Since it is national news, and I saw what went on, I may as well add a bit to explain. I was aware of the police helicopter before I got to the Downs. Parked up and joined Alan Pinnock; too windy for me. Alan pointed out a kite well up and alongside the Avon Gorge .. clearly too high, especially with the helicopter around. Then the helicopter came over us so Alan dropped his stuff...and it landed a hundred yards away.Police helicopter. Of course we went over to see and, we were right, it was the kite. Two airborne coppers legged it in the direction of the kite while we admired the helicopter ( not surprisingly since I used to design these airbeaters). Anyway the pilot said they had clocked the kite at 600 ft and not only was that illegal (over 60 metres), the gorge is often used as a light aircraft route (minimum height 500 ft). At the same time the pilot said there was no danger...although there could have been. He was ok about it, other than the kiteflier needed a warning. I explained that generally the Downs are self regulated...we talk to others, mostly people unaware of the regs, and would not recommend flying next to the gorge where the wind is bad anyway. A bit later I spoke to another policeman who told me that the kite was at 1000 ft and that the cable could bring down the helicopter...I questioned the height...he backed down, and the cable (wire or kevlar?) but he did not know. So I then hiked off to see the kiteflier. Nice, friendly man out in the sunshine with his family. He had made a kite for his children like the ones they used to fly in Jamaica....I took some photos...and he had no idea that he was doing wrong. I checked the cable...which turned out to be a cheap poor quality nylon line, probably about 30 lb breaking strain. Yes, too high, but very unlikely to be a threat. I suggested next time they should fly with us as we are well clear of the gorge, as well as being very safety aware. He might..I hope so..but he was clearly shaken by his inadvertent run in with the law. Great pity since we are always delighted and intrigued when people bring kites from far away places....recently from Chile, Sri Lanca, China. So..if you are flying kites on the Downs then please come over and chat with the locals. We know where the best winds can be found, know the do's and dont 's, know where to get kite stuff...bla bla Better than risking an unwanted visit from the law.
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