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some years ago: Concorde passes balloon crossing atlantic ocean

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some years ago: Concorde passes balloon crossing atlantic ocean

Old 15th Nov 2003, 18:32
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Question some years ago: Concorde passes balloon crossing atlantic ocean

I have seen a television report covering attempts to cross the atlantic or to fly around the world with balloons. They featured inflight balloon footage, showing a Concorde like shape passing with high speed apparently one or two kilometers away from the balloon (You could see the shape, but it was only visible for some frames). As result the balloon and its crew was badly shaken, actually the hull seemed to oscillate due to the sudden pressure. The ballon crew was later told that it was a Concorde which was supersonic during the pass.

Now my question is:

* Was this an intended pass?

For me it did not look so...because the balloon hull could have been ripped apart. If it was not intended they were pretty lucky they did not collide...

* When and where did this take place?

In short:

Does anybody know more about this event or does even have a link to a video? Thanks!
Old 15th Nov 2003, 20:28
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Join Date: May 2003
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A quick Yahoo search provided the following results, along with several other hits.



flynverted is offline  
Old 15th Nov 2003, 20:51
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Well that's not the one I talked about. The incident I have referred to happened some years ago and as the Concorde was filmed by a cam installed outside the balloon there wasn't a 30,000 feet height difference either. It looked to be on the same level and VERY near. It was only visible during a few video frames. Actually you could use this to estimate how fast it went by. As they were obviously not prepared for the event and I don't think that the outside cam was zooming (you could see part of the balloon in the same picture) and you could see Concorde's shape pretty well, it must have been REALLY near.

Anyways it must have been an incident to remember. Therefore I hoped that someone might have some first, second or third hand information.

To give some more information:

The balloon flight was one of four or five identic gas balloons starting in the USA. The winner would be the first balloon crossing a European street. The effort was initiated by a balloon manufacturer (looked british but might have been american too). The capsule design was closed and painted yellow. One team was accompanied by a BBC guy, but I don't think that this was the team which was "shockwaved".
Old 15th Nov 2003, 22:07
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Trans Atlantic Balloon Race organised by Cameron Balloons Bristol.
Non of the capsules were pressurised and the balloons were all gas/hot air types. It is very unlikely that any were in excess of 25,000ft.

Are you sure you are not confusing the Lindstrand/Fossett/Branson attempts which did get up to 55,000ft at some stages
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Old 15th Nov 2003, 22:15
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Yes I am sure. But I will take a closer look if it should be aired again...

This "non pressurized but Concorde flypast"-problem was the main reason for wanting to know more...
Old 15th Nov 2003, 22:31
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Check it out with Don Cameron or his daughter who now runs PR at the factory.

More comes to mind.
During the Trans Pacific with Per Lindstrand/Branson an incident ocurred during a gas bottle drop when the capsule was thrown off centre. Later in the flight a 747 passed within about 3 miles when it re-routed to see the balloon. The cameras on the capsules had fixed lenses [no zoom] but were steerable from inside the capsule by a pan/tilt head.
In some of the later flights we used a number of executive jets as chase planes to RV with the balloons and it was part of the routine to try and get shots of ourselves from the capsule cameras.
I was around as part of the TV crew for most of the past 25 years of ballooning records and designed the onboard camera systems.
This subject will bore everyone rigid. Mail me if you want more info.
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Old 16th Nov 2003, 00:05
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Sorry, SDoc
Just trying to help. I recall hearing about the incident regarding the links I posted earlier. The name and altitude diff. rung a bell.
As far as DSR10's post, obviously a 747 wouldn't provide a sonic boom, but possibly wake turbulance?? Just a thought??? I worked all night, and am heading to bed. I'll check back in later tonight, hoping someone will have a definitive answer.

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Old 16th Nov 2003, 00:59
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Thank you for the replies so far.


Sounds interesting. Thank you!

Have you seen the tv feature I am talking about. I think it was produced for the learning channel.


He didn't say that the 747 provided a sonic boom. Good night!
Old 16th Nov 2003, 11:33
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Ive seen it. Concorde pases left to right at the same level as the balloon.

Balloon appears to be well above 30,000ft. Concorde is fast BUT from my experience it didnt appear to be Supersonic.......... but it is damn close (about a mile). In the footage you can see the pax windows and they are not v big!

From my recollection and the commentary of the documentary it was a planned flypast - I think - but the capsule did a mighty wobble as she went by.

When I saw it I just thought............... SH1T!
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Old 16th Nov 2003, 17:07
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You can rule out any Lindstrand/Fossett/Brieghtling balloons - there were definately no RV's arranged or otherwise.
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Old 16th Nov 2003, 17:23
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In the commentary of the footage I have seen they told that the balloon crew didn't know what happened (and they did not look like they know what was happening when the trouble began). They only learned afterwards that it was a Concorde. They also were told that Concorde was supersonic.

Can you remember what kind of capsule/what balloon flight its was?

I will try to get a frame captured if the feature should be reaired...
Old 18th Nov 2003, 06:41
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This is quite surreal. A few days ago I started to ponder what it would be like to 'see' Concorde at Mach 2; trying to visualise something of that size, "faster than rifle bullet", from a stationary aspect... so then I thought: "Balloon!"

If this thread leads to video frame or two I'll be well chuffed.
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