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High-voltage static jumping off a kite line

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Published on Jul 28, 2010

In all my years flying kites, I have only encountered this 3 times. Phillip Chase was sitting on this bench flying a different kite and thought he heard the line singing on this one which was tied off. As he moved closer to check it out, it shocked him. I grabbed my camera to capture this real-life physics experiment. A few factors to note:

The bench was made of a plastic composite material, as was the line and the kite itself. The static would jump into mid air and make the same sound as jumping to our fingers if it was allowed to build up enough. The two other identical kites flying in the same conditions were not doing the same thing. They were flying on different line material, and tied off to different things, a person and a wooden fence. There was visible lightning and electrical activity in a storm that was about 1-3 miles to the West of us.

The other two times I have experienced this were both while riding in my kite buggy, and I started to get a shock through my leg to the metal frame of the buggy.

Listen through headphones or on good speakers for the full effect of this video.

Kites by Jordan Air Kites, Video by Tim Elverston and Phillip Chase. Shot at Anastasia State Park in FL on June 27th 2010 at 4pm.

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