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Indian Tycoon Sets Balloon Flight Record 125

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the staying-on-top-of-things dept.
GillBates0 writes "The BBC is reporting that Vijaypat Singhania, a textile tycoon, has set a new world record for the highest hot air balloon flight. The 67-year-old took off from Mumbai, India in a 48m(160ft) balloon and flew to a height of 21,290m (69,852ft) breaking the earlier record of 19,811m(64,997ft)."
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Indian Tycoon Sets Balloon Flight Record

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:29PM (#14119979) Homepage Journal
    ...American Balloon-flying tycoons complained in a unified march against the outsourcing of their jobs. Economic experts in the U.S. administration believe these important jobs can be secured with a tariff on hot air, something the administration isn't lacking and wishes to utilize to the fullest for the betterment of the U.S. population.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That Indian math guy [slashdot.org] covered previously on Slashdot?
    • No, not really. But it appears that he is in good business relations with George Bush, as some section of the press has reported that Bush exported quite a lot of hot air from Whitehouse, and Iraq which was produced by heated discussions and war, respectively. But then I guess he should have landed on the moon - judging by Bush's skill in generating quality hot air.
  • by mordors9 (665662) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:34PM (#14120009)
    The pilot relied upon his Pakistani friends to shoot at the balloons to aid in his descent.
  • by Kohath (38547) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:37PM (#14120020)
    Indian Balloon Tycoon?

    These sequels to Railroad Tycoon are getting stranger and stranger.
  • how is this Science?
  • i bet that (Score:5, Funny)

    by know1 (854868) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:48PM (#14120067)
    richard branson is going to be pissed off
    • Maybe he outsourced it to India?
  • by parryFromIndia (687708) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:51PM (#14120085)
    The project was called Mission Impossible 70K (MI70K) and there are some live videos detailing his flight (Flash required) on this site - http://www.mi70k.com/video.htm [mi70k.com]. The site also carries information about Mr. Singhania and his some other records.
  • by nsasch (827844) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:51PM (#14120087)
    "This goes to show to the world that we are not bullock cart drivers, but we can compete against the best of the world." Aren't Singhania's one of the richest families in India? Money can do anything.
  • by vivekg (795441) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @04:52PM (#14120090) Homepage Journal
    Watch Singhania's attempt the world record breaking feat-Live! For latest updates here [mi70k.com] including record update.
  • 48 meters of diameter? Damn, someone's going to be high from all that helium.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I spent several nights googling, and couldn't come up with anything definitive. How long can a balloon stay aloft? I don't care about whether it uses hot air, hydrogen, whatever. I'd like to make a balloon that would hold about 5-10 pounds (well, more than that, including the tether), put it on three long tethers, and let it fly as long as possible. The duration it can stay up is important, because I can't go check on it often (I live too far away). I want to loft an anemometer and record wind speeds t
    • by Mr2cents (323101) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @06:09PM (#14120399)
      Sending a weather balloon up in the sky is one of my dreams too. I'm not an expert -yet ;) - but I'll give you the things I found out already.. Mistakes may be plentiful, so if anyone can point them out they are free to do so.

      A weather balloon will continue to rise until it pops. Helium is lighter than air no matter the altitude, so ignoring the helium loss and the extra pressure inside the balloon due to the tension of the balloon itself, there is no point of equilibrium. I think you can theoretically create such a point, but it would rise so slowly that it would be unpractical.

      So I was thinking to send one up that is already at/near equilibrium at ground level, aided by a second "booster" balloon to get it up in the air fast. The second balloon would either have to pop sooner than the first one, or else it would have to be cut off by the payload at a certain height. This can be done with a glow wire wound around a nylon tether, eg. After that, the fligt duration will be mainly limited by helium seeping out of the baloon, and I have no idea how long it can last.

      I'm thinking to put a simple QRP (=low power) HAM transmitter on board, together with a few simple sensors (pressure and temperature readings). Recovery is unlikely, so a GPRS receiver is way to expensive IMO.

