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SHOCKING Experience!

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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 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 conditions 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 the other flyer witnessed the flag pole incident too). It's still hard to believe it actually happened!

Has anyone else experienced this? confused_1.gif

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Has anyone else experienced this? confused_1.gif

I beleive it was probably just your shockingly electric personality shining through.

kid_smartass.gif

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Jynx, I am glad you are ok. Not sure what you got zapped with but electricity is nothing to mess with. The kind from nature really freaks me out...

-Alden

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Hi Guys! ....My two favorite buddies! Well atleast one!

Anyway... It truly was shocking and I'm not looking forward to repeating it again... EVER!

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Eeeeeeeek! Jynx! I'm so glad you're alright! :o

That could have ended badly if you hadn't stopped! Few people know that when the conditions are right, you can be the conductor of an electric tendril that reacts with the clouds and... BAM! Lightning! Again...WHEW!

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Jynx,

Funny you should say that. Back in the late 90's, flying as Sky Dance, my teammates and I were flying revs in the UK and had the same experience. We all felt slight static charges and crakles through the handles and decided that landing was probably a good choice. It is certainly an interesting experience though, I would agree!

Mark

Too Much Fun

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Hi Jynx-

First and foremost, I'm glad you're OK!!!

Evidently, you were getting a charge out of flying!!! ...or flying revs just makes you tingle all over!!! ...or... are you sure it was sparks, or do you just see fireworks when you fly? kid_smartass.gifw00t.gif (OK, enough of that)

6.gif

Seriously, lightening is some scary stuff. I've heard of people being on the other side of a mountain, with clear blue skies overhead, getting struck and killed by lightening. When I see it strike, I'll stop flying right away. It's just not worth the risk.

How's everything, otherwise?

Be safe...

xoxo

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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 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 conditions 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 the other flyer witnessed the flag pole incident too). It's still hard to believe it actually happened!

Has anyone else experienced this? confused_1.gif

This should clear things up for ya!

http://en.wikipedia....._Elmo%27s_fire

Luckily ya didn't get worse. Glad you're here to chat about it!!

Be safe!

Edited by PNW Flyer

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I experience the same flying a REV at the West Park in Munich about 15 years ago. I landed, packed up and got my butt out of there real quick.

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I experience the same flying a REV at the West Park in Munich about 15 years ago. I landed, packed up and got my butt out of there real quick.

Smart move. Tingling is a classic sign of a local buildup of static electricity in the area you are standing in. So pack up, and get out of that area! It hasn't happened to me yet, but its a classic worry for us rock climbers. But in our case, all we can do is spread out, hunker down, and hope for the best.

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Laura ~ No lightning, no lightning sounds at all, not even in the distance. No over head clouds. Just dark clouds off in the west. This was definitely an AC not a DC phenomenon. (Recieved from another forum: "Tingles" come from AC. Lightening is DC").

PNW Flyer ~ Thanks for the "St. Elmo's fire" site... http://en.wikipedia....._Elmo%27s_fire Sure sounds as if that hits the mark! VERY Interesting! I really appreciate an answer to all this!

Hopefully I'll never experience the same again... but if I do I certainly won't question myself, and pack-up immediately! ani_giveup.gif

But I sure like the new curl in my hair! crazy.gif

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I've never experienced this with a Rev, but have had shocks from my surf kites, flying in conditions just like you have mentioned. A static charge will come down from the kite flying back and forth and shock you through the carbon bar. There have been quite a few times that several of us have felt shocks when flying.

Glad you are ok, not sure if you could actually be hit with lightning or not but I usually just pack up as I don't want to find out.

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Hi Jynx! I once read of this phenonema on a forum board two or three years ago, can't find it now. PNW Flyer does have the answer they mentioned back then, great balls o' lightening! Would've made for some outstanding night flying!!! kitepilot

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Laura ~ No lightning, no lightning sounds at all, not even in the distance. No over head clouds. Just dark clouds off in the west. This was definitely an AC not a DC phenomenon. (Recieved from another forum: "Tingles" come from AC. Lightening is DC").

PNW Flyer ~ Thanks for the "St. Elmo's fire" site... http://en.wikipedia....._Elmo%27s_fire Sure sounds as if that hits the mark! VERY Interesting! I really appreciate an answer to all this!

Hopefully I'll never experience the same again... but if I do I certainly won't question myself, and pack-up immediately! ani_giveup.gif

But I sure like the new curl in my hair! crazy.gif

Well heck, share some pics of the new dew eh? Curls are cool!! Didn't cha know? :)

Edited by PNW Flyer

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Hi Jynx.. so glad you are all ok.. .

I have been warned about this very same thing by the members of the North West Sport Kite League when competing. They always watch for any *tingling feeling * in your hands while flying as a warning of lightning charged conditions. I have been at several comps where we have called things off when someone felt this warning sign while flying. Definetely the time to pack it up and go have a beer.. or five.. Truly glad you got the heck out of dodge.. Any *tingling * sensations at all and I have come to immediately landing being done since I was informed about this a few years ago. You may have missed the slight tingling while having fun and moved onto the more serious signs of this.

