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Flight #16 - 2005d

This is our second high altitude attempt with a small payload.

Flight Parameters
Launch Date/Time Saturday, 29 October at 7:30am
Alternative Date N/a
Launch Site Wells Aircraft at the Hutchinson Airport (38° 03.8', 97° 51.9'W) in Hutchinson, KS
Primary Transmitter / Antenna PocketTracker running APRS (W0WR-11) on 144.34MHz / Horizontally polarized dipole
Backup Transmitter / Antenna N/a
Balloon / Gas Kaymont 1500gram / 90 cu feet of Helium
Estimated Burst Altitude 120,000' MSL
Estimated Ascent Rate 800' per minute
Estimated Descent Rate Approx. 1500' per minute at touchdown
Capsule(s) weight 14oz
Chase Frequencies 446.52MHz
Balloon Finder Telemetry Mode N/a

Flight Predictions

Flight Predictions
Date Created (Central Time) Dist From Launch Bearing From Launch Relative Position Max Speed Map Winds
27 Oct 7:30pm
89mi 59° (NE) 8mi NE of Council Grove 49mph Map Winds
29 Oct 5:00pm
89mi 63° (NE) 5mi E of Council Grove 49mph Map Winds

Flight Results

This was the first flight that has so far been unrecovered, and at this point, we don't expect to get it back.  The APRS quite at around 60,000' and we never heard it again.  We did have a visual on the balloon shortly before we felt that it should have burst (assuming it didn't become a floater), but we lost visual after needing to relocate.

Initial suspicions are that the PocketTracker got too cold and lost its PLL lock.  We think it probably began transmitting again once it hit the ground and warmed up.

We spent about an hour scouring the area that we felt it should have fell into, however Jon wound up puncturing two of his vehicle's tires on a rough fire lane road.  After that we decided to cut our losses and limp home.

Flight Statistics
Launch Date/Time N/a
Launch Site Wells Aircraft at the Hutchinson Airport (38° 03.8',  97° 51.9'W) in Hutchinson, KS
Burst Altitude Unknown
Average Ascent Rate Unknown
Measured Descent Rate Unknown
Touchdown Site Unknown
Touchdown Time Unknown
Recovery Time Unknown
Distance Traveled Unknown
Total Flight Time Unknown

Lessons Learned

  • The long and short of it, we failed to do extensive testing on such a new and radical capsule/transmitter design.
  • There was no backup transmitter of any sorts on this unit.
  • Our name/telephone number was an after-thought, and wasn't permanently attached to the capsule.  As I recall, it was written on a piece of paper losely attached to the outside of the capsule.  I fully expect that the information would have been washed away after the first good rain, if not sooner.