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SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Sun, Jun 06 2010, 09:43 PM
by Jynx
I've been flying Revs for two years, and thought I had flown in most every semi-normal weather condition, until today.

I along with Isaac, another Rev flyer, were flying at Veterans Park in Milwaukee WI, located at our lakefront. The winds were crazy shifty, coming out of the S/W, then an hour later shifting 180 degrees, coming out of the NE, ranging from approx. 5 mph, with quick gusts of over 20 mph. The skies were also changing from sunny to overcast (and back), temperatures from low 70s, to low 60s, all within a 2 hour span, the conditions switching minute by minute. We even commented on how strange the comditions were.

We changed from full-vent, to mid-vent, to standard 1.5, back and forth, and were flying on 120' lines.

The skies began to darken in the west and it appeared that a storm was approaching in the distance. Having time before it got close, we continued to fly. I was flying my standard "B" series Rev.

All of a sudden my handles began to spark. Small sparks but never-the-less, sparks. I received a number of what felt like strong static shocks in both thumbs, along with sparking, and the snapping sound of an electrical charge popping on the metal handle tubing between the tips and the grips of the handles. I couldn't believe what was happening and lowered my kite to the ground, which stopped the static charges.

Being a blonde, I thought I'd again attempt to fly as there was no rain, no lightning, just overcast skies, and I found it hard to believe that I had actually received static shocks. I again flew my kite, again got zapped several times, and decided to call it a day. (The other flyer was not flying while I experienced this). I told him what had happened and he was understandably surprised, if not short of believing me. We then wrapped up and headed to the kite shop on the grounds just as the rain began to fall.

While at the kite shop, I watched one of the kite shop staff go to lower their windsock, which is atop an aluminum flag pole. He really got zapped, jumping back from the pole, and stood there for a minute just staring at it. He apparently grounded-out the pole, touched it again to test it, then lowered the windsock. I asked him, and the other 3 personnel, if they had ever experienced that before, none had and they were as freaked-out about it as I was. (Thank goodness Isaac witnessed the incident with the flag pole too). It's still hard to believe it actually happened!

Has anyone else experienced this? :bash:

Re: SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Sun, Jun 06 2010, 11:54 PM
by RevJB

Glad you are ok. Did you have plastic caps on our handles or bare metal?

I was flying with Chris and Rich (Rev Riders) in Naperville and had some squirrelly winds and weather without the shocks. We stopped flying for about 15 minutes while the storm passed over us and then flew some more. You could see in the distance various bands of rain/clear sky in almost vertical stripes.

I found forum posts from kitesurfers in Australia with a similar experience. Sounds like strong static charges can build near storm front. Link below.

Re: SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Mon, Jun 07 2010, 04:13 AM
by Sailor99
I have had similar things happen from masts during really humid, stormy conditions if the mast has not been properly earthed, or sometimes on a steel radar mast. It sure makes you go and check the earthing strap pretty quickly. Never had it with a kite though - they do say this is the sort of feeling you get before a really serious strike. Hair standing on end, tinglin at the tips of your body, etc. If it happens again I would not try and land the kite, but just let go of the handles. The kite will come down and there is always the possibility that something of more substance is on its way.

On boats there is of course the ultimate example of this sort of static charging - must be what you looked like at the time! ... _fire2.jpg

Scary occurance I would have thought.

Re: SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Mon, Jun 07 2010, 08:58 AM
by Mike
I've never seen sparks, but I've heard a buzzing static-y sound from my handles when a big storm was approaching. I've also seen Rose's hair begin to stand on end. I've had that happen a couple times and I always drop my handles. Lightning can shoot out in front of a storm, so even if it's not raining yet, you can still get hit.

If you're out in the open, safety experts say you should crouch down, knees bent, hands on knees, feet together. Don't lie down. Make sure you're feet are together. I remember reading in the paper how someone was electrocuted as the current passed from one foot, through the body and out the other foot. Electricity takes the path with the least resistance and your body, with all that water, is easier to pass through than the ground.

Glad you're OK.

Re: SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Mon, Jun 07 2010, 11:26 AM
by Jynx
I was using standard handles with rubber tips. The charge and sparks were occurring in the small area of the tubing between the tip and the grips into my mid thumb area. There were definitely crackling sparks.

Thanks for all the info... next time I won't question myself. It was all too weird to believe!

But I sure love the New Curl in my hair!!!!! :rotfl

Re: SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Mon, Jun 07 2010, 06:50 PM
by catspaw00
Hi Jynx,

Sounds like fun. *grin*

Jynx wrote:But I sure love the New Curl in my hair!!!!! :rotfl

I can direct you to all the best anti-frizz products... ;) I've tried them all. *grin*


Re: SHOCKING Experience!

Posted: Mon, Jun 07 2010, 11:49 PM
by Jeff
When your hair does this...


it's time to put down the handles.