Flight 3 May 4, 2017


After waiting months for the 2016/17 snow season to end in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the winds to cooperate with a favorable trajectory and landing zone, the team finally decided to move the launch location west by 90 miles. Now the trajectory, showed the balloon departing the northern Napa Valley and landing in the Sacramento Valley.


Launch took place in the parking of the Conn Creek Wildlife area east of Yountville at 8:00am.


Highlights of this was partial altitude tracking via our APRS radio system. The system stopped working about 20 minutes into the flight, but we got some data, which was an improvement on previous flights. Additionally, this flight was the first to get a video from start to finish. Based on the video, we were able to see how hard the landing was and decided to purchase a parachute with a diameter twice as large.


Landing was deep on a ranch in the western foothills of the Sacramento Valley. A bit too much helium resulted in a slightly shorter flight duration and an inopportune landing zone. We got permission from some ranch hands and hiked for 55 minutes through brush, dry creeks, and around oak trees to locate the balloon based on the backup GPS unit. Hiking back out, the allergies were atrocious but everyone recovered nicely at In-N-Out following the flight. Our second smaller GoPro stopped working during the flight as well. Again the time lapse Nikon failed. This was the last flight for that camera as we abandoned the effort and used other cameras on future flights.

Balloon Burst at 2:04:45

Landing at the end of the video