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Weather Balloon Collision

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Weather Balloon Collision

Old 26th May 2007, 15:29
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Weather balloons

Just for info', the balloons we sent up from the Scottish test range were not fitted with parachutes, just expected to go pop or land in Iceland etc...
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Old 26th May 2007, 16:50
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Originally Posted by Yaw String
Many years back. when real men wore white hats, it was me receiving the shock, from the righthand seat, B757,climbing through FL290 over south coast of UK as we passed through a cloud of party balloons!
Makes you blink!
Yaw String,
Spoof or truth?
Like weather balloons, they would have expanded to several times their "launch" size... I would have thought the typical party balloon would have popped long before reaching FL290.
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Old 27th May 2007, 11:25
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Vaguely remember that there is a "military" balloon tethered at Marathon AB on the Florida Keys. It flies at fairly serious altitudes and the story goes it looks over the ground level horizon for drug movements in light aircraft.
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Old 27th May 2007, 11:45
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Spoof or truth!!!
So, i was right, they were martian space ships after all!!! Must agree on the party balloon popping theory but that is exactly what they appeared to be, at 29,000 feet!
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Old 27th May 2007, 13:03
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Perhaps one of the most memorable balloon UFO's was Larry Walters in his lawn chair:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Walters

As the FAA guy famously said: "We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed. If he had a pilot's license, we'd suspend that. But he doesn't."

I'm sure the pireps were priceless... "Approach, you're not going to believe what we just saw!"
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Old 28th May 2007, 03:40
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Something like this perhaps...but with more comfortable seating.
http://www.clusterballoon.org/
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Old 28th May 2007, 14:43
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ATC seemed fairly disinterested.
We can't really do anything but telling the others that there's something somewhere there, that's all.
The other day there was another one drifting over the Netherlands around FL340 - noone knew where it came from, not even that it's there until an a/c reported it... Unfortunately radar (at least ours) doesn't show these kind of things.
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Old 28th May 2007, 19:30
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Hmm, strange. All the ones I've seen have a radar reflector attached to the bottom, basically two pieces of shiny metal set at right angles in order to give a strong return in any direction. Maybe they are more suited to providing strong returns for the shorter wavelength weather radars onboard the aircraft?
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Old 28th May 2007, 20:23
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whitehorse

Isnīt there a reward of about Ģ5 if you return found radio sondes attached to the bottom of the balloons? Perhaps pilots should be greatfull for this possible increase in pay.
No ATC do not inform pilots about the launch of the ballons pilots. At an airfield I operate to they just let them go, normally 0900 and 1600 local time, plus or minus 15mins.
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Old 28th May 2007, 20:37
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Some radiosondes are still tracked by radar and therefore carry a radar reflector. The Viasala RS-92 sonde derives wind (via the DigiCora 3 system) from GPS. Unless it's coming off a ship (using a containerised fully automatic system) it should have a parachute attached. The sonde itself weighs a few dozen grams, although I'm sure it will sting if you clobbered one head on. The rubber balloon is about 1.5 metres wide at launch but is about the size of a large car by the time it bursts (allegedly; I've never been there!). I've tracked one up to 36mb so the shuttle had better whatch out too!
 
Old 28th May 2007, 21:07
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Green Flash,
Any chance of a pic?
I have the same memory of a balloon, some very thin wire, a cardboard or polystyrene box with a very few frangible components inside, and a "Christmas decoration" radar reflector (although a bit big for my Xmas tree). But that goes back a bit.

Not totally innocuous if you meet one at FL290, but nothing lik a well-fed vulture.
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Old 28th May 2007, 22:31
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Watched these being released from Alice Springs about ten years ago. All as described with the little box, radar reflecting crimble decorations and sparkly fairy sitting on top. I think her smile grew as the balloon expanded in the climb.

I assumed they used hydrogen as opposed to helium as the balloon wranglers seemed to wear flash hoods a la navy personnel.
 
Old 29th May 2007, 09:35
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http://www.vaisala.com/weather/produ...ndingequipment

This is the Vaisala site. (I'm not a company rep, just a user!). The sonde system seems to be in wide use eg Finnish Mil, UK Mil, USAF, NATO etc
 
Old 29th May 2007, 16:49
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Military Flying

For those involved in aviation, small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) such as the glider this website describes may seem to present a new risk of mid-air collisions, in addition to the older risks of birdstrikes and other aircraft.
In fact, the risk is both an old one, and has already been shown to be very small. Weather services around the world have been launching "unmanned free balloons" (named radiosondes) unannounced for many decades, by the millions, and of comparable mass.
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Old 29th May 2007, 22:02
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Vaguely remember that there is a "military" balloon tethered at Marathon AB on the Florida Keys. It flies at fairly serious altitudes and the story goes it looks over the ground level horizon for drug movements in light aircraft.
IIRC originally for sigint against Cuba. Certainly baloons still arround 2 years ago although I thought they were closer to Key West than Marathon.
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Old 29th May 2007, 22:43
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Yes, the tethered blimps are in restricted airspace about 20 miles NE of Key West and usually are at 15,000 ft. They have down looking radar looking for smuggling boats and low flying aircraft doing drug trafficing. A light airplane hit the cable flying into the restricted airspace at night at around 8,000 ft about two months ago killing all on board.
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Old 30th May 2007, 11:52
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I seem to remember there was a flying inflatable pig over London a few years back. It escaped from a pop concert, IIRC.
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Old 30th May 2007, 12:00
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The Japs used to send little bombs on balloons made out of tissue paper across the Pacific to attack the US mainland. I do believe casualties were caused by it. Damn good effort considering the distance, and it shows a superb understanding of natural materials and Pacific meteorology predating the 'discovery' of jetstreams by the B29 bombers.
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Old 30th May 2007, 13:36
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Slight tread drift here, appologies..
On the subject of rewards for recovering the sondes, the 'WIDI's (Wind-Drift Indicator) , wieghted paper streamers dropped by parachute aircraft to allow the jump-master before jumps, are not worth very much. However, someone once broke into the kit store of the Red Devil and pasted a notice offering a Ģ20 reward to anyone returning it, with the address. For months afterwrds the Freds were apparenetly plaugued by people showing up with the basically worthless used WIDI asking for their reward!
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Old 31st May 2007, 09:18
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ShyT

The flying pig was,IIRC, being used for a photo shoot for a Pink Floyd album cover (Animals) over Battersea power station when it broke loose.
 

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