      I don't know much about the legal aspects, but I doubt some nation will spend mega$$$ to shoot down a 25$ (?) balloon payload if it happens to drift into their territory. And even if they do, I won't care much (unless if they try to send me the bill - but I plan to include Bill Gates' address on the probe just for that reason 8-) ).

      A. Coward: Wind speed can vary significantly with elevation, so I want to make measurements quite high

      This is the part that has got me puzzled. You want to measure wind speeds high up in the air to assess possible wind turbine placings (you're a bored millionaire or what?), even though you realize ground level wind speed and high altitude wind speeds are unrelated?!? I really don't get it. Also, anemometers won't work, because the balloon is drifting along with the wind, so measured wind speed will be close to zero, even though the balloon can be moving at 100km/h. What you need to measure is the position of the balloon over time, and from that data you can deduce the wind speed.

      Also note that wind turbines are placed based on avg. *long term* wind speeds, not on ad hoc measurements from a single balloon. You'll have to make measurements for multiple years.

      So, based on all those arguments, I think your idea is majorly flawed, or else I've misunderstood you. Sorry in either case ;-)
      • by fatboy (6851) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @06:36PM (#14120506)
        I have done a weather balloon project myself [groovin.net]. Sounds like what you wish to do is a zero pressure balloon [eoss.org]. You will need to read FAR-101 for regulations regarding free unmanned balloons. [risingup.com]

        My friend Bill Brown (WB8ELK) has flown more than 200 balloons and has had great success of long term flights with balloons that simply have a pinholes poked in them. One he launched in Alabama a few years ago flew all night and was last heard off the coast of Nova Scotia [tapr.org].
        • Whoohoo! Jackpot! All the info I was looking for in one post! I can't thank you enough! I'd kiss you if it weren't for the fact that a) you live too far away, and b) I don't kiss guys ;)

          It's a semi-long-term project, I'm still studying to get my HAM licence, but you really increased my motivation to get it real soon now! Ballooning seems like a fun way to get people together, young and old, both from the local HAM-club and the astronomy club (another hobby of mine).

          73's, :)

          ON????
          • Good luck on breaking the record. A feel sad for the old man, but it's a dog eat dog world out there.
            • I don't have any OM ambitions for the moment, besides the OM is also my father (that's getting way to freudian for my likings:-) ). I never got my license before because I had way too many hobbies already, and I didn't have a compelling reason to get a license. But my interests in robotics led me to ballooning, and a HAM license makes sense if you want to gather telemetry from a probe. Besides, I find the current trend of declining participation in hobby clubs disturbing, and things like these can potential
      • anemometers won't work, because the balloon is drifting along with the wind, so measured wind speed will be close to zero

        I think he's wanting to do a tethered balloon. With anemometers at different spots on the tether. At first glance I see one major problem with this idea. The tether will pull the balloon downward as the wind pushes the balloon horizontally until the horizontal force of the wind and the lift of the balloon equalize. That might make it a little difficult use the balloon to simulate a
        • Indeed, the post makes much more sense if he intends to use three tethers fixed to the ground instead of three tethers fixed to the balloon 8-). My mental model was completely wrong.

          Simply by using common sense, won't tethered balloons have to follow the same regulations as pylons? As long as you stay below the maximum height, there shouldn't be any problem, if you want to go higher, you need to get a permit.

          And thanks for the links, I'm learning a lot today :). (the previous reply is very interesting too)
      • I don't know much about the legal aspects, but I doubt some nation will spend mega$$$ to shoot down a 25$ (?) balloon payload if it happens to drift into their territory. And even if they do, I won't care much (unless if they try to send me the bill - but I plan to include Bill Gates' address on the probe just for that reason 8-) ).

        Any country that shoots down $25 balloons is probably your mortal enemy, and you'll have caused them to spend far more to shoot down the balloon than you spent getting it up t

  • What's the point? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tji (74570)
    Is there some value that I'm missing in this? Why does any care that some rich guy made a balloon to take him up 60K ft? Is there some practical application that he is trying to improve this technology for? Or, is he just trying to pump his own ego?

