Date   

Re: Cutdown device?

Michael Hojnowski
 

Bill,

Ya, I plan a similar setup.  I want to make a tiny 3D printed box that the balloon line passes through between parachute and balloon.  The box will route the string just like Joe's setup.  It will have a small ESP32 board with bluetooth which can fire the nichrome.  The main payload will have an ESP32 bluetooth/LoRa  flight computer that can decide when to initiate cutdown.  I can either stick an accelerometer in there or use altitude or whatever.  I may put a second cutdown box between the chute and payload box so that if I get stuck in a tree, I have the option of abandoning the chute and cutting away.

I've fallen in love with the ESP32 boards.  They're SUPER cheap ($5 for the cutdown board I plan to use) and have a ton of functionality, and they're just as easy to program as arduino.  I'll probably be switching over to them for most of my applications.

So many projects, so little time!
Mike / KD2EAT

On 11/24/2020 12:17 PM, Bill Brown via groups.io wrote:
Hi Mike,

  I designed a cutdown many years ago that had a CR123 battery.  I supported the flight train through some ring lugs to keep it from moving (knotted the line where it went through the ring lugs.  I used a MOSFET to actuate the nichrome wire...a few inches coiled tightly around the flight line.  It flew above the parachute and had a small 434 MHz RF receiver which was activated by turning on the 434 MHz transmitter in the main payoad with a coded serial string.  The cutdown box weighed about 3 ounces and just spun around the parachute after cutting down the balloon.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hojnowski <kd2eat@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Nov 21, 2020 7:52 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Cutdown device?

Hey Joe,

I'm planning to make a quite similar setup myself.  Do you happen to know the current draw you get when that nichrome is engaged?   I'm trying to see if I can fire it with a FET and maybe run both the microcontroller I'll be using AND the nichrome from the same power source to save weight/volume on the cutdown device.  Knowing the current draw would help me understand whether I can ride out the "brown-out" when the voltage gets pulled down, or whether I might have to supplement with some caps/diodes or something to protect it.

Thanks for any info you might share,
Mike

On 11/21/2020 10:31 AM, Chief Surfer via groups.io wrote:
Hello Larry!

I invite you to review a cut down I made here.

Joe


Re: Cutdown device?

Michael Hojnowski
 

Joe,

That's awesome!  Thanks so much for making those measurements!  That'll really help with my planning.

Thanks again!
Mike / KD2EAT

On 11/24/2020 11:49 AM, Chief Surfer via groups.io wrote:
Hello Mike!

Using a FET would be pretty cool!

I set up my cutdown for the current measurement.  I used my DMM on the 20 A scale.  When I made the connection, the DMM spiked around 5 A.  After a several seconds, it settled in around 4.25 A.

The cutdown power supply for the nichrome is three Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries.  The energized length of nichrome is about 3/4 inch.  I used 26 AWG nichrome 80.

Joe


Re: Cutdown device?

Bill Brown
 

Hi Mike,

  I designed a cutdown many years ago that had a CR123 battery.  I supported the flight train through some ring lugs to keep it from moving (knotted the line where it went through the ring lugs.  I used a MOSFET to actuate the nichrome wire...a few inches coiled tightly around the flight line.  It flew above the parachute and had a small 434 MHz RF receiver which was activated by turning on the 434 MHz transmitter in the main payoad with a coded serial string.  The cutdown box weighed about 3 ounces and just spun around the parachute after cutting down the balloon.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hojnowski <kd2eat@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Nov 21, 2020 7:52 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Cutdown device?

Hey Joe,

I'm planning to make a quite similar setup myself.  Do you happen to know the current draw you get when that nichrome is engaged?   I'm trying to see if I can fire it with a FET and maybe run both the microcontroller I'll be using AND the nichrome from the same power source to save weight/volume on the cutdown device.  Knowing the current draw would help me understand whether I can ride out the "brown-out" when the voltage gets pulled down, or whether I might have to supplement with some caps/diodes or something to protect it.

Thanks for any info you might share,
Mike

On 11/21/2020 10:31 AM, Chief Surfer via groups.io wrote:
Hello Larry!

I invite you to review a cut down I made here.

Joe


Re: Cutdown device?

Chief Surfer
 

Hello Mike!

Using a FET would be pretty cool!

I set up my cutdown for the current measurement.  I used my DMM on the 20 A scale.  When I made the connection, the DMM spiked around 5 A.  After a several seconds, it settled in around 4.25 A.

The cutdown power supply for the nichrome is three Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries.  The energized length of nichrome is about 3/4 inch.  I used 26 AWG nichrome 80.

Joe


Re: Cutdown device?