Thanks for sharing this strange experience with everyone. It's not something you really think about telling others until it happens to someone and it's important that fliers be aware of it before it ever happens. Would you mind if we shared your story with other fliers??? Just let me know.

hugs ,

Amy

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Thanks for sharing this strange experience with everyone. It's not something you really think about telling others until it happens to someone and it's important that fliers be aware of it before it ever happens. Would you mind if we shared your story with other fliers??? Just let me know.

hugs ,

Amy

Please Do!

Wish I would have heard/read about this before experiencing it. blink.gif I would have taken action a little sooner!

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::snip::

Has anyone else experienced this? confused_1.gif

I have had that happen. That weather pattern you described is what we have almost every day, so when it happened to me the first time I blamed it on our homemade handles, which are made from aluminum tubing with copper elbow joints.

There is static electricity everywhere at all times...sometimes MORE, sometimes less. When there is a thunderstorm building, you can rest assured that there is more static in the air...lol. Also, the more YOU move around the more static is built up. I have also found that when there is a lot of dust in the air, it happens more often. We have a LOT of forest fires up here, (a million acres burned acres burned in a year is not uncommon) and I've found that when we have a smoky day here in the city, the issue occurs more often as well. I assume that is because there is more stuff flying around to make the static. I haven't read the replies to this yet, but also ... your LINES build up a lot of static as well... They are probably the main reason, but don't hold me to that because I'm not a physicist...lol

I also have found that when I am doing my version of "kite dancing" (I dance with the kite) it happens more as well. So maybe you were moving around more than normal while flying that day? You mentioned swapping out kites a few times, so maybe that was the key...but I guess that doesn't explain the issue at the store... Everything is a factor...weather, movement, your clohing and shoes, etc. You just happened across one of those days.

As of yet I haven't been HURT by the static, but it has made me a bit nervous about using my aluminum handles...lol I just chalk it up tto having gotten a good workout and pat myself on the back for losing the hundred pounds I have since I started flying revs 18 months ago. ;)

--TaK

Edited by SynTaks

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Jynx,

When conditions are very unsettled - shifting, gusty winds and strange areas of dark clouds moving about - it is best to assume that electric charges are building up in the atmosphere. When they reach a high enough voltage differential, lightning will happen. When the voltage differentials are not quite strong enough to spontaneously spark a lightening strike, placing a conductive path (like a wire or a lightning rod) in the space can increase the local differential to the point that a lightning strike happens. Apparently, spectra lines (maybe with some moisture on them?) can act like a conductive path.

It has been reported that lightning can strike to ground miles from the actual thunderhead cloud. The fact that the cloud is miles away, and you have not seen lightning yet, does not mean that you are not in the path of the first lightning strike from the thunderhead.

Quickly shifting and/or gusty winds often indicate the presence of an unstable cell - a thunderhead.

Typically, the electric charge will "explore" paths between the + and - charges with preliminary minor discharges. If these discharges are enough to break down the air (you will see St. Elmos fire maybe, more likely sparks, or branches of violet or blue discharge called corona discharge) the electric field may use that path to perform a humongous discharge - a lightning strike.

In other words - any sign of tingling, any sparks or branching discharges - for heaven's sake speed your kite to the ground and get out of that area!!!!

I don't know who or why someone said tingling indicated AC currents and lightning is DC. They are not correct. Lightning is caused by a DC static charge. When lightning occurs, there are often several reversals of direction because the magnetic field causes the charge flow to overcompensate and reverse a few times (similar to AC) - think of a gong ringing after it is struck. But prior to the actual lightning, the tingling is almost assuredly a partial DC discharge of the differential electric field before the actual lightning strike. If it were a lightning strike - I hate to think of the consequences.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It should remind us all to remain safer under these weather conditions.

(P.S. I have a B.S. Electrical Engineering, but am NOT an EXPERT on lightning phenomena. I have played with corona discharge phenomena and sparks in the 15 to 30 kV range. which are 1 to 2 inch sparks. From what I have learned of lightning, it obeys similar rules over the range of 1 to 2 miles or more - kind of.)

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Wow Hedge! That was incredibly informative and interesting! Thank You for explaining that!

DITTO!

The more answers, the more understanding, the better prepared!

Thank YOU! kid_loved.gif

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There is one more point that may be helpful. Lightning is seeking a path of least resistance over a distances in the range of thousands of feet to several miles. 15 inch metal or carbon fiber handles are not going to be a major player in that path. Trees can be (don't stand under the apple tree when the sky is sparking - please), and kite lines most definitely can be.

However, if the field is strong enough, the sparks or corona discharges may emanate from the handles. That, or any tingling sensation, is telling you that a potential lightning strike is testing a path that includes the handles and you!!! Getting your kite to the ground ASAP is the best way to make that path less attractive. But even that is not a guarantee of safety.

Bottom line - don't fly if there is any lightning or thunder anywhere in your region. Recognize unstable cell activity by the sudden gusts and shifts of wind direction, by clouds that billow upward rapidly, or by hail showers.

(Checking Wikipedia, I see that St. Elmo's fire is defined essentially the same as what I called corona discharge. I was confusing it with the stranger and rarer phenomena called ball lightning. Not important to the thread - but if you see ball lightning, please report it.)

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Howard ~ THANKS AGAIN!

Most interesting and I really enjoyed the video of the plane flight over Iraq: (as scary as it was!)

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