View Full Version : Kites & Large Metal Kites...
12th Feb 2012, 13:52
I've noticed in recent years that the NOTAMS show an increase in the number of sites used for kites and large metal kites. Some of these kites claim to be flying well above 1000' AGL. I'm ashamed to say that I've never seen any of these kites. So my questions are, what's going on, and what is a large metal kite (potentially a daft question/I'm ready for the abuse)?
I've written to the AIS Supervisor with the same questions. I'm just intrigued as to what I should be telling my chaps to watch out for.
Genghis the Engineer
12th Feb 2012, 14:13
Never been really into kites myself, but this gives a few clues...
Welcome | Bristol International Kite Festival (http://www.kite-festival.org.uk/)
As does this
4-Line Traction Kites - Power Kites - Kites - The Kite Shop (http://www.kiteshop.co.uk/xcart/kites/power-kites/4-line-traction-kites/)
Looks a lot of fun for a too-windy or crap-viz day.
Now model rocketry on the other hand, I used to have a heck of a lot of fun with...
UKRA - United Kingdom Rocketry Association (http://www.ukra.org.uk/)
12th Feb 2012, 20:42
I always assumed such NOTAMS were just NIMBY who had found a way around the system. They always seem to pop up close to popular turning points, and are often valid at times when kite flying would clearly not take place.
Genghis the Engineer
12th Feb 2012, 21:43
Okay, let's have a look, here are what we have for today's London FIR kite warnings:
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5244N 00225W (LILLESHALL, NEAR NEWPORT,
SHROPSHIRE). ON-SITE CTC, TEL 07966 361181. 11-11-0216/AS 5.
UPPER: 1800FT AMSL
Googling that phone number is interesting - it does show anything against kite flying, but it does show as belonging to a Gerry Plant, a bit more googling shows his details on this webpage (http://www.deltas.freeserve.co.uk/falcontraining.html) which seems entirely legitimate to me.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5149N 00219W (NEAR LONGNEY).
ON-SITE CTC, TEL 07970 038169. 11-12-0061/AS 5.
UPPER: 1600FT AMSL
Again, a mobile number is given. That seems to belong to a Ben Long who runs falconry training courses (http://thefalconryschool.com/falconry-specialist-courses-bird-control.html). So legitimate again, although I'm fascinated that we have two sets of people using kites to train falcons - what a fun occupation! You can certainly see why they don't want us flying through the middle.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5228N 00133W (NEAR CORLEY).
CTC FOR FLYING TIMES, TEL 07792 728376. 11-12-0079/AS 5.
UPPER: 850FT AMSL
Again, a mobile number. Googling that, apart from NOTAM sites, the only place that number comes up is a second hand car advert (for a Ford Ka at £6,500, which seems a bit steep to me, but I don't like them much anyhow). So, without phoning him up, no wiser.
Another one then:
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5359N 00131W (HARROGATE).
ON-SITE CTC, TEL 07768 690458. 11-09-0169/AS 5.
UPPER: 1100FT AMSL
Again, a helpful mobile number. Or it would be if anything came up - although a bit more googling tells me that there are two major kite display teams based up that way, the "Wigley's Wings" and the "North East Kite Flyers", so let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were flying bloody big kites around Harrogate this weekend.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5257N 00001E (BOSTON LANDFILL SITE).
CTC FOR FLYING TIMES, TEL 07961 242988. 11-10-0027/AS 5.
UPPER: 1000FT AMSL
Googling that phone number shows the number belonging to an Ashley Clarke, who is another falconer. Given that, and that I can't honestly see many NIMBYs living next to a landfill site worrying all that much about aeroplanes when there's all that landfill to complain about. This one seems legit to me as well.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5344N 00027W (SW OF KIRK ELLA).
ON-SITE CTC, TEL 07411 187435. 11-10-0074/AS 5.
UPPER: 1200FT AMSL
That mobile number belongs to a second hand car dealer in East Yorkshire. So, maybe he's a kite flyer, maybe (like one or two dealers down my way) he flies a blimp to advertise his wares. I can't see "second hand car dealer" = "nimby" somehow, just doesn't seem to quite fit. So, I'm going to vote legit, and would put 2:1 odds on something flying over his car dealership.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5221N 00006E (NEAR HADDENHAM, CAMBRIDGESHIRE).
ON-SITE CTC, TEL 07710 802009. 11-09-0327/AS 5.
UPPER: 1100FT AMSL
That mobile number gets me nowhere. However, a bit of googling shows that at Gog Magog hill - roughly that location, there's a popular kite flying site. So, again, seems legimate.
KITE FLYING AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS
5434N 00130W (N OF BARMPTON)
5433N 00129W (E OF BARMPTON)
5440N 00133W (S OF FERRYHILL)
CTC FOR FLYING TIMES, TEL 07710 031032. 11-12-0251/AS 5.
