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Demonstrating science for the McPherson 5th graders.

Flight #36 - 2019b

The Flight 2019b will be held for an Elementary School in McPherson, KS.  Before the launch, students be be developing their own experimental payload, observing the effects of temperature and air pressure on matter.  They used two kiwi fruit and a marshmallow to test with.  Additionally they will get classroom exposure to the concept of near-space travel, including demonstrations in a vacuum chamber.  

The WARC club out of Wichita also flew their tracker system, and Dylan Helms few his tracker as well.










Flight Parameters


Launch Date/Time

Thursday March 28th at 9:45am (14:45Z).  

Plan on meeting at 8:30am to prepare, and we will begin inflation at 9:00am.

Alternative Date Thursday April 4th at 9:45am (14:45Z).  
Launch Site Eisenhower Elementary School (38.39N, -97.66W)  

Capsule 1 (Track)


Tracker: ArduinoTrack with RadioMetrix 300mW transmitter signing W0ZC-11.

Beaconing: Altitude-based delay

  • 20 second delays below 4,000m
  • 30 second delays above 25,000m
  • Otherwise 45 second delays.
  • Path is disabled above 2,000m MSL.

Camera: Canon A570IS camera running CHDK and dash-cam camera pointed up.


Capsule 2 (Track)


Tracker: ptFlex with DRA818V 700mW transmitter signing W0ZC-13.

Sensor: Spectroscopy sensors AS7265x.

Beaconing: Time-based delay

  • 15 seconds during entire flight
  • Path is disabled above 2,000m MSL.

Camera:  Dash-cam looking horizontal.


Capsule 3 (Track)

(WARC-Club Designed)


Tracker: ArduinoTrack with RadioMetrix 300mW transmitter signing W0SOE-11.

Beaconing: Altitude-based delay

  • 30 second delays below 5,000m
  • 45 second delays above 25,000m
  • Otherwise 60 second delays.
  • Path is disabled above 1,457m MSL.

Repeater: Raspberry Pi Fusion repeater 445.400-. 
(Note the unusual offset frequency - Preprogram your Fusion radios for 440.400Tx/445.400Rx)

Capsule 4 (Track)

(WSU-Student Designed)


Tracker: Habduino, built by Dillon from Wichita State University.  The transmitter is signing KE0TGR-11.

Beaconing: Time-based delay

  • 40 seconds during entire flight
Capsule 5

Experimental payload from Eisenhower Elementary School.

The kids are studying the effects of matter from altitude and air pressure changes.  They will be sending up a marshmallow and a kiwi fruit, with an on board video camera to capture the results.

Recovery / Misc
Parachute and misc rigging. 0.30kg
Total Flight Weight Total neck weight on the balloon. 3.12kg
Balloon / Gas

1200g Kaymont with 6.4cu meters (225cu ft) Helium. Neck lift (4.3kg) / Net lift (1.3kg)

Estimated Burst Altitude 28,650m MSL (94,000')  
Estimated Ascent Rate 6.0 m/s (1200'/min)  
Estimated Descent Rate 7.1 m/s (1400'/min)  
Chase Frequencies 446.100MHz  
NOTAM Filed High Altitude Balloon 3N-NE of KMPR, east bound reaching Flight Level 600 from March 28 at 1430Z to March 28 1700Z.  (#03/509)  




Flight Results


Launch Date/Time Thursday March 28th at 9:43am (14:43Z).
Launch Site Eisenhower Elementary School (38.40N, -97.66W) 
Burst Altitude 31,068m (101,928') MSL 
Average Ascent Rate 5.68m/s (1,117ft/min) 
Measured Descent Rate 7.41m/s (1,458 ft/min) at touchdown 
Touchdown Site 38.30N, -96.05W
Touchdown Time Thursday March 28th at 11:45am (16:45Z).
Recovery Time Thursday March 28th at 12:00pm (17:00Z). 
Distance Traveled 141km (88mi)  
Total Flight Time 2 hours, 03 minutes 

Flight Path (KML)Analysis SpreadsheetWinds Aloft Forecast

W0ZC-11 LogW0ZC-13 Log





Photo Highlights






Tracking Predictions

27 March 2019

Today's predict based on 1040'/min ascent puts us square into the middle of the John Redmond Reservoir.  The surface forecasts are also calling for scattered thunderstorms in the vicinity of both launch and recovery zones.  I'm not seeing any severe, luckily.

Regarding the launch, we will still plan for a 9:00am fill, 9:30 release, but we'll have to be flexible and time it between possible storms.

Plan on the possibility of getting muddy and/or wet.  If the weather cooperates, there will likely be fishing boats out on the water tomorrow in the case of a water landing.


Flight prediction for March 27th.


26 March 2019

Today is almost identical to yesterday.  There is an increasing possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but we should be recovered by the time they roll through the area.  Wednesday night rain could make for a muddy recovery.


Flight prediction for March 26th.


25 March 2019

The tracking prediction looks to be stabilizing with an east track and landing near Burlington.  Surface weather looks to be warm and partly cloudy.  Surface wind is expected to be gusty out of the south.


Flight prediction for March 25th.

24 March 2019

The winds have backed off significantly in today's forecasts.  I've adjusted the descent rate up to 1400'/min, which is the measured rate from the 2019a flight last week.


Flight prediction for March 24th. 

23 March 2019

Today's forecast calls for even stronger winds, pushing us up into the Lawerence area.  


Flight prediction for March 23rd.


22 March 2019

Jet stream winds have picked up significantly since the last predict.  We're approaching 100 knots of wind around 40,000'.


Flight prediction for March 22nd.


17 March 2019


Flight prediction for March 17th.


16 March 2019

The initial flight prediction shows a leisurely track northeast towards Herrington, KS.  The long range surface forecast shows cloudy skies and moderate temperatures.


Flight prediction for March 16th.