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Kites and Helicopters Donít Mix in Bali

Air Bali Helicopter Flight Makes Unscheduled Landing in Denpasar Schoolyard When its Blades Get Entangled with a Local Kite.

(5/30/2008) In less than a month, Air Bali has made a two emergency landings of its helicopters with passengers aboard. The latest incident took place on Saturday, May 17, 2008, when a Bell Helicopter chartered by the Company was forced to make an unscheduled landing in the playground of a Junior High School in Bali's capital of Denpasar. The earlier incident took place less than one month earlier on April 23, 2008, when another Air Bali helicopter operated made a hard landing on Lebih Beach. [See: Bali Air Makes Emergency Landing on East Coast Beach]

Although passengers were on board in both flights, no serious injuries were reported.

According to reports in Bali Post and Radar Bali the latest "unscheduled" landing happened at around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon when the pilot with 4 passengers on board made a smooth landing in a local schoolyard following problems with the helicopter's power plant.

According to local press reports, a subsequent inspection of the helicopter revealed a substantial amount of kite string entangled on the aircrafts rotor blades.

Kite flying is a popular seasonal pastime in Bali, oftentimes involving huge kites secured by large gauge strings and wire. The cause of numerous power outages and an acknowledged threat to aviation, loosely enforced regulations are in place that limit the areas and the maximum permitted height for kite flying in Bali. [See: Yikes! Watch Out for Kites]

The playground of the school used for the landing was empty at the time of the incident, but local residents were reportedly momentarily panicked by the sudden appearance of a helicopter in their neighborhood.

Both the Air Bali helicopters involved in both incidents are owned by a Jakarta-based charter company - Derazona and leased to Air Bali.

While both landings are under investigation, aviation officials have given high marks to both pilots for the way in which they handled an emergency landing.

The latest incident happened on a flight from Tanah Lot to the Sanur area.