(CNS): The police helicopter could have been brought down as a result of its recent entanglement with a kite, as it is now known the line tangled in the rotor blades, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Island, which described the kite encounter as a “serious incident” and issued a warning to the public about kite flying. Revealing more details about the 17 March incident, the CAACI said the crew noticed a kite flying near the West Bay the cricket pitch, but as the chopper was manoeuvred so they could estimate the height, it became entangled with a second unseen kite.
It is estimated the kites were being flown over 300 feet above ground level and in the collision a crew member was hit by the flailing line and there was damage to the chopper. Although the helicopter was able to land safely at Owen Roberts International Airport, an inspection found that a length of line had become wrapped around the rotor head of the helicopter, which could have potentially restricted the control of the blades and caused a fatal accident.
“The ill-considered use of kites poses a very real danger to the safe operation of helicopters,” the CAA said. “In 2007, a military helicopter was brought down in the Philippines after a collision with a kite led to cable becoming entangled in the rotor head restricting the control of the aircraft. The subsequent crash resulted in the death of the crew of two and seven people on the ground. In 2004, a US National Transportation Safety Board report identified a kite as a causal factor in the fatal accident of a Robinson R-22 helicopter which killed the crew of two.”
The local law covering kites limits the height at which a kite can be flown to a maximum of 100 feet within a 3-nautical mile radius of an airport. Beyond this distance, a kite cannot be flown above 200 ft. The CAACI also strongly recommends that kites are not flown anywhere in Cayman after sunset and they should not be set up to fly permanently or left to fly unattended. To protect the safety of aircraft, the operators of kites being flown beyond the specified parameters are liable to be prosecuted and may have their equipment confiscated.
For more information on the safe operation of kites or other hobby crafts and the implication for safety of aviation concerns, email the Civil Aviation Authority at email@example.com or visit their website.