Michael Hojnowski
 

Hey Joe,

I'm planning to make a quite similar setup myself.  Do you happen to know the current draw you get when that nichrome is engaged?   I'm trying to see if I can fire it with a FET and maybe run both the microcontroller I'll be using AND the nichrome from the same power source to save weight/volume on the cutdown device.  Knowing the current draw would help me understand whether I can ride out the "brown-out" when the voltage gets pulled down, or whether I might have to supplement with some caps/diodes or something to protect it.

Thanks for any info you might share,
Mike

On 11/21/2020 10:31 AM, Chief Surfer via groups.io wrote:
Hello Larry!

I invite you to review a cut down I made here.

Joe


Re: Surfs Up 9 Flight Report/The Selfie Mission

Chief Surfer
 

Greetings!

I posted Selfie Mission schematics, bills of material, and source code on Github.  I invite you to explore it here.

Thanks!

Joe
Chief Surfer
Surfing Satellites


Re: Cutdown device?

Chief Surfer
 

Hello Larry!

I invite you to review a cut down I made here.

Joe


Cutdown device?

Larry
 

I am making progress on the "Life in the Stratosphere" experiment.  I am not sure I am convinced but we have  decided "life" might be falling off the balloon. So we don't want to start collecting  until we are free from the balloon.  How do you make a cutdown device?  You wrap the line from the parachute to the balloon in nichrome wire?  Just a couple of wraps?  How much power should I have  in my power budget for this?  Any idea how long this is going to take to burn the payload free?

Larry
KJ6PBS


Re: 2010 GPSL Webex recordings

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

I'm still working on getting things updated on the Super Launch website, but all of the 2010 videos are now posted on YouTube in a Playlist. My apologies to Nick from EOSS as part of his recording was lost due to network issues at the time. The rest of the sessions came through pretty well though.



Zack Clobes, W0ZC
Project: Traveler
www.projecttraveler.org

Join us on Facebook for the latest information:



Project: Traveler is a research project of Custom Digital Services, LLC.

On Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 9:41 PM Zack Clobes <zclobes@...> wrote:
I'm still working on rendering these videos. I got the originals converted, and now I'm slicing up the event and will be uploading to YouTube in the next few days. 

It's been fun listening back through the old presentations. :-)


Zack

On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 4:36 PM Don, WA9WWS <wa9wws@...> wrote:
Thanks Zack.

I gave the presentation of the vertical pointing antenna; is it possible for me to download a copy of the video? 

Would you like the PowerPoint slides that I used to give the presentation?

Don, WA9WWS


Heartfelt Gratitude

Marty Griffin
 

Hello GPSL Friends,

This is a nice note of gratitude for Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) support for two flights Saturday, November 8, 2020 (eoss.org).  This is message serves as a reminder that if you would like your balloon program to grow, you might be well-advised to contact your state’s NASA Space Grant associated with one of your local universities.  Your help and expertise will be appreciated.  The Colorado Space Grant has been our partner for 20 years, helping to support and fund important curriculum-based learning for engineering students at 11 higher education schools across Colorado.  Through several of your Space Grant schools, you may enjoy the fun of inspiring students to pursue exciting engineering fields/careers as well as funding for balloons and gas.  I am sure that Bernadette Garcia (Colorado Space Grant Deputy Director) can help point your group in the right direction.

Hope this idea  helps grow your program.

  • Marty, EOSS, WA0GEH

 

From: Bernadette Garcia <bgarcia@...>
Sent: Monday, November 9, 2020 9:20 AM
To: Mark Patton <kc0d@...>; Lawndragon Ulysses <lawndragon@...>; Jim Langsted <jimlangsted@...>; Marty Griffin <mgriffin@...>; Russ Chadwick <russ4cwop@...>; Jeff Shykula <jshykula@...>; Jeff Deaton <deatojef@...>; N0NDM <n0ndm@...>
Cc: Christopher J Koehler <koehler@...>
Subject: Heartfelt Gratitude

 

Hi EOSS friends,

 

Please share this email with the entire team who helped on Saturday (and leading up to Saturday).

 

Wanted to express huge thanks to the EOSS team that made Saturday's launch possible.

 

Student excitement was high and everything ran so smoothly.

 

Our new staff member, Mareyna, was there.  She came to us from being a grad student working with Idaho Space Grant, where she launched balloons & payloads for 2 years.  There - students actually have to do the launching/tracking/recovery all on their own (with training).  Both she and her partner (who was also a student with her) were amazed at the incredible organization and support that enables CO Space Grant to focus on student payloads and experiences.

 

This was the first time we ever launched a string with "no students" attached - 20 payloads, but none of the students (from CU and Western Colorado University) were allowed to participate because of COVID directions from the campuses.  All of these students built payloads from the "kits" with online instructions.  They were able to participate during the day - watching live stream at the launch site & then tracking the flight on aprs.fi  They'll be picking up payloads today (shipping to WCU this afternoon) and then will be creating final reports of one kind or another.

