HSMM and balloons

Martin dcmk1mr2 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 20 15:47:18 CDT 2012

There was talk over tacos today of using a balloon to get a mesh
router to some altitude.

Federal and local regulations apply to  balloon operations.  There is
FAR 101 that limits moored balloon operations to an altitude of 500 ft
with many restrictions.  A FAA NOTAM issued in 2009 forbids moored
balloon operations within the DC FRZ.  I believe these restrictions
can be violated with a waiver from the FAA and coordination with local
ATC.  A local business routinely gets waivers to fly a large balloon
in the area for photographic purposes (http://www.airphotoslive.com/).

Chloroprene rubber balloons are used for advertising and such. They
will outlast a plain latex balloon and should last several days if
needed.  They go for about $30.  A WRT54GL runs for about four hours
on a set of eight "AA" NiCads.  A WRT54GL weighs about 14 oz and the
batteries weigh about 8 oz.  That takes a 5' balloon and about 40
cu-ft of He.

 It sounds like a fun experiment in the right setting.


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