> Are you around David Gomberg? I think this one is for you!!!
> > > Excuse my ignorance, but what is the problem with metalicized mylar?
> > Do you remember several years ago during the summer Olympics in LA when
> > the TV transmission was interupted during the opening ceremonies? It
> > seems that during the opening MANY metalicized mylar balloons were
> > released. Some drifted several miles into a power transmission station
> > and knocked the power out in a fairly large area.
> > I also heard a story about someone doing this same thing with a kite
> > release at a funeral service. Sounds pretty funny now.
I saved David's old post on this, here it is:
Re: Kite destruction, still tops for stupid! Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997
> >Thanks you guys for sharing your mishaps. So whats the story
>>on this cold hot tub?
Well, it's a story about Jack VanGuilder really. Jack was a
president of the AKA who lived in the Seattle area. After he
passed away, there were memorial flys all around the northwest.
At the time, I was the organizer of a large event here in Lincoln
City, and we decided to do something appropriate in Jack's
The plan was to fly a white Eddy out of site and cut the line loose.
I got the kite, had a new spool of light nylon line, and even picked
out some fitting music. At the designated time, I shared a few well-
chosen words over the microphone to the crowd of about 10,000,
and then put the music on. But just then, the wind started to come
up, and I had to find a tail for the eddy *fast*. Someone handed
me fif*** feet of mylar, and I lofted the kite into the breeze.
Everyone turned to watch it...
When the wind comes off the ocean in Lincoln City, it usually
generates some turbulence as it passes the dunes and then the
hotels. "Jack's" Eddy was lifting well, but when it reached the sky
over the hotels, it became a bit unstable. "My God", I thought. "I've
got this whole crowd watching, and the damn thing is gonna
Well, the kite didn't crash. Instead, it looped down toward the
power lines that served the hotels. "Even worse", I thought. "It'll
get hung up in the lines and sit there for months as a withering
memorial to Jack." But Jack had other ideas. The kite looped
around, nose up, and then suddenly dropped backwards.
Backwards toward the three transformers on one central power
I've never seen an electrical explosion before.
Not just a few sparks, mind you, but an EXPLOSION - like a really
good fireworks show and a loud BOOM! Ten thousand mouths fell
open. The sound system went dead. The lights went out. Traffic
screeched to a stop. Everyone stood fixated on the kite --
everyone except for Susan who, knowing her husband was on
the other end of the line, was straining to see through the crowd.
Luckily, the line I was flying was brand new, clean, and dry. In
other words, it wasn't very conductive.
The kite was a different matter. It turns out, you see, that the mylar
tail I was handed was actually computer tape made of mylar-
coated copper ribbon. I couldn't have picked something more
conductive. It landed in the middle of those transformers and
evaporated in a flash that made a bright sky in the background
A micro-second passed -- or maybe three of four minutes. I'm not
really sure. Then the showering sparks subsided and we all
realized that the kite was still hovering there. Without the weight of
a tail, it started to lift again. Too shaken to think, I just kept
I remember a fellow standing near me with a video camera.
"Damn!" he said. "Wish I gotten that!". Then, suddenly, there was
another explosion as the last of the tail caught the remaining
transformer. "Damn!" he said. "Missed it again..."
With the second explosion, the lights and sound came back on.
The music resumed and the kite drifted out of sight. The crowd
I like to think that the whole episode was just Jacks way of having
the final say, or getting a bit of attention. When I rewound the
music cassette, I discovered a two minute blank spot in the middle
of the song. I never figured out how that happened.
Anyway, the end of the story is that Susie and I were staying in
one of those hotels that night. After a long and stressful festival,
we skipped dinner and headed for the Jacuzzi. But when we got
in, we discovered that the water was only the slightest bit warm.
The manager noticed our discomfort and offered a quick
explanation. "We just got the heater back on" he said. "Some idiot
with a kite blew out the power on the whole north side of town".
I gave Susie a quick, guilty glance, and muttered "Don't say a
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