 

Y'all enable us to continue our balloon payload program and to innovate and continue to develop programs as need and interest directs.

 

Thank you for your part in our pilot semester of the kits/online approach.  As long as there is interest at COSGC institutions across the state and with students in the CU Space Minor, it appears that the program will be moving forward for the foreseeable future - with many lessons learned this semester.  And of course DemoSat is still going strong - heading toward a 20 year anniversary before too many more months.

 

I hope the end of 2020 is filled with abundance, health, and well-being for you and yours.

 

See you next year!

 

with heartfelt gratitude,

peace,

Bernadette


Anybody looking at SpaceX's Starlink?

Jerry
 

I have been wondering if this might be a way to get a high speed link to a balloon.  Full time video might be interesting.

My guess is the equipment might be pretty heavy

Jerry Gable
Balloon Flight Prediction tools
http://www.s3research.com


Re: Project Loon post

Joe WB9SBD
 

I have been using flight waare to keep track of them, had one fly almost directly over me a few weeks ago passed only about a mile north of me.  classic pumpkin look in binoculars. was super bright in the clear blue sky in the middle of the afternoon.

Joe WB9SBD

The Original Rolling Ball Clock
Idle Tyme
Idle-Tyme.com
http://www.idle-tyme.com

On 10/31/2020 9:52 AM, Chuck Kimball via groups.io wrote:
An interesting post from the Project Loon folks on their floater.

It includes some time lapse of a burst.     Ah to have a budget like that...

https://medium.com/loon-for-all/312-days-in-the-stratosphere-5c50bd233ec5 <https://medium.com/loon-for-all/312-days-in-the-stratosphere-5c50bd233ec5>

Regards

Chuck Kimball  n0nhj
Tacoma, WA











Project Loon post

Chuck Kimball
 

An interesting post from the Project Loon folks on their floater.

It includes some time lapse of a burst.     Ah to have a budget like that...

https://medium.com/loon-for-all/312-days-in-the-stratosphere-5c50bd233ec5 <https://medium.com/loon-for-all/312-days-in-the-stratosphere-5c50bd233ec5>

Regards

Chuck Kimball  n0nhj
Tacoma, WA


Fw: Open positions @ World View

Jack Crabtree
 


------ Forwarded Message --------
From: World View <info@...>
Date: 10/20/2020 9:41:59 AM
Subject: Open positions @ World View
To: Jack Crabtree <jscra@...>

Hello World View Researchers Mailing List Members,

As World View continues to grow, partner with other organizations, and innovate our Stratollite platform, we need to bring in more outstanding individuals and add to our teams. We are currently actively hiring for the following roles:

•Director, Stratospheric Science Group
•RF Systems Engineer
•Software Engineer (Full-Stack)
•Systems Modeling Scientist

These roles will play an important part in World View’s future and help our teams further develop our unique and innovative Stratolite platform. It is an exciting time at World View as we are flying mission for NASA and many other customers, and also partnering with other organizations, such as Geo Owl LLC and NOAA, to take on new projects, utilize our platform to gain extraordinary data, and discover more of the unique aspects of the Stratosphere.

To be considered for any of these positions, applicants must be a US Citizen, as these individuals must be available to obtain security clearance.

For more information on these opportunities and to apply, please reach out to Ian Ambrosio (iambrosio@...), and take a look at these job postings on our World View Website at the links listed below.

World View - Director, Stratospheric Science Group
World View - RF Systems Engineer
World View - Software Engineer (Full-Stack)
World View - Systems Modeling Scientist

Thank you                   
                                                                






This email was sent to jscra@...
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
World View · 1805 E Aerospace Parkway · Tucson, AZ 85756 · USA


Re: Don Piccard, balloon pioneer, is dead at 94

Jayant Murthy
 

fascinating story.
Jayant

On Thursday, October 15, 2020, 5:16:16 AM GMT+5:30, Jeff Ducklow <jeffducklow@...> wrote:


Thanks for posting this.  

On Oct 14, 2020, at 6:33 PM, Hank Riley via groups.io <n1ltv@...> wrote:

Don Piccard, a Pioneer Who Soared, Is Dead at 94

By Penelope Green

He was balloon royalty, the son of scientist parents who reached the stratosphere. He went on to build balloons — and set records — of his own.

Image Credit...Don Gangloff, via Minnesota Historical Society, via Mary Louise Piccard


  • Published Oct. 13, 2020Updated Oct. 14, 2020, 4:34 p.m. ET

Don Piccard, a pioneer in the sport of hot-air ballooning and scion of a balloon family whose parents reached the stratosphere, died on Sept. 13 at a hospice center in St. Paul, Minn. He was 94.

