Dec 23, 2018

Launching Procedures and Problems

Categories: Tags: , ,

Here’s a post I put up on kiteforum.com about how a good launch procedure can prevent problems from occurring:
Launch failures
We get no shortage of chances to see people stuffing their launches around our spot.

I’d like to point out a very important but often-missed part of a good launch procedure: After moving into position and doing all the other checks– Just after hooking in (this should be as late in the process as feasible), and just before the 360 degree check:

SHEET OUT all the way to check for depowerability.
SHEET IN to check for 1)power adjustment and 2)sufficient & equal tension in the back lines.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve seen two situations where the kite immediately zinged across the window upon launching, putting the kiter in the air. In one of them the kiter was within a half-second or so of smashing her face on a solid structure (tight launch spot, long lines). In the other, the kiter (former cop) just got angry and yelled at the people around him and blamed the staff, even though he was the one that put the people downwind of him in danger. Both happened because of a problem with the back lines that went unnoticed until after the kite left the helper’s hands.

Even for experienced kiters, one of those back lines sometimes get wrapped around the tip or there is some other problem with the lines/bridle, and the helper might not notice it. This “back line tension check” is meant to catch those issues before the launch- you’ll notice it when you sheet in.

As we say when this kind of thing happens… the cause was NOT that the back line was wrapped around the tip. The cause was that the kiter did not do their pre-launch checks properly 🙂 I see kiters all the time casually getting into place and giving the thumbs up without doing all the careful checks first. Usually, right after the incident they say something like, “This NEVER happens”!