Loon balloon tracking


We just tracked a Project Loon balloon in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

What is the amazing Needle in a Haystack possibility of it flying over the spot in the Ocean we have a receiver?

This one is tagged This flight is restricted from public view and we could only see it when we went to the specific page for that aircraft. https://flightaware.com/live/flight/HBAL440

Why is this one restricted from public view when most of the others just appear on the Live map like normal airliners?



Eight and a half hours later it is still occupying the same small space in the Indian Ocean.

Most aircraft log from 1 to 40 position reports and usually there are only 10-20 planes a day.

This balloon, HBAL440, has 735 position reports so far which changes the stats quite a bit.

How long do they usually stick around in the one tight location?



Probably higher than you’d think since they’re designed to loiter over inhabited areas and provide connectivity…

Position-only flights are hidden by default unless you explicitly ask for them through your account settings, because there’s a lot of noise in there which can be confusing. When we can infer a reasonable origin/destination (generally, after arrival) they can get upgraded to regular visibility.


Obviously much higher than i thought. :sunglasses:

Cocos only has about 500 inhabitants and has good phone and internet services and it seemed to me to be a bit of a waste hovering a balloon over there.

It looks like it may be changing altitude to stay on station.

I have section 6 Position only flights set to show but i couldn’t see it until i was told the balloon’s call sign as seen on the Skyview screen locally and i could search for it.

Apparently a couple on the island are out trying to spot it but i haven’t heard if they have seen it yet.

It is just getting to sunset there so that may help.




A few days ago it was sitting in an area to the North and later over land to the Northeast of Learmonth. Didn’t move much for 2 or three days.