    Why does this get reported everywhere / anywhere?
    • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Informative)

      by NineNine (235196) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @05:35PM (#14120270)
      I don't know. What's the point of plugging in 1000 Linux computers together? What's the point of lighting in PC's? What's the point of MySQL? What's the point of the iPod? This, at least, was a scientific/engineering achievement.
      • Re:What's the point? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Mignon (34109)
        What's the point of plugging in 1000 Linux computers together?
        Cost-effective way to solve some highly-parallelizable computing problems.

        What's the point of MySQL?
        Open-source, easy to use database. Well integrated with PHP for web applications.

        What's the point of the iPod?
        Attractive, easy-to-use, portable music player. Integrates well with ITMS.

        What's the point of lighting in PC's?
        I'm still trying to figure this one out.

    • by JamesD_UK (721413) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @05:38PM (#14120282) Homepage
      Why does someone always come up with this argument? I think it's very much possible that he's doing it because he's passionate about ballooning and may get some enjoyment out of setting a record. In the same way that people climb mountains, cycle around the world or collect belly button fluff [feargod.net] there doesn't need to be a practical application or technology to be improved behind every human endeavour.
      • by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @07:25PM (#14120699)

        This argument usually comes from people who aren't passionate about anything. It must be exhausting to sit at home every day laughing at and criticizing other people who are out there living life.
      • I think a clarification on the grandparent post would then be "Why does someone care that he's rich?"

        I mean, thats cool that he's setting a balloon flight record, but what does the fact that he has lots of money have to do anything?

        Its like.....oh look, I'm doing this incredibly cool thing, and by the way did you know I'm filthy rich?!

    • Is there some value that I'm missing in this? Why does any care that some rich guy made a balloon to take him up 60K ft? Is there some practical application that he is trying to improve this technology for? Or, is he just trying to pump his own ego?

      Why don't you understand? I don't get it.

    • The point is this:
      People dream and desire to do things.
      Projects like this fill some with wonder, others with hope.
      It's the human experience.

      Some little girl may hear of this and get interested in science.
      Some little boy could decide to become a pilot.
      Some person with power/money might decide to fund more research projects.
      Some whiney bitch on a message board may say WTF?

      If all we needed out of life was immediate value, we would still be hunter/gatherers
  • perspecive... (Score:5, Informative)

    by 3-State Bit (225583) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @05:26PM (#14120241)

    The 67-year-old took off from Mumbai, India in a 48m(160ft) balloon and flew to a height of 21,290m (69,852ft [= 13.22 miles]) breaking the earlier record of 19,811m(64,997ft [=12.31 miles]).

    A very good source for some perspective is this Wikipedia page on atmospheric heights [wikipedia.org]. Note that the troposphere (illustrated nicely with Mt. Everest just jutting into it, an airplane flying in this layer) only extends up to 17 km (at the equator, lowers as you near the poles - the figure at the right in the Wikipedia page is in miles though, so be careful) -- this guy flew well above that (21 km).

    So this guy is in the stratosphere, where we see only weather balloons illustrated. The layer above (mesosphere, from about 50 km on) is practically space, it's apparently where meteors burn up. So I guess this guy reached the high stratosphere - for comparison check out that Mount Everest [wikipedia.org] is at 8.84 km elevation!

    It's no wonder, then, that from the article (which I actually read, just for you) :
    He travelled in a pressurised cabin attached to a balloon as high as a 22-storey building.
    This "pressurized cabin" is just mentioned once more, in this "quick facts" table:

    BALLOON FACTS AND FIGURES.

    • Current record: 64,997ft (19,811m)
    • Target altitude: 70,000ft (21,336m)
    • Balloon capacity: 1.6m cu ft
    • Total height: 160ft (48.8m)
    • Gross weight: 1,820kg (1.8 tons)
    • Pilot flies in 560kg sealed aluminium capsule approx 2.7m x 1.4m (9ft x 4ft 6in)
    • Fitted with 18 burners, three fuel tanks, sat-phone; camera; two VHF radios; GPS; life-support system; safety-release system and parachute
      Ascent: 3 hours
    • Descent: 1.5-2 hours

    whoops, sorry, there's once more mention of this enclosure, here are a couple of more paragraphs quoted for you, the appropriate text in bold):

    Mr Singhania's craft comprised a pressurised aluminium capsule with a specially designed multi-coloured balloon and 18 burners.

