That UFO shot down over Alaska likely belonged to a group of amateur radio hobbyists

Originally published at: That UFO shot down over Alaska likely belonged to a group of amateur radio hobbyists | Boing Boing


Joe Biden Oops GIF by The Democrats

Hopefully, they get some compensation for the loss?


Hopefully, they don’t get a bill for the operation to shoot it down. (Because we live in the stupid timeline.)

So the cost per flying hour of an F-22 is $85,000 per hour. The cost per flying hour of an F-35 is $40,000. And each missile that is fired to shoot-down these objects costs over $400,000, as well as the tanker aircraft which have been used in a number of these situations cost $25,000 to $30,000 an hour, depending on which tanker they use.

If they’re going to shoot down every single balloon now, they sure need a cheaper way to do it.


It’s probably time to treat these type of larger balloons like drones. Register them, share the info with groups that track and monitor such things, and have some kind of transponder on them to provide a signal of what it is in case it gets misplaced.


32 inches does not sound like what they shot down.

But their site lists the laws that allow them to send up such balloons so I doubt they would be charged or fined if it was their balloon.

Free floating balloons are listed near the end of this document.


Long overdue, surely. I’m surprised FAA and other regulatory types didn’t want this under their umbrellas long ago.


Not quite the long term endurance of the posters ham group, but I still love this video on high altitude balloons.

It may be 7 years old, but it does not get old to me.


“My hobby is littering.”


“I like to fill Mylar balloons with enough helium to get them aloft high enough that they’ll come down in some random place around the world. If they come down in the ocean and get swallowed by an endangered species, I get 10 extra points!”


I was poking around that hobby group in the article, I was surprised to learn they use hydrogen.

I would have thought hydrogen would be illegal due to the flammability.

1 Like

Wow. Interesting. The Aviation Week article mentioned helium.


I think the critical thing with that use of hydrogen is the unmanned part.

We are still looking at Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles, they are still safer than Lithium or gasoline.

I read somewhere that because hydrogen rises so quickly, very few people died from fire in the Hindenburg disaster. I think most died from falling.


Plot twist: She’s the engineer who designed the upgraded missiles that shot down the Chinese balloon.


Yeah, this. I bought a GCMS years ago that used a FID and Hydrogen as the carrier. The biggest risk, aside from accidental release which is very unlikely with the required safety mechanisms, was actually the risks associated with the compressed bottle. Hydrogen doesn’t accumulate like LP or the alcohol vapor I create during distillation.


This is not one of my hobbies, so I don’t know how much balloons inflate at 47K feet vs. ground level, but I do know the pressure difference is huge. I’d expect that 32 inch balloon to be a lot larger at that altitude.


I am also not a stretchy expert. Their technical page gives a link to the balloons they use, they’re using mylar, a quick Google search says mylar doesn’t stretch.

It’s also interesting that they’re using pretty cheap balloons.

This looks like a really fun hobby.


I’m on the fence with all this - on one hand there are creative efforts and it looks like fun… on the other hand, what goes up must come down… and she never did find her tiara.

This is just as dangerous as throwing something off a tall building… isn’t where you launch, it’s where it lands. There are risks - are they worth it for YouTube lulz?

I speak from personal experience where I thought I did everything right… and sure enough a part broke off and fell 50ft, missed a baby by inches. I coulda killed that kid. Maybe more duct tape would have made it safer, but ultimately the safest was I shouldn’t have done it in the first place because how would you justify your actions to grieving parents?


Falling and the burning diesel. Hydrogen fires were still horrific - the original design of the Hindenburg would have used helium for lifting because the World had been shocked by the catastrophic crash and burning of the huge British passenger airship R101 on its maiden voyage.

In the end, German aggression in Europe meant that the US refused to export helium to Germany, so the ship was inflated with hydrogen. Zeppelin wasn’t that concerned with the risk, claiming that the older Graf Zeppelin had flown hundreds of thousands of kilometres using hydrogen without incident. In fact, the extra lift from hydrogen meant they could carry more passengers and cargo.


I’m pretty sure this balloon did have a transponder and amateur radio license attached, as well as tracking for it. There’s a whole website where they link to three different websites that track their balloons using the transponder.

The real question is why isn’t NORAD of all things plugged into these tracking websites? We’ve spent the past ten years listening to Snowden about how they’re wired into all the wireless conversations in the US, you’d think the people responsible for the defense of North American Airspace would be able to do a search on a publicly available website.


As military, why would you trust the data off those sites?