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Public warned not to fly kites near airports

Frank G. Bonelli Park

Authorities are warning the public against flying kites near airports after officials at Brackett Field Airport in San Dimas grew concerned that a kite spotted 500 feet over a nearby park would interfere with outbound flights.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies issued a warning to the 19-year-old Los Angeles man whose kite was aloft over the north end of Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, which is next to the commercial airfield.

The park is dotted with signs that state "No kite flying." The man, who was not identified by sheriff's officials, told deputies he did not see the signs. No flights in or out of the private airport were affected.

Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said while most people comply with the signage in the park, the incident provided an opportunity to educate people on the dangers of flying kites near airports.

Under little-known federal regulations passed in 1963, moored balloons and kites cannot be flown within five miles of an airport or more than 500 feet off the ground. The rules do not apply to balloons or kites that are flown below the top of a building.

Federal Aviation Administration rules individuals to apply for a waiver a day in advance. The agency grants exceptions for kite flying below 150 feet but individuals must include information such as the location where they will operate the kite, names and addresses of the operators, the weight of the kite, as well as date, time and duration of the flight.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said he would not comment directly on the San Dimas kite case. But since 2000, he said the agency's database shows no reported enforcement actions involving kites and airplanes in the Western Pacific region, which includes California, Nevada, Hawaii and U.S. island territories.

Parker said deputies issued a warning rather than the citation because the teen immediately cooperated.

"If the same person were to do it again they would be cited or potentially arrested," Parker said. "But the person gave deputies every impression that he was not aware of this law."

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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

Photo: Signs that state "No kite flying" are posted throughout Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, which is next to Brackett Field Airport. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

 
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