Flight 5 Sept 23, 2017


Launched later in the morning around schedules and the wind. We were looking at the long range forecast and had weeks of easterly winds. For our location, that is an automatic abort. We can't feasible recover from the Sierra Nevada mountains, home to year around snow capped peaks and the tallest mountain in the Continental US. We had to launch on this day to get the flight in and welcome our newest team members.


Launch took place from Folsom High school at 11:05am from our student parking lot. There was a strong breeze even on the ground but with less weight than projected thanks to some last minute adjustments, the ascent quickly carried the balloon aloft.


  1. The amazing camera shots of the ocean and San Francisco Bay fog-free
  2. Benny the Beaver and the Rotary Club logo flew beautifully
  3. The easiest recovery to date in a walnut orchard
  4. We saw the descent and landing. Our predictions were spot on.
  5. Great work by our new team members.
  6. GPS data tracked & recorded for the whole flight with both transmitters.


We were in position south of Merced to see the balloon come back down. We believed the shredded balloon would trail above the parachute and payload, but instead we saw it hangs down. This could in danger the parachute getting tangled, though not on this landing. It was exactly as predicted. We walked down the orchard rows with the extendable pole and recovered with relative ease. The branches caught some of the paracord and parachute but with some jostling all was recovered.

We actually saw it come down. The students with good eyes spotted the shredded white balloon falling at about 9,000 ft. I saw it closer to 6,000 ft and as it descended the capsule, parachute and balloon were all clearly visible. It landed across a two lane road from where we were. Had it not been for a significant amount of traffic on that road, we could have maybe been there when it landed. Probably not safe to try to catch it.

As a thank you for Flight 4 help we flew the Oregon State mascot. What a great shot as the balloon exploded. The lake on the left near the horizon is Lake Tahoe.

Leaving Folsom High School

Benny high above the Central Valley

The ocean and Monterey Bay on a fog free day