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Yikes! Watch Out for Kites!

Local Authorities Cooperate with Bali's Airport to Reduce the Risk to Aviation Posed by High-Flying Kites.

(7/28/2007) Pilots flying into Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are complaining about the hazard to air safety posed by the thousands of kites that crowd the skies across the island, particularly during the months of July and August each year.

A popular pastime among the Balinese, villages will often spend large sums of money creating kites whose main structures are as large as a truck with tails that stretch for a hundred meters. Requiring the coordination of large team to become airborne, these kites are often tethered to local trees and left unattended for days on end.

When the lines holding the kites fail, they fall back to earth, oftentimes crashing into passing vehicles or short-circuiting high-power electrical lines.

A Threat to Aviation

Although seldom enforced, local regulations carry fines and prison sentences for those flying kites in Bali's air traffic control areas. A law passed in 2000 absolutely prohibits kite flying within 9 kilometers of the airport; flying kites at more than 100 meters above ground level between 9 and 18 kilometers from the airport; and over 300 meters in a radius between 18 and 54 kilometers from the airport.

In an effort to reduce the threat posed by errant kite enthusiasts, PT Ankasa Pura, the Company that manages Bali's airport, has convened meetings involving the police, Air Force, airport security services, the Air Communication Department and local villages in Bali. In order to improve enforcement of regulations prohibiting kite fling in air traffic control areas Angkasa Pura has asked the agreement of local village officials to permit airport officials to ground kites left unattended and tethered to local trees. According to an Angkasa Pura spokesperson, local village chiefs have issued their full support to such steps and a stronger enforcement of the "no-kite" rules.