His daughter Mary Louise confirmed his death but did not specify a cause.

In 1947, when he was just 21, Mr. Piccard made the front page of The New York Times, among many other newspapers, for his solo flight in a salvaged (and improved) Japanese Fu-Go balloon, floating aloft for two hours over Minneapolis. (Fu-Gos were enormous paper balloons loaded with explosives and sent across the Pacific by the Japanese during World War II in the hope that they would crash and burn along the California and Canadian coasts; the few that survived were salvaged by the U.S. military.)

But Mr. Piccard was already ballooning royalty. His scientist parents had flown a balloon to the stratosphere in 1934.

Mr. Piccard made headlines again in 1963, when he and Ed Yost, a former bush pilot and aeronautics engineer, crossed the English Channel in a balloon. Mr. Yost designed the modern hot-air balloon, with air heated by propane — as opposed to the more expensive and dangerous hydrogen- or helium-filled balloons first launched by French noblemen in 1783.

In an effort to land before the winds changed, Mr. Piccard and Mr. Yost made a rapid descent and crashed in a muddy field. Mr. Piccard said it was the closest he had come to being killed, while Mr. Yost, who died in 2007, said he was more frightened by the ride offered them by the French police to the ceremony in their honor.


In 1963, Mr. Piccard and Ed Yost completed the first hot-air balloon flght across the English Channel. In an effort to land before the winds changed, they made a rapid descent and crashed in a muddy field.
Image Credit... Jean Tesseyre/Paris Match, via Getty Images


Mr. Piccard had had close calls before. A decade earlier, he and his wife, Joan, and a crew had taken a writer and photographer for Sports Illustrated, Coles Phinizy, on a gas balloon flight from Valley Forge, Pa. At 4,200 feet, the fabric ripped and they began to plummet.

On the way down, Mr. Piccard, typically calm and coolheaded, had the crew practice bracing for the inevitable crash landing by holding tight to the basket’s edges. On the terrifying descent, as Mr. Phinizy wrote in his account for the magazine, the balloon missed power lines, hit an asparagus field and bounced into a field of barley. Ms. Piccard broke her leg and foot; Mr. Phinizy broke his toes.

When a state trooper arrived to make an accident report, brandishing his form, he asked, “Make or model?”

“It was a convertible,” a passer-by suggested.

Mr. Piccard once told an interviewer he preferred ballooning in the winter, because you don’t have to pay for crop damage.

Driven by concerns about safety, Mr. Piccard would go on to design and manufacture his own balloons, which were distinguished by their airy wicker baskets, undulating shape and reinforcing load tapes, a safety innovation that bolstered the fabric seams.

A Piccard balloon made pop-music history when a teenage Jimmy Webb, the hitmaking songwriter behind “Wichita Lineman” and “MacArthur Park,” took a ride in one at a radio station event in Colton, Calif.

“The experience was an epiphany, a delightful introduction to an ancient form of flight,” Mr. Webb recalled in an email. “That led to my writing later that week, in a practice room at San Bernardino College, ‘Up, Up and Away.’” It was, Mr. Webb said, the fastest he has ever written a song — it took him barely 30 minutes to compose.

“Up, Up and Away,” as recorded by the 5th Dimension, would reach the Billboard Top 10 and win multiple Grammys in 1968. It has since been recorded by numerous other artists.

Mr. Webb also said that Marc Gordon, the group’s manager, and Florence LaRue, one of the group’s singers, were married in a Piccard balloon, with Mr. Piccard at the helm.

“Don was a slightly eccentric, lithe man with sparkling dark eyes and a fine Gallic nose,” Mr. Webb said, “and a busyness and enthusiasm about him.”

Donald Louis Piccard was born on Jan. 13, 1926, in Lausanne, Switzerland. His mother, Jeannette (Ridlon) Piccard, was a scientist and a high-altitude balloonist, and her 1934 flight with her husband made her the first woman to reach the stratosphere in a balloon. (In 1974, when she was 79, she would become an Episcopal priest, one of the first American women to be ordained.)

His father, Jean-Felix Piccard, a Swiss-born chemical engineer, had made his first flight in 1913 with his twin brother, Auguste, who went on to design underwater diving vessels. The twins were inspired by Jules Verne to imagine an enclosed balloon ship, and it was that design that sent first Auguste, in a record-breaking flight in Europe, and then Jean and Jeannette, who took off from Dearborn, Mich., to the stratosphere.

