High altitude balloons in Iowa

19MilesUp V1

Screen Shot 2012-08-12 at 9.52.51 PM
See the Pictures tab to see some more great photos of this launch … videos are below.

Our team consisted of:

Ben Wadsley, Adam Threadgold, Conrad Vernon, John Fosdick, Kevin Strobel, Matt Lantz, Dave Graham, Emily Wadsley, Amanda Fosdick, Kelley Weiss, Connie Fosdick, Shannon Strobel, Calvin Vernon                                                                                                                          
And special thanks from Rick Hannen, who let us launch from Hannen airport (0IA8) in Center Point.
8:15am – Show up at Hannen airport (Ben is actually on time – this is when we’d know it’s a special day)
9:10am – Balloon is ‘let go’
9:10am – large balloon filled with Hydrogen heads for electrical fence – Conrad runs towards it
9:10am – After impact with electrical fence, tail is severed … all electronics survived!  We hope someone has footage of this.
9:15am – GoPro camera takes awesome picture of us standing on airstrip celebrating – a little bit of spinning due to broken tail
9:50am – GoPro camera shuts down while in clouds/haze – most likely culprit – overheating!   Had battery charge, but may have overheated since it was embedded in Styrofoam
?:?? am – after group has a good time playing cards in Winthrop, IA, we head to Elkader where last Spot GPS signal was seen.
12:40pm – at around 90,000 feet the battery goes out on the flip camera – awesome photographs of Mississippi river and rolling hills with little clouds below – Conrad will get this distributed later. 
1:00 – Enjoying half pound cheeseburger at the Elkader Supper Club
1:40pm (est)  – Balloon pops – probably was far above 100,000 feet since we under-filled balloon (which means it can go higher)
2:10pm – leave Elkader Supper Club – all a bit disappointed
2:19.14pm – we don’t know it, but the package lands! – vertical fall at 1400 feet a minute, horizontal movement at 30 mph.
2:35pm – receive contact from Boost mobile phone – last signal one mile east of the Caledonia, MN airport – total flight time 5 hours 10 minutes.
4:00pm – I dropped off kids in Sumner, IA at grandparents house – Father-in-law and I head to Minnesota.
5:45pm – arrive in field near Caledonia, MN – look near GPS spot
6:40pm – talk to local farmers – one hops on 4-wheeler and helps look
7:25pm – after my 3rd time of saying ‘let’s call it quits’ I really mean it – “One last fence line we want to check” after 1.75 hours of hopping ditches and climbing fences
7:30pm – Jack Gitch spots tiny fluttering orange nylon parachute from 100 yards, 6 feet from hayfield (where we wouldn’t have seen it) – estimated impact is at 33 mph.  Spot GPS is BUSTED and batteries are ‘bent’ why it didn’t send a signal at the end.  All spare battery packs were loose in the cooler from impact, ‘pausing’ Boost mobile device … this is why it didn’t give us the final GPS location … it was ¼ mile from last GPS point.
11:50pm- Package arrives in Cedar Rapids, 16 hours later.

Flight Video

Launch Video

GPS Data from our 2 devices

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