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100,000 feet in a BALLOON?

msuspartans24

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A friend of mine says he read somewhere that a manned balloon has reached 100,000 feet. Anyone know if there is any truth to this.
 

semperfido

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google is a wonderful thing!-:)

"1961, US Navy Officers Victor A. Prather, Jr and Malcolm Ross rose from a zero-pressure balloon at an altitude of 113,739.9 feet."
 

Stifler's Mom

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Larry Walters

Larry's boyhood dream was to fly. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately, poor eyesight disqualified him. When he was finally discharged, he had to satisfy himself with watching jets fly over his backyard.

One day, Larry, had a bright idea. He decided to fly. He went to the local Army-Navy surplus store and purchased 45 weather balloons and several tanks of helium. The weather balloons, when fully inflated, would measure more than four feet across. Back home, Larry securely strapped the balloons to his sturdy lawn chair. He anchored the chair to the bumper of his jeep and inflated the balloons with the helium. He climbed on for a test while it was still only a few feet above the ground. Satisfied it would work, Larry packed several sandwiches and a six-pack of Miller Lite, loaded his pellet gun-figuring he could pop a few balloons when it was time to descend-and went back to the floating lawn chair. He tied himself in along with his pellet gun and provisions. Larry's plan was to lazily float up to a height of about 30 feet above his back yard after severing the anchor and in a few hours come back down. Things didn't quite work out that way. When he cut the cord anchoring the lawn chair to his jeep, he didn't float lazily up to 30 or so feet. Instead he streaked into the LA sky as if shot from a cannon.

He didn't level of at 30 feet, nor did he level off at 100 feet. After climbing and climbing, he leveled off at 11,000 feet. At that height he couldn't risk shooting any of the balloons, lest he unbalance the load and really find himself in trouble. So he stayed there, drifting, cold and frightened, for more than 14 hours. Then he really got in trouble. He found himself drifting into the primary approach corridor of Los Angeles International Airport. A United pilot first spotted Larry. He radioed the tower and described passing a guy in a lawn chair with a gun. Radar confirmed the existence of an object floating 11,000 feet above the airport. LAX emergency procedures swung into full alert and a helicopter was dispatched to investigate. LAX is right on the ocean. Night was falling and the offshore breeze began to flow. It carried Larry out to sea with the helicopter in hot pursuit. Several miles out, the helicopter caught up with Larry. Once the crew determined that Larry was not dangerous, they attempted to close in for a rescue but the draft from the blades would push Larry away whenever they neared. Finally, the helicopter ascended to a position several hundred feet above Larry and lowered a rescue line. Larry snagged the line and was hauled back to shore. The difficult maneuver was flawlessly executed by the helicopter crew. As soon as Larry was hauled to earth, he was arrested by waiting members of the LAPD for violating LAX airspace. As he was led away in handcuffs, a reporter dispatched to cover the daring rescue asked why he had done it. Larry stopped, turned and replied nonchalantly, "A man can't just sit around."
 

El Bucho

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They USAF guy in the 60's took the ride up and then jumped out. Think the purpose was to test high-velocity opening parachutes. Anyway, the point is that he broke Mach 1 in free fall...Watch your step, the first one is a doozy :)
 

idratherfly4283

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umm it is not even possible to break mach 1 as a human, our terminal velocity is much lower than that and even at that altitude the speed of sound is still faster, i might be missing something about this story though.
 

Almerick07

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Think the purpose was to test high-velocity opening parachutes. Anyway, the point is that he broke Mach 1 in free fall
Wouldnt you love to have that job....
"ok Bob get up there and see if that shoot opens once you hit mach 1"
 

Crimson03

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Joseph Kittenger is the one who made the 100,000+ foot parachute jump in the 60's. Steve Fossett is attempting to break 100,000 feet in a sailplane using mountain wave. There is a hell of a lot more interesting things that fly then powered airplanes.
 

banned username 2

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idratherfly4283 said:
umm it is not even possible to break mach 1 as a human, our terminal velocity is much lower than that and even at that altitude the speed of sound is still faster, i might be missing something about this story though.
Remember, you are thinking of terminal verocity of the very dense air in the lower atmosphere...

"In freefall for four and a half minutes, Kittinger fell at speeds up to 714 mph, exceeding the speed of sound. He experienced temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit. Kittinger opened his parachute at 18,000 feet and landed safely in the New Mexico desert after a 13 minute 45 second descent."

http://www.af.mil/history/person.asp?dec=1960&pid=123006518
 

Sig

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idratherfly4283 said:
umm it is not even possible to break mach 1 as a human, our terminal velocity is much lower than that and even at that altitude the speed of sound is still faster, i might be missing something about this story though.
Umm, true airspeed varies with density as does the speed of sound. Think about what Mach 1 they're talking about... On top of all of that, I'd trust the NASA guys.