The Piccards had been teaching organic chemistry in Lausanne when Don was born; they moved to the United States when Jean-Felix Piccard was offered a job at M.I.T., and to Minneapolis in 1936 when he took a position teaching aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Don Piccard attended the University of Minnesota and Swarthmore College. He served in the Navy as a balloon and airship rigger during World War II, and at a naval air station in New Jersey during the Korean War.

In the 1950s, he worked for G.T. Schjeldahl, a Minnesota plastics company that was developing Mylar communications balloons. Mary Louise Piccard recalled that on summer nights, from the dock of her family’s island on a lake in northern Minnesota, her father would point out the Echo weather satellite, which he had worked on, passing overhead.


Mr. Piccard in 2018 at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Conn.
Image Credit...via Mary Louise Piccard




Image Credit...via The Big Black Bird


Flying was a family affair, Mary Louise Piccard described weekends working in her father’s balloon loft in Newport Beach, Calif., with her sisters, Elizabeth and Wendy, and their mother, Joan Piccard.

In the summer of 1967, the family traveled all over Europe flying the “Golden Bear,” a balloon designed in the colors of the state flag of California. That same year, Mr. Piccard appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” after having taken Mr. Carson for a ride.

“He was instrumental in keeping sport ballooning alive in the 1950s, and single-handedly created the modern sport of hot-air ballooning in the 1960s,” Richard M. Douglass, a balloon historian, wrote in the November-December issue of the magazine Ballooning. He envisioned the sport as being akin to yacht racing or polo, “with elegant balloons launched from the lawns of country estates, ” Mr. Douglass wrote.

In 1962, Mr. Piccard organized the country’s first hot-air balloon race, for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, launching from the solidly frozen White Bear Lake. In 2012, a half-century later, at the age of 86, he recreated that flight.

Mr. Piccard’s marriage to Joan Russell, who wrote a young-adult adventure novel about a balloonist, ended in divorce. In addition to his daughters, Mr. Piccard is survived by his wife, Wilma Piccard; a stepdaughter, Mary Eckmeier; two stepsons, Lyle Eckmeier and Chuck Eckmeier; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Piccard never lost his awe for the romance of ballooning, a sport in which you never knew where you were going or when you might get there. Whenever he was about to launch a balloon, someone would invariably ask where he was headed, and he would look at the sky before giving his usual answer: “Wherever the wind takes me.”



Re: Don Piccard, balloon pioneer, is dead at 94

Jeff Ducklow
 

Thanks for posting this.  

On Oct 14, 2020, at 6:33 PM, Hank Riley via groups.io <n1ltv@...> wrote:

Don Piccard, a Pioneer Who Soared, Is Dead at 94

By Penelope Green

He was balloon royalty, the son of scientist parents who reached the stratosphere. He went on to build balloons — and set records — of his own.

Image Credit...Don Gangloff, via Minnesota Historical Society, via Mary Louise Piccard


  • Published Oct. 13, 2020Updated Oct. 14, 2020, 4:34 p.m. ET

Don Piccard, a pioneer in the sport of hot-air ballooning and scion of a balloon family whose parents reached the stratosphere, died on Sept. 13 at a hospice center in St. Paul, Minn. He was 94.

His daughter Mary Louise confirmed his death but did not specify a cause.

In 1947, when he was just 21, Mr. Piccard made the front page of The New York Times, among many other newspapers, for his solo flight in a salvaged (and improved) Japanese Fu-Go balloon, floating aloft for two hours over Minneapolis. (Fu-Gos were enormous paper balloons loaded with explosives and sent across the Pacific by the Japanese during World War II in the hope that they would crash and burn along the California and Canadian coasts; the few that survived were salvaged by the U.S. military.)

But Mr. Piccard was already ballooning royalty. His scientist parents had flown a balloon to the stratosphere in 1934.

Mr. Piccard made headlines again in 1963, when he and Ed Yost, a former bush pilot and aeronautics engineer, crossed the English Channel in a balloon. Mr. Yost designed the modern hot-air balloon, with air heated by propane — as opposed to the more expensive and dangerous hydrogen- or helium-filled balloons first launched by French noblemen in 1783.

In an effort to land before the winds changed, Mr. Piccard and Mr. Yost made a rapid descent and crashed in a muddy field. Mr. Piccard said it was the closest he had come to being killed, while Mr. Yost, who died in 2007, said he was more frightened by the ride offered them by the French police to the ceremony in their honor.


In 1963, Mr. Piccard and Ed Yost completed the first hot-air balloon flght across the English Channel. In an effort to land before the winds changed, they made a rapid descent and crashed in a muddy field.
Image Credit... Jean Tesseyre/Paris Match, via Getty Images


Mr. Piccard had had close calls before. A decade earlier, he and his wife, Joan, and a crew had taken a writer and photographer for Sports Illustrated, Coles Phinizy, on a gas balloon flight from Valley Forge, Pa. At 4,200 feet, the fabric ripped and they began to plummet.

