Saturday, September 19, 2009

Airplane Nearly Hits Ship Kite

Now that more and more ships are using skysail kites which sometimes fly as high as 300 meters (~1000 feet) to help tow them along to conserve on fuel, a dangerous situation is posed to airplanes by both the kites and the tether. Last Tuesday a pilot was flying at over 300 meter height just below the clouds in its chosen flight path over southern Nordsea, and had started to descend. Then suddenly the pilot saw a skysail of tens of square meters and had to take evasive action. He barely avoided collision, according to Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control.Shocked by the incident, Eurocontrol issued a statement saying: "We call on the aviation authorities in different countries to take action as soon as possible and see if the rules for the use of kites can't be strengthened." Rembo1, who brought this to our attention, asks: "Isn’t airspace below 300 meters and above the sea free to use for all -- uncontrolled airspace? If so, why would the kite be the one to be restricted?" Obviously, something will need to be done so that both can be deployed without endangering each other.

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