You're on the right track, though: if he had kept up that pace all the way down into the twenties, he'd have gone transonic LOCALLY and been in serious, serious trouble. He was freefalling, unfettered, and was making some serious headway when he blew through the speed of sound in an ideal gas at ISA.

Doncha have a barber pole in that turboprop your time is risin' in? Wonder why it moves? Same reason. Yon ship flyeth faster with respect to Vmo at a given airspeed as ye climb... right? Except the engineers are kinda fudging it a little with exactly which Mach 1 the jumper exceeded.

It's like asking a transon dispatcher how long will a flight take at Mach .83? He'd have no idea. .83 at sea level? 330?

** dang, you guys are fast.
 

FastCargo

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That's gotta be an awesome view...nothing between you and the open sky but the literal clothes on your back...

FastCargo
 

bigD

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He found himself drifting into the primary approach corridor of Los Angeles International Airport. A United pilot first spotted Larry. He radioed the tower and described passing a guy in a lawn chair with a gun. Radar confirmed the existence of an object floating 11,000 feet above the airport.
What, the guy in the lawn chair had his Mode C on? :)
 

onthebeach

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Mach varies in a given material dependent solely on temperature, and is not dependent on density (or pressure) of the given material.

For air, the Speed of sound, in knots = 39 x (sqrt K), where K is the local air temperature in degrees Kelvin (which equals temp in deg C, plus 273).

Example: ISA tropopause temp = -56C = 217 K. sqrt 217 = 14.7; 39 times this figure = 573. Therefore Mach 1 at ISA tropopause = 573 knots.

The speed of sound is much faster in other materials, such as water or steel, than it is in air; however in each given material the speed of sound will vary based on the temperature of that material.
 

Floyd R. Turbo

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FastCargo said:
That's gotta be an awesome view...nothing between you and the open sky but the literal clothes on your back...

FastCargo
My fifth grade reading book had a story about his jump, sort of a "You Are There" kind of thing.... with a picture taken by an automatic camera on board the balloon. Even then I thought, hmm.... beats working....
 

Buffettpilot

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I met Kittinger and had an interesting conversation with him. He said he is the only guy to go supersonic without the aid of an aircraft. Must have been fun to jump at 100,000 plus, break the sound barrier and then land safely under a chute.

Look him up under google and you will see the accomplishments of this guy
 

Hugh Johnson

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This is off subject a little, but there was an airforce flight surgeon cross qualified as a pilot who was testing that rig used to pick up special forces, like in "The Green Beret" movie. Supposedly he was the first guy (military maybe) to land a plane he hadn't taken off in.
 

WMUchickenhawk

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Hugh Johnson said:
This is off subject a little, but there was an airforce flight surgeon cross qualified as a pilot who was testing that rig used to pick up special forces, like in "The Green Beret" movie. Supposedly he was the first guy (military maybe) to land a plane he hadn't taken off in.
James Bond did that in GoldenEye, so it must be possible. I saw it in a movie.;)
 

AdlerDriver

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WMUchickenhawk said:
James Bond did that in GoldenEye, so it must be possible. I saw it in a movie.;)
Thunderball. 1965 - A converted B-17 did the pickup.

Robert E. Fulton Jr.

Robert Edison Fulton Jr. once wrote: "One measure of a man is what he does when he has nothing to do." During his 95 years on the planet, Fulton avoided boredom by filling his days with travel, architecture, writing, film and science.

Fulton first experienced wanderlust and adventure at 12 when he rode the first commercial air flight from Miami to Havana. Two years later, he was present at the opening of King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt. After studying architecture at Harvard University and earning a master's degree from the University of Vienna, Fulton decided to take a motorcycle trip around the world.

Fulton also designed the Skyhook aerial rescue system, an inflatable balloon with an attached hook that the CIA used in the 1950s to pull agents out of enemy territory. The Skyhook was featured in the 1965 James Bond film "Thunderball."

Fulton died on May 7 of congestive heart failure.
 

SkyWestCRJPilot

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I understand when the guy jumped out of the ballon he had a drag chute to keep him from tumbling in the thin air. It didn't work and he tumbled and tumbled and was worried he would lose consciousness. At those high altitudes it's almost a vacuum. He wouldn't have heard air rushing by or anything. That's why he accelearated to mach 1 so quickly. As he fell into thicker air he decelearated and eventually pulled his main chute. I saw some great footage of it on the Wings Channel a few years ago.
 

BoDEAN

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msuspartans24 said:
A friend of mine says he read somewhere that a manned balloon has reached 100,000 feet. Anyone know if there is any truth to this.
That wasn't over Howell was it?
 
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