First accident with impact on third parties

Thanks for the Helios report link.
Well worth reading

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Yep, impressive images

The Makani story is satire btw, If there are others who could not make complete sense of it…

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There is more room in Norway than in Netherlands.

Being forced to test remotely due to safety concerns indicates an inherently hazardous AWES architecture.

Text of initial Mishap Report messages to TUDelft, Kite Power, Makani, Ampyx, etc.

Hi All,

Best practice AWES Mishap Analysis and Reporting is presumed to be an open documentation process by many domain experts, by aviation safety culture tradition. The entire AWE community are stakeholders. KiteLab Ilwaco and kPower Austin’s circles share JoeF’s KiteLab, Los Angeles documentation request.

As Roland is familiar, Open AWE circles have long publicly identified single-line AWES with com-link and control-pod dependencies as a high risk architecture above about 10kW class. Part of the mishap analysis is how Kite Power, Amypx, Makani, and so on, down selected to the high-risk architecture in terms of research due-diligence. Mass and velocity metrics also figure. The Kite Power mishap was at the lower end of such risk, bit could still have killed someone, as the breech of the commercial roof shows.

Please refer to TACO1.0 as Open AWE’s early effort to put aviation safety first. It was developed with help from veteran FAA, commercial aviation, and general aviation help. Dr. Mark Moore, former NASA LaRC and now Director of Engineering for Uber’s Flying Taxi program, stated TACO1.0 was a document “to bring us together”. TACO2.0 is due, and the Kite Power Mishap should be a model case study. Please review TACO if you are not familiar with it-

Tethered Aviation ConOps (TACO) v0.8

Looking forward to a productive process. There is a feeling that TUDelft sort of lost its way when Wubbo died, and went to far toward a venture-capital model of R&D that put Kite Power PR ahead of safety-culture. As the infant industry moves forward, there is a need for broader global collaboration that TUDelft has not fostered, especially by monopolizing conferences and EU public funding. Future rounds of R&D funding will be far greater, and Mishap reporting and statistics are critical factors. Makani is known to have suppressed mishap information and Ampyx is regarded as an accident waiting to happen. These are far faster more massive platforms with single line and com link dependencies, and too many other critical failure points to list here.

This the general context, with lots of complexity to work out. NASA’s Helios Mishap Report is a model standard. Kite Power’s Mishap is far less complex but historically momentous. Looking forward to an interesting process that better informs us all, and advances AWE safety culture to aviation norms. Its hoped Kite Power will emerge from this event a better and stronger player.


dave santos

kPower CTO

TACO lead-author

On ‎Friday‎, ‎July‎ ‎12‎, ‎2019‎ ‎12‎:‎46‎:‎08‎ ‎PM‎ ‎CDT, Joe Faust wrote:


Please include KiteLab, Los Angeles, for reception of safety notice details concerning the May 30, 2019, incident.

Thank you,

Joe Faust

KiteLab, Los Angeles

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Nothing yet received.

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As mentioned in some comments knowing the reasons of the crash would be interesting.

After that several layers of solutions could be studied, from the initial to modified architectures step by step. As an example if the single line is kept the tether could be divided in several ropes surrounded by a sheath so that a primed tear stops at the rope concerned. If it is not enough studying an architecture with several lines anchored to several points.

A positive aspect of this crash was the low consequence, probably thanks to the use of a soft wing by @Kitepower. Some simulations could be made in order to deduce the expected consequences of such a crash with different types of wings. It is easy to expect higher consequences for a rigid wing, and still lower consequences by using a single skin soft wing which is still lighter and more easily put in pieces before the impact.

Finally passive and active control devices could prevent the crash while the rope is broken.

After a billion dollars spent and well over a decade of development, one cloth kite crashed and hit something? We had a paraglider robbed at gunpoint after landing in a park the other day. Now there’s something to get your panties in a bunch over.
I think some people interested in AWE place too much (unlimited) emphasis on over-sensationalizing the mundane, gossip over predictable trivia, and trying to tell everyone what to do, without a single cottage or even a hamster-cage powered by an AWE system to this day, maybe people ought to put more emphasis on trying simple, promising configurations. An occasional crash? Of course. Try flying where there is nothing to hit when you crash. Duh.

There is now a fine marketed AWES with Kiwee. For utility-scale AWES, I believe simulations are needed as for Appolo.

KiteWinder is a fine demo, but the fact that it exists is not the same as having a facility powered by an AWE system.

How could this be an actual post after 12 years of “cutting edge” AWE “research”? (suddenly, without warning???) “Forced” to test “remotely”? Are people flying stuff that they have no idea is hazardous until some third party complains about “safety concerns”? Any wind energy system should have what is called a “fall zone”, and you’re supposed to keep your “fall zone” within your own boundaries. That’s the way it has been done for as long as I remember. For R & D (less predictable) it would seem to be a no-brainer to make sure your flying crapola can’t hit anyone else’s crapola.


Has there been any further explanation on the failure @ufechner?
Again, having seen an incident where 7 of 8 AWES lines failed, I thoroughly recommend using network architectures and avoiding running lines for safer AWES.
In my incident the upwind lines cut each other. It is very easy to cut or melt UHMWPE line.

After carrying out an extensive investigation and sharing its results with the Dutch National Aviation Authority, the local authorities and the European AWE consortium’s (AWEurope) safety group, we are now able to publish a detailed report of the incident that took place during a Kitepower flight test on May 30th 2019 at the former Naval Air Base of Valkenburg, Katwijk (ZH), and hope to give the right means to the AWE community to reflect and learn from it.

The report is made available at


Properly handled @Kitepower
Thanks for sharing your analysis, lessons and safety processes.
You’re doing a real service to the community there!
Can’t wait to have a read of Salma V, Friedl F, Schmehl R. Improving Reliability and Safety of Airborne Wind Energy Systems. Wind Energy (accepted for publication), 2019.

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Thank you for the report. Though not officially speaking on behalf of Kitemill here, I can say that the report is read by us and will help us improve our safety also.

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I’d recommend early testing of such large apparatus in a remote location where there is nothing to hit. You’ll never prevent every mechanical surprise. Better to be located where such failures will not hurt anything. When developing new wind energy systems, it’s best to assume they WILL break, until you get everything worked out. I’d like to hear any details of how far the kite traveled, what was hit, and whether there was any damage or interesting drama. Other than that, how long do people expect to fly kites before one breaks the string or or lets go of it? That could happen in the first 5 seconds!

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The details are on

The kite traveled roughly the same distance as its initial altitude (a bit more than 400 m).

This is an interesting report describing the different concerns. After realizing the prescriptions, a single tether can remain insufficient unless several lanyards are tight in a sheath.

Thanks Pierre.
I guess I did not read it carefully the first time.

This is also a people problem. How will you be able to build a good team if you are situated in a place where noone lives? There are not many places left where mankind did not start living, and where the nature that is still there is not strictly protected from human interruption.

If you set up a safe perimeter for a 1 km tether rig, in high winds it could easily drift 4-5 km downwind if it is a soft kite. A rigid kite could fly much longer as an airplane. These places are not easy to come by. The places used so far do not provide such large safe areas (eg Hawaii or Lista). Makani’s move offshore does provide such an area though, if you can control vessel traffic.

So given these complexities, one must decide if a testing setup is ‘safe enough’. Setting this restriction too tough will end all development of AWE. Getting it 100% safe is likely to make AWE completely infeasible due to development costs.

It seems the industry right now is stuck with the safety any actor finds sufficient (kind of like tragedy of the commons). People will be testing AWE rigs in somewhat unsafe environments. How can and should we react? I don’t know…