guest episode by Robert Nech
you ever wondered what to do with those leftover party balloons besides suck
the helium and talk funny? Send
them up with a note and give a shameless plug to Cockeyed.com!
Waayyy back in the old days of 1982 I lived in Moore, Oklahoma while
in the 5th grade and attended Applecreek Elementary School.
This year was the 75th anniversary for Oklahoma's statehood.
The way we celebrated it was by our whole school releasing balloons
into the sky. Our class
attached 3x5 cards with our names and addresses on them.
balloon out of all of the balloons in our class traveled over 800 miles to
Florida in just a few days. I
wish it had been my balloon! The
person who found the balloon had an article written in their local Florida
town paper which our class got to see a copy of.
Is it possible I could send a balloon just as far with 36 tries in
the present day?
There are actually people that have started high altitude ballooning
groups that fly payloads to near space (above 75K feet and below 328K feet)
and send up all sorts of things. The JP Aerospace Near Space Program
not only does this, but they plan to fly a
balloonship into orbit some day. For
only $150 you can send up a balloon and payload to 100K feet.
Maybe some one can start the Cockeyed Near Space Program.
The theme for it might be "Seeing The World Below From A More
Cockeyed Perspective ." Maybe
we can get some Cockeyed Astronauts on SpaceShipOne in the future.
All I needed for this
experiment were balloons, paper, ballpoint pen, a Sharpie, and a computer.
All of these I had on hand. The
balloons were now 5 days old and some were starting to become marginally buoyant. What to do with those? Suck
the helium? On a couple of
those I did along with downing some Goldschlager and standing like a
robot-zombie for five minutes, which ended up making my balloons start
dancing on the ceiling all by themselves.
(Note to self: Never mix Helium and Goldschlager together!)
I think it was the helium provided inspiration for an experiment.
What if I attached a strong (buoyancy) balloon with a weak balloon?
Would it travel farther than a single strong balloon?
In the spirit of all things Cockeyed it was time to find out!
I separated all of the weak balloons from the rest and attached them
to strong balloons. With a
label program I printed cards with my name, snail mail address and email
the opposite side I made a design to catch the eye of the passerby.
I took the cards and attached them to the balloons both singles and
doubles. Of all the balloons I
had collected after the party, separating them, and joining weak to strong
ones I wound up with about half of them singles and the others doubles.
went to the trouble to assign a number to each and logged all the pertinent
to 1600 (aka 3:30 to 4:00PM)
8mph from the SW
Level Wind Direction: From the NNW headed towards Cockeyed HQ in Sacramento,
I am with the balloons ready for the first Cockeyed Airmail run in history.
Is it an unusually sunny day here in cool and cloudy Seattle!
It's so bright it's hard to open my eyes to see the camera.
- 4 - 3 - 2 - 1...LAUNCH!
them in groups of five so it took a while to run back in to the house to get
the next batch. Most flew up
and away to the north toward downtown Seattle.
Just a few flew marginally, landing in a tree or flying just above
treetop level (100 feet).
Hopefully several of these balloons will catch the jetstream and head toward Oregon and California. Rob, be sure to look out your door in a few days. One may land at your doorstep.
I received a response for the Cockeyed Airmail files today.
Your balloon was found by my 5 year-old son in a pasture on the ranch where we live. My 10 year old son Casey and 5 year old Parker really enjoyed finding the balloon and returning the tag.
The Carrol Family
The balloon tag had the number 22 on it which used two balloons with the colors orange and purple and was found on 11OCT04. I checked out mapquest and it says that, as the car drives, this balloon traveled 521 miles in seven days. Who knows how long it had been sitting there before it was found.
Cockeyed Airmail may not be fast or accurate but it does get there!
How much is inside an acre?
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Dec 19th, 2004.