UPPER: 1600FT AMSL
This seems to be a company doing Kite Surfing lessons - here's their website (http://www.kitesurfing-lessons.co.uk/kiteboarding-lessons/ferryhill). 1600ft seems a long way up - but they certainly seem to be legitimate.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5147N 00329W (NEAR ABERDARE).
UPPER: 2500FT AMSL
No mobile number to go on. Googling I discover that there is an orphanage called "Flying Kites" at the foot of the Aberdare Mountains.... in Kenya! Interesting, but not much to go on here.
A bit more Googling, and there's a major kite flying site - where they hold an annual festival - at Margam Country Park, which seems to be about at those co-ordinates. So, this one looks legitimate to me as well.
KITE FLYING 1NM RADIUS 5416N 00125W (KIRBY WISKE, NEAR THIRSK).
CTC FOR FLYING TIMES, TEL 01845 587522. 12-00-0093/AS 5.
UPPER: 600FT AMSL
Gosh, our first landline number. It belongs to a falconry centre near Thirsk (http://www.falconrycentre.co.uk/visitorinfo.php). So clearly legit - another place where they're apparently using kites to train falcons. Or just flying falcons - I can't say I want to meet either, and the 600ft seems a sensible number.
I got bored at this point. But, all evidence is that these NOTAMs are pretty much all legitimate. I was I confess surprised that such a high proportion are really falconry sites. Well, whether it's a red kite, or a kite on a string - I'm quite happy to avoid flying into it, and reckon these NOTAMs are all pretty sensible.
Question solved! An interesting half hour that was.
12th Feb 2012, 22:20
You have WAY too much time on your hands! :eek:
13th Feb 2012, 06:20
Thank you Genghis. I should have thought to Google the phone numbers. Falconry...who would have guessed it? There was a theory at work that it was all a cunning NIMBY plan. The kite surfing at 1600' sounds a bit dubious. You would have to be down at about 100' to stand any chance of whacking a kite surfer.
Genghis the Engineer
13th Feb 2012, 06:59
DD - perils of being a compulsive aviation researcher with no kids!
Esperanza - yes, I wonder if there's a bit of a "mine is bigger than yours" about those particular NOTAMs ?
13th Feb 2012, 09:50
Most kite festivals consult the CAA for permission to fly above the allowed 200ft ceiling for the time of the festival, I've been witness to a few aviators who have totally ignored this and crossed festivals at dangerously low levels. I've also seen a few just testing the area, flying at the ceiling to make sure the kite flyers were keeping their side of the bargain.
Single line display teams tend to fly kites bigger than most aircraft, usually with a lifter kite 100ft above to aid stability. One large kite flown at 1500 ft AGL is often used as a beacon to advertise the event.
Most festivals have various competitions, Rokakku fighting tends to take place at 200ft or lower, but the kites can be up to 5m, because they are rigid kites, losing one can be a bit problematic as they will drift a long way, especially if there is a lot of line to give drag.
Indian fighting kites are made of tissue paper and bamboo with a span of under 1m. They tend to be flown up to 1000 ft on cotton line. In organized competitions, the line is coated in a glass paste designed to cut the opponents line.
Altitude sprints usually have a set time, say 30 seconds, where the kite is launched from the ground and the winner is the highest kite at the end of the time limit. 2000 ft is attainable in 60 seconds. These competitions are open to any kite, but specialist altitude sprinters are usually under 2m.
Most display kites and competitions are well within the ANO, unfortunately, a small number of people, both at festivals and privately, set up a kite on some weird and wonderful anchor system designed in the shed, then leave it unattended at a ridiculous altitude. At festivals, shouting a few expletives and carry a knife to cut the line, normally sorts these out. Private individuals are a bit more problematic. One particular person in the midlands, at least five years ago, stated his intentions to fly as high as possible wherever he wanted, he was banned from any festivals and clubs,.
Sport kites, dual line ballet and quad line don't fly on anything more than 45m lines, power kites for buggying and surfing don't go any higher than 60m.
13th Feb 2012, 12:42
Thanks for that. I shall pass it on to the other pilots where I fly.
Genghis the Engineer
14th Feb 2012, 09:42
Training Falcons (http://www.deltas.freeserve.co.uk/falcontraining.html#how)
14th Feb 2012, 19:03
Some falconry delta kites have a helium bladder in the Keel to keep it stable in very light winds, although a good delta should be fine in 2mph.
I was approached by a falconer at a fly-in for the biggest lifting kite I had. No lifters were available, so we came up with a 2m rokakku, this used 12mm carbon spars. Flew on 325lb line and a 1m piece of rebar driven into the ground as an anchor, you didn't hand fly this kite.
The falcon lure was Hung 3m below the line, about 10m below the kite, the optimum place for hanging beer cans for lifting demonstrations.
The falcon flew around for a couple of minutes until the handler whistled. It swooped down to the lure and dragged the kite to the ground quicker than I could run it down with a pulley.
15th Feb 2012, 13:21
Genghis, thank you for another interesting and enlightening post! Rich