales, NM, USA)

Have you ever done something, only to find out that it would have been much better if you had followed the rules? Well such was this day. I was out at one of my favorite kite flying places enjoying such great winds. I had my favorite 6' Delta up high in the blue sky, sporting my favorite whirling tail. It was a beautiful sight. In fact, the whole line was out (about 500').

The only problem is that I had a set of high lines on my right and a set of high lines on my left that ran along the railroad tracks. Also a fairly busy street ran along the high lines to my right. I know, I know, you're already far ahead of me in this kite flying story, but be patient, it only gets better.

Well here I am enjoying myself to the fullest, but one thing has to be interjected here. We live in New Mexico, not the best place for great steady winds, but most often-times they are rather gusty. As I had my kite way up there reveling in the blue, all of a sudden, the wind just ceased.

Well, then it occurred to me just how much line was out there and I frantically began to reel the Delta in. Down, down it began to fade, all the while my face becoming whiter and my pulse becoming quicker. "Roll baby roll", I thought and as it continued downward, suddenly my heart stopped as I realized that it was going to come down right over one of those huge high lines. Still rolling furiously, it did just lay itself over one of the high lines, but suddenly there was a great puff of wind which sparked a moment of life in the ol' Delta once again. She began to loft again and I remember thinking to myself, "Whew, dodged that bullet". Well that thought hardly had crossed the ticker tape of my mind when the wind died once again.

All of a sudden, it was high gear time and the line was being rolled in once again, but this time I wasn't so fortunate. The kite came crashing down right on top of a little ol' lady driving a pickup. Well to say the least, my pacemaker battery simply quit! I couldn't get to the street quick enough.

My kite simply was not on my mind as I approached the curb to see the little lady emerging from her pickup wondering what in the world she had just run over. Her countenance was visibly shaken and without mention, my confidence in kite flying had all but gone out the window.

Fortunately, her truck was not even scratched or damaged in any way, and honestly my kite only suffered minor damage. But this one thing I learned that day. The simple instructions that are in each package of the kites that I buy, have a few simple "rules" that should be observed by each person that call themselves a kite flier.

Never no never fly your kites by a busy street or close to any high lines. Fortunately for me also, this little lady was very forgiving and we parted on good terms. Please oh please, learn from my mistake and never, never, never think that you are the exception to the rules and that something bad could never happen to you.

Murphy's Law is known to strike when you are least expecting it. So until we meet again at the end of the line, enjoy your kite flying .................. safely!

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Good show
by: Gary Crenshaw

Great story Thom, where are all the spectators when you need them?

Good Reminder
by: Tim Parish

About the only thing worse than the wind dying suddenly is if something breaks and the kite goes into uncontrollable circles, losing height all the while. Much the same situation though, since you better not have the line directly over power lines or roads!

I must admit to pushing the limits just a little from time to time. But until you have a close call or 2, the rules don't really sink in.

I think light-wind kites are more forgiving in the 'wind stops' situation, since you can climb them just by pulling in quick enough!

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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7