Storm Eats Kite

The sudden appearance of rain drops ... out of a clear blue sky..... was my first hint of trouble....

The day started with gentle winds blowing 10-15 mph our or the South with a forecast of 0% chance of rain ....

My family was gathered around our home for dinner. We were enjoying the hot sunny day.

One of my favorite kites, a Blue Kite Team (BKT) Rokkaku, eight foot, was enjoying a wonderful time in the skies above the Wind Watcher proving grounds.

This kite has seen hundreds of hours of flight time and has traveled around the world helping to take an abundance of fine Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) shots.

The kite has survived broken bones (kite frame). The kite has faded and has been patched multiple times. The fabric is getting weaker the the rate of patching has increased in recent months....but the kite is still an excellent flier.

The large rain drops was quickly followed by a mini pop up storm cloud.

The wind turned 90 degrees out of the West.

The wind speed increased to 25 to 30 mph.....

The big rain drops turn into an intense downpour.....

All of these changes took place over about 90 seconds....

Thankfully no evidence of lighting or thunder....

No time to respond.....I knew the risk of losing the kite just increased exponentially ...

I watched helplessly as the high wind speed and downpour pulled the kite lower and lower and lower.

The kite frame was severely deformed....into the dreaded tight hour glass shape......the kite sank lower and lower.

The kite line (150 lbs Dyneema) dropped below the tall trees.

A second 90 degree shift in the wind direction, now blowing out of the North.....twisting the kite line once again around tall trees....back South (150 feet up in the air).....

Then the final straw.....the wind speed dropped to zero....I lost sight of my favorite the tall trees the surround my neighborhood.

A mere 10 minutes later and the mini storm cloud, wind and rain was completely gone and the bright sun and blue skies returned.

I sulked around for a few hours with my family quietly enjoying a dinner....but in the back of my mind....I was thinking .... find and rescue the kite...

Just before sunset I headed out into the flying field behind my home tracing the kite line for about 300 feet till I reached the point where the kite line climbed up over 100 feet into the first line of trees. The trees behind the first line of trees are over 150 feet high... The kite was no where to be seen. pulling and yanking on the kite line yielded no clues for the location of the kite.

I cut and tied off the kite line near the base of the first tree line. I proceeded to recover the cut kite line on my stratospool.

A car search yielded no evidence of the kite.

The following morning I did a second recon of the tall trees from a distance in my car hoping for a better viewing angle of the tree tops. I had a good indication of where to look given the amount of kite line still up in the trees. A few short minutes later I spotted the faded BKT Rokkaku near the top of the tallest trees....just about where I plotted the fall point for the kite.

The kite is still in the tree.

I have a call into my favorite arborist who has helped me recover two prior kites over the past few years.

I have also called my neighbor and they have confirmed the kite is indeed stuck high in their tree....

Below are few shots of my favorite Rokkaku....starting when it was brand new (April 2012) the current state of a respected battle proven and faded Rokkaku kite.

Stay tuned for the hopefully successful recovery story.


BKT 8 Foot Rokkaku

Kites That Lift Cameras

Pictures from a kite above Sunshine Canyon, CO and Gold Hill Colorado

OOPS - In Flight KAP Failure

Kite Above Petra - Jordan


Repair shop. 8 foot BKT Rokkaku. After successful tree rescue.

Repair shop. 8 foot BKT Rokkaku. After successful tree rescue.


  • SueSue
    edited July 2017
    You seem to specialise in getting kites stuck in trees!!
    I trust it can be brought down and given yet another lease of life!!

    Fly High

  • Success! My on call arborist was successful in recovering my BKT Rokkaku kite from the top of a 120 foot white oak tree.

    Glad to get this favorite kite back....but the toll is building on this aging kite. Five new rips and tears in the well worn kite fabric.

    See few photos showing kite damage and video of the action below.

    I am exploring a few repair options....including kite retirement...


    Kite Recovery from Tree

    Kite Recovery from Tree

    Rokkaku Kite - Tree Damage

    Rokkaku Kite - Tree Damage

    Rokkaku Kite - Tree Damage
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