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How do hot air balloon pilots avoid collisions?

I grew up in a family hot air ballooning business, and while I haven't been involved in a few years, I can answer your question in two words: They don't! Taking Off As far as collisions go, the other ...
N. P.'s user avatar
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43 votes

If a balloon lies within gun range, why would a 21st century warplane shoot it with a missile, instead of rotary guns?

Gail Helt, a former CIA analyst suggests that due to the huge size of the balloon (and almost zero pressure difference between inside and outside) that shooting the balloon full of bullet holes would ...
uhoh's user avatar
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35 votes

How do hot air balloon pilots avoid collisions?

The perspective on that photo makes it hard to tell, but it looks like many of the balloons are still on the ground. So it's not quite as chaotic as it appears. There is no direct horizontal control....
BowlOfRed's user avatar
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35 votes

What are pro/cons of steam as lifting gas for airships?

The main disadvantage is the energy required just to get off the ground. Let's do a back-of-the-envelope calculation, comparing this to a hot air balloon. Let's heat 1m³ of air. To get equivalent ...
Sanchises's user avatar
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34 votes
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How do hot air balloons get started (without burning the fabric)?

The balloon is spread out on the ground and rigged to the basket. Then, a cold air blower is used to do the initial inflation, blowing air into the envelope through the bottom aperture. This gets the ...
Airsick's user avatar
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34 votes

How do balloon pilots avoid birdstrikes?

The airspeed of a hot air balloon is always... zero. So it's completely up to the bird to do the avoiding. Which shouldn't be too difficult for the bird, on account of this humongous giant brightly ...
John K's user avatar
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33 votes

If a balloon lies within gun range, why would a 21st century warplane shoot it with a missile, instead of rotary guns?

One reason that likely factors into this seemingly odd decision is that Canada tried and failed to shoot down one of their wayward weather balloons using only guns in 1998 A runaway weather balloon ...
Machavity's user avatar
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31 votes

How do hot air balloon pilots avoid collisions?

The balloons just float, there is no thrust so no wake etc. If there is a constant wind, all balloons have exactly the same speed. Only local phenomena can create differences in horizontal relative ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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30 votes

Why do balloons no longer have nets?

Balloons have nets! Not only one but several. The nets are just integrated into the envelope. If you look at this image, you'll see white lines forming a first net. On a smaller scale, the fabrics ...
Robe's user avatar
  • 618
22 votes
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How do balloon pilots avoid birdstrikes?

I've got over 100 hours in balloons, crewed for around 200 more flights and used to work at a hot air balloon MRO. I have never noticed or heard of a bird strike or seen any damage from one. I have ...
OSUZorba's user avatar
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17 votes

How do hot air balloons navigate?

That is exactly how balloons “steer” - they pick an altitude where the winds aloft are going the way the pilot wants to - assuming winds at an available altitude exist where the wind is what the pilot ...
Pugz's user avatar
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16 votes

How are weather balloons different from "regular" big latex balloons?

Short answer: because it is expensive making a large balloon capable of high altitude flight. Balloon lift is displaced air minus weight of balloon so if you want to do high altitude flight you need ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
16 votes

Why do balloons no longer have nets?

Mostly the consideration will be weight penalty vs risk. Modern envelope materials and construction reduce the risk of a complete envelope failure, such that you would want a separate netting ...
John K's user avatar
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15 votes
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If a balloon lies within gun range, why would a 21st century warplane shoot it with a missile, instead of rotary guns?

Some factors that do not seem to be discussed in the other answers: The Balloon was estimated to be around 60 to 65,000 feet, which is approximately the service ceiling of the F-22, the US fighter ...
abelenky's user avatar
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13 votes

If a balloon lies within gun range, why would a 21st century warplane shoot it with a missile, instead of rotary guns?

It's also a good idea to know if a certain munition is capable of locking on to a certain target type and destroying it. This was a valuable experiment in that context, and was funded by the Chinese ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
12 votes
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How do hot air balloons navigate?

They use the fact that the wind veers when going up, that is, changes direction clockwise, and backs, changes direction counterclockwise, when going down. This is largely (there are a lot of other ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
12 votes

To what extent is modern "maneuverable spy balloonery" really a thing?

To what extent is modern "maneuverable spy balloonery" really a thing? To the extent that it helps to sell news and stoke irrational fear of secret Chinese technology. Much of what a "...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
11 votes
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Do FAA sectional charts show all power/transmission lines?

From the FAA's Chart Users' Guide: AeroNav Products’ charts are prepared in accordance with specifications of the Interagency Air Cartographic Committee (IACC) and are approved by ...
Gerry's user avatar
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11 votes
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What would it take for a balloon to reach the thermosphere?

Strangely I have some serious domain experience here, I have in the past been involved in commercial/research balloon operations to about 130,000’ at "industrial" scale, involving tens of ...
Max R's user avatar
  • 3,798
10 votes
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Hot air balloon toilet?

Overboard or a plastic bottle.
MobileDevelopment's user avatar
10 votes

What determines the maximum ground speed of hot air balloons?

Balloons travel with the wind, so all their motion over ground comes from air movements. do hot air balloons have the ability to control their ground speed? If so, how? This was a burning question ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
10 votes

When did Piccard reach his record altitude of 23 km (75,500 ft)?

I strongly believe that the wikipedia author has misquoted a german language reference. There are many places you can find reference to 25 (sometimes 27) altitude records being made (including Piccard ...
Jamiec's user avatar
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9 votes

Is it technically possible to have nuclear-powered hot-air balloons?

Most likely no. RTG does not have enough power. The burner of the hot air balloon requires 2 to 4 MW of power (here) so you need at least 4 tonnes of Pu to produce that (2000,0000 / 500 = 4000 Kg), ...
h22's user avatar
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8 votes

How does one launch unmanned high-altitude balloons without posing a safety risk to aviation?

High altitude balloons reach more like 30km rather than kft. This means that there's a limited time in which they can interfere with normal aviation traffic (which, during cruise, is usually in a ...
os1's user avatar
  • 1,560
8 votes

What are pro/cons of steam as lifting gas for airships?

In short, helium (or hydrogen) remains in the gaseous state at much, much lower temperatures than water does. In particular, helium or hydrogen will remain gaseous in pretty much any part of Earth's ...
reirab's user avatar
  • 19.5k
8 votes
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Are manned balloons allowed to land anywhere?

From the few countries I looked at, the general rules are: One can fly anywhere, as long as enforcing regulated and prohibited areas like other pilots. Regulated areas include inhabited areas, there ...
mins's user avatar
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8 votes
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What were the atmospheric models in the 19th century and early 20th century like, compared to the present-day ISA?

This is a fascinating question and its answer would arguably be better suited to a rather longer article than a Stack Overflow post: you're effectively asking (1) what is the history of the ...
Landak's user avatar
  • 1,880
8 votes

If a balloon lies within gun range, why would a 21st century warplane shoot it with a missile, instead of rotary guns?

As others have mentioned, there is little appreciable pressure between the outside and inside of the balloon meaning it wouldn't "pop" if you poke it full of holes. To give an idea of how ...
Jedi2155's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

If unable to procure Helium, are there any regulations against filling lighter than air craft with Hydrogen instead?

The Hindenburg utilized aluminum flake in a nitrocellulose impregnated fabric. Materials have improved since then. In the case of He, diffusion is inhibited by polar surfaces. For the He to ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
7 votes

Hot air balloon toilet?

The same way people solve this problem on a small boat - overboard. (Fun fact: most large boats that do have toilets, flush them overboard as well. Our civilization isn't that averse to treating one ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.6k

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