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CNNSP-07 (05-Aug-2006)

Launch Time:  13:47 UTC
Max. Altitude:  88,081 feet
Max. Speed:  39 mph
Avg. Speed: 16 mph
Avg. Ascent Rate:  1421 ft/min
Avg. Descent Rate: 2399 ft/min
Flight Duration:  1 hr, 35 min
Distance (Great Circle):  9.36 miles

We arrived in HutchinsonKS Thursday afternoon for the Great Plains Super Launch (GPSL) 2006. Six of us from Grand IslandNE were representing CNNSP. Those six were Jeff (K0JLR), Caleb, Jack (WY0F), Arlene, and myself (KC0MWM). Dinner that evening was at The Grand Slam located in the Grand Prairie Hotel where the conference was being held. Friday’s conference was full of interesting presentations on a variety of balloon related topics. All of the presentations were thought-provoking and educational. Some of the latest tools, toys, and tricks were shared with the participants. We all gathered for dinner Friday evening at a locally owned Mexican restaurant, The Anchor Inn. The remainder of Friday was spent preparing for Saturday morning’s launch. We arrived at Lyons-Rice Municipal Airport and immediately began getting the balloon ready to fill. Payloads were powered up and checked out, however Jack had some problems with his new radio not wanting to transmit and ultimately ended up putting the PocketTracker in its place. We released the balloon at 8:47 CDT along with the TulsaOK group, ORB. 

The chase took a leisurely pace due to the seasonal winds aloft being so light. Predictions were placing the touchdown position less than 20 miles from the launch point, so needless to say we weren’t in much of a hurry. After a stop at the local convenience store we headed east for a short while, then north. We noticed the balloon was tracking more north and west of the prediction, so we started to work our way back to the west and stopped on the side of a gravel road to wait for the burst. Interference from one of the capsules was making it difficult to get position updates from the KC0MWM-11 payload. We saw six of the balloons at one time when they were at varying altitudes, most above 60,000 feet. Ours burst at 88,000 feet and began its descent. We were able to position ourselves to see the payloads touchdown about a half of a mile away. Arlene and I went to see who owned the land, while the others made preparations for the recovery. After knocking on a few doors, I got a phone number for Kirk & Shelley Peverley, the landowners. I called Kirk and told him what we were up to, and got permission to retrieve our equipment from his field. Zack (W0ZC) had showed up to help us with recovery and joined Jeff, Caleb, Jack, and I on the hike through a milo field, plum thickets, dry creek bed and open field to retrieve the payloads.

Flight path - actual vs. predicted

When we arrived at the coordinates we found them in good condition, but severely tangled, along with almost the entire mass of the balloon still attached. Looks like it might be time to build one of those balloon release devices.  When we returned to the rest of the group a truck pulled up with one of the local residents, who we quickly found out to be one of the landowners. Shelley stopped by to invite us to the Methodist Church in GeneseoKS for lunch. It seems they had prepared a large quantity of food in anticipation of some “bikers” coming through, and hadn’t seen near the quantity of riders they were expecting. The majority of us met at the church for some good food and post recovery stories.  Thanks to Shelley and the folks at the Methodist Church! GPSL 2006 was a great success. I agreed to host GPSL 2007 here in Grand Island, NE.