View Full Version : Balloon?

14th Apr 2001, 15:05
November 22nd last year, we were over the NW coast of Chile en route Santiago when we saw what appeared to be a bright star in the afternoon sky. As we got closer it became apparent that our star was in fact a large silver cylinder. Judging by our relative closure rate we estimated that it was between 5 and 10,000 feet above us (we were at FL450) and between 100 and 200 feet tall.
We took some video footage which did not yield much detail on later viewing. ATC new nothing about it. Anyone any ideas?

14th Apr 2001, 18:09
Weather balloon?

15th Apr 2001, 07:33
UFO? :)

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence.

15th Apr 2001, 10:15
A similar situation.
East bound around Helena, Montana at 370.
Happened to look out and up and saw a balloon with a package suspended below it. No real idea what altitude it was but we could see the cables that supported the package underneath it. I looked quite big. We queried ATC and they had no info on it. I was surprised as there were no notams on it. I also thought that these things carried a transponder for ATC visibility.I suppose if they are expected to be high enough that may not be required but running into some thing like that would probably be terminal. We were never able to find out anything about it.

15th Apr 2001, 15:19
I didn't realise that these balloons were so big. Certainly appeared large enough to present a hazard to an aircraft. Whilst it was way above us, it would obviously have to have climbed through our normal operating levels to get there. Are there any safeguards applied as to when and where they are launched?

15th Apr 2001, 15:26
You may remember a few years back an out of control (if they're ever in control) weather balloon causing mayhem on the North Antlantic Tracks. Aircraft were diverted around the area, Uk Nimrods and Canadian CP140s were tracking it on their radars. Eventually a Canadian F18 was able to shoot it down with its cannons. Things like that are certainly a major danger!!