Two get very high, and other hot air balloon related foolery

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Even though I have started at the Gym my weight refuses to drop further. I wonder if its because I've not really made too many changes to the old diet.

Guess its time to knuckle down and get on with it.

Things are beginning to come together for the practice on the first weekend of April. I have dropped a laptop off at Antbear to be connected to Andrews always on Sat connection that will be the relay point for the APRS data.

Most other ducks seem to be in a row, lets see what the weather does ;-)

Lev has been very quiet about his exercise and diet!


Friday, March 18, 2005

Training, mind the gap

Well I've gone and done it. First go at the gym!! Very dull staying in the same place and adding metres of distance so I thought I'd imagine heading towards the studio in Durban, not sure how far that is From Nottingham Road, I'll find out but I'm 9km closer now anyway. Like to see if Lev can beat me coming the other way. Guess it will be harder as its uphill.

The main thing that has frightened me into training is that we will taking a ride in the hyperbaric chamber in Pretoria, early April and they will take us to 27,000' the highest it can go and then exercise us up to 30k!!

I know that being unfit does not help in those things along with any alcohol that might be hanging around your system and tension or fear of being there.

its something i've always wanted to do, being taken to great altitude and made to do embarassing things before you faint, but it is worrying.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Great news yet more nerd stuff Stuart Baynes the man behind data tracking for the flight is going for the callsign ZS0 HOT which listners and radio hams will be able to track.

Its nerd nirvana



Picking up the 1:50000 map images, all 20 of them for the flight area today, I'll have to then reference them for Ozi Explorer, the moving map program we will use and then the crew and us should'nt get lost!!!

As we will be travelling across areas without roads it will be important for the crew to be able to plan ahead and take the appropriate routes.

I will also populate the maps with hundreds of waypoints on the end of roads and try and get the balloon to one of them.

The simplest thing to do will be call the guys on a cell phone once we have landed and say we are at or near point x or y

All my nerdy computer powers will come to the fore today hooray. At last a use for a dull interest.


Lev seems to have gone very quiet, frightened I reckon

Friday, March 04, 2005

Out of Breath

Oxygen is becoming an issue on two fronts

1. Its all very very scary

2. Flying to 30k takes us into the barrier between relatively simple systems and complex learn how to use systems.

The simple method involves a regulator and mask as you climb you adjust the regulator for the flow of oxygen required, at 30k it’s about 2 lt a minute.

Now 30k is the very limit of this sort of system so it would be much safer to have a pulsed system which actually when you breath in forces more oxygen in then you would normally take.

These systems are used by the military for high altitude parachute jumps and other stuff.

Lev and I will have to go and learn how to breathe again!! It is a deliberate act with these systems apparently for some you have to suck first!!!

I keeping remembering the 45 seconds time of useful consciousness if it all goes Pete Tong.

For the test flights to 20k we will use the simple system with masks and Lev will be in charge of keeping us alive!!