On the way down, Mr. Piccard, typically calm and coolheaded, had the crew practice bracing for the inevitable crash landing by holding tight to the basket’s edges. On the terrifying descent, as Mr. Phinizy wrote in his account for the magazine, the balloon missed power lines, hit an asparagus field and bounced into a field of barley. Ms. Piccard broke her leg and foot; Mr. Phinizy broke his toes.

When a state trooper arrived to make an accident report, brandishing his form, he asked, “Make or model?”

“It was a convertible,” a passer-by suggested.

Mr. Piccard once told an interviewer he preferred ballooning in the winter, because you don’t have to pay for crop damage.

Driven by concerns about safety, Mr. Piccard would go on to design and manufacture his own balloons, which were distinguished by their airy wicker baskets, undulating shape and reinforcing load tapes, a safety innovation that bolstered the fabric seams.

A Piccard balloon made pop-music history when a teenage Jimmy Webb, the hitmaking songwriter behind “Wichita Lineman” and “MacArthur Park,” took a ride in one at a radio station event in Colton, Calif.

“The experience was an epiphany, a delightful introduction to an ancient form of flight,” Mr. Webb recalled in an email. “That led to my writing later that week, in a practice room at San Bernardino College, ‘Up, Up and Away.’” It was, Mr. Webb said, the fastest he has ever written a song — it took him barely 30 minutes to compose.

“Up, Up and Away,” as recorded by the 5th Dimension, would reach the Billboard Top 10 and win multiple Grammys in 1968. It has since been recorded by numerous other artists.

Mr. Webb also said that Marc Gordon, the group’s manager, and Florence LaRue, one of the group’s singers, were married in a Piccard balloon, with Mr. Piccard at the helm.

“Don was a slightly eccentric, lithe man with sparkling dark eyes and a fine Gallic nose,” Mr. Webb said, “and a busyness and enthusiasm about him.”

Donald Louis Piccard was born on Jan. 13, 1926, in Lausanne, Switzerland. His mother, Jeannette (Ridlon) Piccard, was a scientist and a high-altitude balloonist, and her 1934 flight with her husband made her the first woman to reach the stratosphere in a balloon. (In 1974, when she was 79, she would become an Episcopal priest, one of the first American women to be ordained.)

His father, Jean-Felix Piccard, a Swiss-born chemical engineer, had made his first flight in 1913 with his twin brother, Auguste, who went on to design underwater diving vessels. The twins were inspired by Jules Verne to imagine an enclosed balloon ship, and it was that design that sent first Auguste, in a record-breaking flight in Europe, and then Jean and Jeannette, who took off from Dearborn, Mich., to the stratosphere.

The Piccards had been teaching organic chemistry in Lausanne when Don was born; they moved to the United States when Jean-Felix Piccard was offered a job at M.I.T., and to Minneapolis in 1936 when he took a position teaching aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Don Piccard attended the University of Minnesota and Swarthmore College. He served in the Navy as a balloon and airship rigger during World War II, and at a naval air station in New Jersey during the Korean War.

In the 1950s, he worked for G.T. Schjeldahl, a Minnesota plastics company that was developing Mylar communications balloons. Mary Louise Piccard recalled that on summer nights, from the dock of her family’s island on a lake in northern Minnesota, her father would point out the Echo weather satellite, which he had worked on, passing overhead.


Mr. Piccard in 2018 at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Conn.
Image Credit...via Mary Louise Piccard




Image Credit...via The Big Black Bird


Flying was a family affair, Mary Louise Piccard described weekends working in her father’s balloon loft in Newport Beach, Calif., with her sisters, Elizabeth and Wendy, and their mother, Joan Piccard.

In the summer of 1967, the family traveled all over Europe flying the “Golden Bear,” a balloon designed in the colors of the state flag of California. That same year, Mr. Piccard appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” after having taken Mr. Carson for a ride.

“He was instrumental in keeping sport ballooning alive in the 1950s, and single-handedly created the modern sport of hot-air ballooning in the 1960s,” Richard M. Douglass, a balloon historian, wrote in the November-December issue of the magazine Ballooning. He envisioned the sport as being akin to yacht racing or polo, “with elegant balloons launched from the lawns of country estates, ” Mr. Douglass wrote.

In 1962, Mr. Piccard organized the country’s first hot-air balloon race, for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, launching from the solidly frozen White Bear Lake. In 2012, a half-century later, at the age of 86, he recreated that flight.

