An Australian balloon again crosses the equator

14:41 Fernando Luiz de Souza 0 Comments

The antics of pico solar powered high altitude balloon PS-58 had many USA and Canadian radio amateurs somewhat surprised as the Aussie floated, and lingered in the Northern Hemisphere.

Launched by Andy VK3YT from Melbourne on December 29, it entered El Salvador, went over Honduras, across the Caribbean Sea to Jamaica, Haiti and out to the North Atlantic.

The flight looped back again to near South America, then did a sharp bend to go east again towards Africa, where first to hear it was Ken Gurr ZS6KN/2 of Pretoria, South Africa.

Andy VK3YT is thought to be the only person with such balloons to cross the equator, not once but twice.

Earlier balloon PS-57 launched on December 12 went across the Pacific, then into the Northern Hemisphere through South America’s Peru, Columbia and Venezuela, dipped back over the equator to loop over the India Ocean.

There it had survived some rough weather with multiple losses of altitude.

However, after 4 weeks, 1 day and 18 hours of flying time, PS-57 went down in bad weather.

Mal Good VK6MT reported the demise midway between South Africa and Australia.

Andy VK3YT also floated two balloons in the Northern Hemisphere while on a business trip to San Jose in California in September last year - achieving another first.

Jim Linton VK3PC

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