The other day I had a signal from something at 60000 feet that was only at some 25 mph. The speed was believable but have no way to know about altitude. Are some balloons equipped with ADS?
Yes some balloons do carry ADS-B transponders. The balloons that Google is using for its Project Loon definitely do, so it’s quite possible that others do as well. Google’s balloons have callsigns beginning HBAL followed by a number. They don’t appear to show up on Flightaware, but you can search for them on FR24 and Planefinder. They seem to be testing in quite a few locations around the world so you could have received one of those.
Google loon had two up in my area of MS/LA a few days ago. 60k doing 5-10 mph.
I tracked one (and tweeted about it) for an hour or so, 50k in altitude and meandering along at 36 - 38 knots.
From doing some balloon stuff with my son a few years ago, we were surprised at how stable the altitude was.
HBAL380 – off the West Coast around 38.445, -123.824
Correct Google HIBAL all have Adsb transponders,so that Google can track their patterns and to see if they are performing as they should,with positions,altitudes,speed and direction.
They are testing them to see how realiable they would be for internet connectivity in remote places and at 60,000 feet,out of the flight paths of most aircraft, and centrally located could cover a large area.
Interesting to watch. Especially in Google Earth view. There were three balloons clustered up off the coast of Peru a couple days ago. These seem to pop in and out of the various flight trackers, appearing then disappearing only to pop up again somewhere else.
They don’t appear to be using ADS-B out, but this is what some high school students are doing with balloons at Bishop, CA.
HBAL345 from dump1090-mutability:
BA107B [FR24] [FlightStats] [FlightAware]
Altitude: 50900 ft | 15505 m Squawk: n/a
Speed: 19 kt | 35 km/h RSSI: -34.1 dBFS
Track: 90° (East) Last seen: now
Position: 39.039°, -120.970°
FR24 shows track from off the coast of Baha California
HBAL345 was picked up by my receiver in Austin a few days ago. I think the easiest way to find them is to load up flightradar24.com and se a filter to show only items over 50000 feet. They’re not all tagged as balloons for some reason.
I see there are currently several off the coast of Peru.
glad you asked the question!
Science balloons - we’ll find out in a month or two when it becomes science balloon season here. I see them visually in the sky but I didn’t have my ADS-B up last fall to see if they had ADS-B transponders. They have some kind of tracking that you can follow on a website but I don’t know if that is some kind of GPS tracking telemetry system or if it’s ADS-B that is being used.
Hot Air Balloons - during the October Balloon Fiesta, I’ll have to see if some of the hot air balloons have ADS-B trackers on them or not. It would be really cool if some hot air balloons or some of the racing gas balloons have ADS-B trackers - I think it’s more probable the gas balloons would even though it would be easy to use that info to cheat in a race.
Science balloon season must be in full swing.
FlightRadar24 shows 10 HBAL’s concentrated near the Oregon/Nevada/Idaho border.
The U.S. seems to have a monopoly on these types of operations. The only other one I could find, worldwide, was a flight near Pisco, Peru.
I got one of these today, near Santa Fe, New Mexico
yes, a Google Project Loon balloon was floating over central and northern New Mexico this morning.
It’s the second Project Loon balloon that approached Albuquerque and I was not able to observe it visually. I wonder if they are not as big as I would think or maybe their color makes it harder to observe.
HBAL207 and HBAL177 seen meandering by at the corner of NW Nebraska/SW So Dakota this morning at ~62000 feet