Mr. Piccard’s marriage to Joan Russell, who wrote a young-adult adventure novel about a balloonist, ended in divorce. In addition to his daughters, Mr. Piccard is survived by his wife, Wilma Piccard; a stepdaughter, Mary Eckmeier; two stepsons, Lyle Eckmeier and Chuck Eckmeier; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Piccard never lost his awe for the romance of ballooning, a sport in which you never knew where you were going or when you might get there. Whenever he was about to launch a balloon, someone would invariably ask where he was headed, and he would look at the sky before giving his usual answer: “Wherever the wind takes me.”



Don Piccard, balloon pioneer, is dead at 94

Hank Riley
 

Don Piccard, a Pioneer Who Soared, Is Dead at 94

By Penelope Green

He was balloon royalty, the son of scientist parents who reached the stratosphere. He went on to build balloons — and set records — of his own.

Image Credit...Don Gangloff, via Minnesota Historical Society, via Mary Louise Piccard


  • Published Oct. 13, 2020Updated Oct. 14, 2020, 4:34 p.m. ET

Don Piccard, a pioneer in the sport of hot-air ballooning and scion of a balloon family whose parents reached the stratosphere, died on Sept. 13 at a hospice center in St. Paul, Minn. He was 94.

His daughter Mary Louise confirmed his death but did not specify a cause.

In 1947, when he was just 21, Mr. Piccard made the front page of The New York Times, among many other newspapers, for his solo flight in a salvaged (and improved) Japanese Fu-Go balloon, floating aloft for two hours over Minneapolis. (Fu-Gos were enormous paper balloons loaded with explosives and sent across the Pacific by the Japanese during World War II in the hope that they would crash and burn along the California and Canadian coasts; the few that survived were salvaged by the U.S. military.)

But Mr. Piccard was already ballooning royalty. His scientist parents had flown a balloon to the stratosphere in 1934.

Mr. Piccard made headlines again in 1963, when he and Ed Yost, a former bush pilot and aeronautics engineer, crossed the English Channel in a balloon. Mr. Yost designed the modern hot-air balloon, with air heated by propane — as opposed to the more expensive and dangerous hydrogen- or helium-filled balloons first launched by French noblemen in 1783.

In an effort to land before the winds changed, Mr. Piccard and Mr. Yost made a rapid descent and crashed in a muddy field. Mr. Piccard said it was the closest he had come to being killed, while Mr. Yost, who died in 2007, said he was more frightened by the ride offered them by the French police to the ceremony in their honor.


In 1963, Mr. Piccard and Ed Yost completed the first hot-air balloon flght across the English Channel. In an effort to land before the winds changed, they made a rapid descent and crashed in a muddy field.
Image Credit... Jean Tesseyre/Paris Match, via Getty Images


Mr. Piccard had had close calls before. A decade earlier, he and his wife, Joan, and a crew had taken a writer and photographer for Sports Illustrated, Coles Phinizy, on a gas balloon flight from Valley Forge, Pa. At 4,200 feet, the fabric ripped and they began to plummet.

On the way down, Mr. Piccard, typically calm and coolheaded, had the crew practice bracing for the inevitable crash landing by holding tight to the basket’s edges. On the terrifying descent, as Mr. Phinizy wrote in his account for the magazine, the balloon missed power lines, hit an asparagus field and bounced into a field of barley. Ms. Piccard broke her leg and foot; Mr. Phinizy broke his toes.

When a state trooper arrived to make an accident report, brandishing his form, he asked, “Make or model?”

“It was a convertible,” a passer-by suggested.

Mr. Piccard once told an interviewer he preferred ballooning in the winter, because you don’t have to pay for crop damage.

Driven by concerns about safety, Mr. Piccard would go on to design and manufacture his own balloons, which were distinguished by their airy wicker baskets, undulating shape and reinforcing load tapes, a safety innovation that bolstered the fabric seams.

A Piccard balloon made pop-music history when a teenage Jimmy Webb, the hitmaking songwriter behind “Wichita Lineman” and “MacArthur Park,” took a ride in one at a radio station event in Colton, Calif.

“The experience was an epiphany, a delightful introduction to an ancient form of flight,” Mr. Webb recalled in an email. “That led to my writing later that week, in a practice room at San Bernardino College, ‘Up, Up and Away.’” It was, Mr. Webb said, the fastest he has ever written a song — it took him barely 30 minutes to compose.

“Up, Up and Away,” as recorded by the 5th Dimension, would reach the Billboard Top 10 and win multiple Grammys in 1968. It has since been recorded by numerous other artists.

Mr. Webb also said that Marc Gordon, the group’s manager, and Florence LaRue, one of the group’s singers, were married in a Piccard balloon, with Mr. Piccard at the helm.

