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an area to legally drive through the desert to pick up fallen weather balloon?

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  • an area to legally drive through the desert to pick up fallen weather balloon?

    So a few friends at work and I are looking into sending up a weather balloon high up into the sky with a few cameras and things attached. Part of my job in this little project is to look into possible areas to do this, and to recover the equipment once it falls.

    I'm wondering where would be the best location to do this? Obviously we want to recover the equipment (and media!) that was attached to the balloon when it falls (they are designed to pop at a certain altitude). So since we would most likely know about what altitude it will pop, if we had some weather data as to the upper wind direction we could hopefully kind of choose the area which we want it to land (somewhat anyway)

    We would probably want to find an area pretty large where once it lands we would be able to legally drive out there in my jeep and recover it. Any suggestions on an area to do this without getting into trouble? I'm guessing a desert area would be most suitable. Since we have alot of it
    Last edited by daniel_buck; 02-12-12, 08:36 AM.
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  • #2
    JV as long as you can figure to get the thing to fall in an open area, otherwise you are in for some hill climbing.
    I take it the thing has a gps tracker on it to help find it.

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    • #3
      yea, another guy is going to be working on the GPS and other data gathering items. I'm just the photo and recovery guy

      Maybe launching from somewhere around victorville would be a good idea, depending on how high up our balloon will go and where the winds are blowing. Thanks for the suggestion
      Last edited by daniel_buck; 02-12-12, 09:26 AM.
      [COLOR="#FF0000"]R[/COLOR]edneck [COLOR="#FF0000"]D[/COLOR]riveway [COLOR="#FF0000"]F[/COLOR]ab
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      • #4
        If you map all of the areas where cross-country travel is legal, you'll see it's going to be pretty hard to hit one with a balloon from high altitude. Especially since many of the areas (JV, Jawbone) are proximate to restricted areas & airspace like China Lake and 29 palms.

        The last one I did I aimed for Ford Dry Lake near Blythe, but the winds were a bit different and it landed 2 miles up into a wilderness area on a mountain. All in all, it turned out fine since the weather was nice and we just backpacked in.

        There's some decent wind models available on the ballooning sites, but it still requires a lot of guesswork.

        My suggestion is put your predicted landing point at least 30 miles from any restricted areas, tread lightly, and wear good hiking boots.

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        • #5
          It would be quite a drive, but a launch from Anza Borrego and a recovery in the canyons of Desert Center would be really cool. It'd go right over Salton Sea. The hard part would be guessing the landing - the Chocolate Mountains bombing range is just south of there. Lots of cool history in the area you might be able to get on camera.
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          • #6
            I don't know the altitude this balloon will reach. I do know that the rocket club that meets every month in Lucerne Valley has to cooridinate with the FAA. Realize that major east-west air traffic corridors goes over the Mojave Desert in several locations.There's a beacon at Hector Road and I-40 east of Newberry springs. The aircraft line up an that beacon to go to the major airports in Southern California. I think you have a lot of coordinationg to do with the FAA.
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            • #7
              yea, someone else is going to be handling that, making sure we have clearance to actually do this. Thanks for the tip though
              [COLOR="#FF0000"]R[/COLOR]edneck [COLOR="#FF0000"]D[/COLOR]riveway [COLOR="#FF0000"]F[/COLOR]ab
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              • #8
                If you have enough knowledge of the potential landing, Stoddard Wells OHV is a huge and open area for travel. Spangler OHV is also a good choice for open travel but the area is smaller.
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                • #9
                  Weather baloons will go in excess of 50,000 ft. It could travel 50-100 miles befroe rturning to the ground. Not a good idea for a prank of just to get video.
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