“Don was a slightly eccentric, lithe man with sparkling dark eyes and a fine Gallic nose,” Mr. Webb said, “and a busyness and enthusiasm about him.”

Donald Louis Piccard was born on Jan. 13, 1926, in Lausanne, Switzerland. His mother, Jeannette (Ridlon) Piccard, was a scientist and a high-altitude balloonist, and her 1934 flight with her husband made her the first woman to reach the stratosphere in a balloon. (In 1974, when she was 79, she would become an Episcopal priest, one of the first American women to be ordained.)

His father, Jean-Felix Piccard, a Swiss-born chemical engineer, had made his first flight in 1913 with his twin brother, Auguste, who went on to design underwater diving vessels. The twins were inspired by Jules Verne to imagine an enclosed balloon ship, and it was that design that sent first Auguste, in a record-breaking flight in Europe, and then Jean and Jeannette, who took off from Dearborn, Mich., to the stratosphere.

The Piccards had been teaching organic chemistry in Lausanne when Don was born; they moved to the United States when Jean-Felix Piccard was offered a job at M.I.T., and to Minneapolis in 1936 when he took a position teaching aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Don Piccard attended the University of Minnesota and Swarthmore College. He served in the Navy as a balloon and airship rigger during World War II, and at a naval air station in New Jersey during the Korean War.

In the 1950s, he worked for G.T. Schjeldahl, a Minnesota plastics company that was developing Mylar communications balloons. Mary Louise Piccard recalled that on summer nights, from the dock of her family’s island on a lake in northern Minnesota, her father would point out the Echo weather satellite, which he had worked on, passing overhead.


Mr. Piccard in 2018 at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Conn.
Image Credit...via Mary Louise Piccard




Image Credit...via The Big Black Bird


Flying was a family affair, Mary Louise Piccard described weekends working in her father’s balloon loft in Newport Beach, Calif., with her sisters, Elizabeth and Wendy, and their mother, Joan Piccard.

In the summer of 1967, the family traveled all over Europe flying the “Golden Bear,” a balloon designed in the colors of the state flag of California. That same year, Mr. Piccard appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” after having taken Mr. Carson for a ride.

“He was instrumental in keeping sport ballooning alive in the 1950s, and single-handedly created the modern sport of hot-air ballooning in the 1960s,” Richard M. Douglass, a balloon historian, wrote in the November-December issue of the magazine Ballooning. He envisioned the sport as being akin to yacht racing or polo, “with elegant balloons launched from the lawns of country estates, ” Mr. Douglass wrote.

In 1962, Mr. Piccard organized the country’s first hot-air balloon race, for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, launching from the solidly frozen White Bear Lake. In 2012, a half-century later, at the age of 86, he recreated that flight.

Mr. Piccard’s marriage to Joan Russell, who wrote a young-adult adventure novel about a balloonist, ended in divorce. In addition to his daughters, Mr. Piccard is survived by his wife, Wilma Piccard; a stepdaughter, Mary Eckmeier; two stepsons, Lyle Eckmeier and Chuck Eckmeier; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Piccard never lost his awe for the romance of ballooning, a sport in which you never knew where you were going or when you might get there. Whenever he was about to launch a balloon, someone would invariably ask where he was headed, and he would look at the sky before giving his usual answer: “Wherever the wind takes me.”


More links to the Smithsonian Institute pico balloon launches

Bill Brown
 

Here's the Twitter feed showing some of the students, teachers and hams launching the 11 pico balloons today.  https://twitter.com/search?q=BalloonLaunchLive&src=typed_query

The main page of the Smithsonian launch event: https://airandspace.si.edu/events/live-balloon-launch-across-america

- Bill WB8ELK


Multiple pico balloon launches across the US sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute

Bill Brown
 

The Smithsonian Institute launched 11 of my APRS Skytracker boards from schools across the US an hour or two ago.  Here's the Habhub link showing all of the balloons in the air: 

https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=11&qm=1_day&mc=40.35173,-111.58133&q=!RS_*;kd4kwl-1;k4nva-1;nw3dc-1;nw3dc-2;ke5bor-1;kg7kyw-1;wa7rig-1;n0tfu-1;ks1las-1;ke0iyf-1

- Bill WB8ELK


Re: 2010 GPSL Webex recordings

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

I'm still working on rendering these videos. I got the originals converted, and now I'm slicing up the event and will be uploading to YouTube in the next few days. 

It's been fun listening back through the old presentations. :-)


Zack


On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 4:36 PM Don, WA9WWS <wa9wws@...> wrote:
Thanks Zack.

I gave the presentation of the vertical pointing antenna; is it possible for me to download a copy of the video? 

Would you like the PowerPoint slides that I used to give the presentation?

Don, WA9WWS