    The balloon was connected to a parachute that would have been released automatically in case of any emergency.

    A helicopter carrying a technical team followed the balloon closely and was in constant touch with Mr Singhania throughout the flight.

    And what the hell, there's so little I didn't reproduce, you might as well have a mirror. (Although I find only the following other fact interesting: "During the ascent, air temperatures plummeted to around -93C (-135F)." And maybe a quote from his wife Asha telling of her relief and joy at the success of the trip: "When I heard that he had broken the record, I became numb in mind and heart". I'm sure there's a funny to be made about that.)

    CAREFUL, THERE IS NOTHING ELSE INTERESTING BELOW!!

    ARTICLE TEXT (with markup)

    -------------
    INDIAN SETS BALLOON FLIGHT RECORD

    Mr Singhania's 160ft high balloon took off from a site near Mumbai
    Indian Vijaypat Singhania has claimed a new world record for the highest flight in a hot air balloon, after a voyage lasting several hours.


    The 67-year-old textile tycoon soared past 21,000 metres (69,000 feet) but fell just short of his original target.

    He travelled in a pressurised cabin attached to a balloon as high as a 22-storey building.

    The previous record of 19,811 metres (64,997 feet) was set by Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988.

    Mr Singhania's son, Gautam, announced the news to the waiting media.

    He said: "As you can see we are very happy. The team is also excited because they have worked very hard on this project for a very long time."

    Colin Prescott, leader of Mr Singhania's British technical te

  • Let me be the first to say "How, Keemosabee!"

    What's that you said?...
  • http://home.att.net/~1.elliott/JOEKITTINGER.HTML [att.net] "On August 16, 1960, Captain Joe Kittinger jumped from a huge helium balloon at a height of 102,800 feet, almost 20 miles above the earth! Captain Kittinger fell for a full 4 minutes, 36 seconds." http://www.thatvideosite.com/view/1164.html [thatvideosite.com]
  • This story is full of a lot of hot air.
  • No way did that balloon get that high on hot air - absolute claptrap from the slashdot submitter - even the article says it was helium that raised the balloon.

    Psssh.
  • a world record set in 2 hours, in a pressurized cabin. This guy has the guts to prove that he has money.
  • Ballooning, over land at least, seems like a sport revolutionized by cellphones. Combined with GPS, a ballooner can now land nearly anywhere safe, and just get picked up by a driver.
  • full og gas, no wonder they fly that high :-) (I'm Indian Origin myself BTW)
  • Yawn! (Score:4, Informative)

    by utexaspunk (527541) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @06:34PM (#14120496)
    How is this impressive, when Joe Kittinger [balloonlife.com] rode a balloon up to 102,800 feet (31.3km) and then parachuted out of it, breaking the speed of sound with just his body?
    • breaking the speed of sound with just his body

      I wonder what it sounded like to him? Or if he went deaf with the bang.

      • When you break the sound barrier, you don't hear anything except the vibrations of your container (usually engine noise). You leave all of the other sound behind.
        ---
        "Man, when the day comes, count me in with the robot smashers." - Anonymous Coward
        Generated by SlashdotRndSig [snop.com] via GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org]
    • Because that wasn't a hot air balloon.
  • Is that the one where you raise Indians? I don't think I've played that one.
  • As far as I know, Auguste Piccard [wikipedia.org] flew up to 23000 m in the 1930s. So how is this 21,290m a new record?
  • Zoo Tycoon was OK but Prison Tycoon sux0red. Indian Tycoon sounds interesting. Is it like a Wild West theme?
  • From the title, I was thinking someone set a new record on the NES game "Balloon Fight." But I guess this is also noteworthy. :p
  • Personally I preferred Kittinger's return to earth. He jumped over the side and performed the world's highest skydive. From 69000 to a deploy height of around 3000ft you'd get over 5 minutes of freefall. :) That would be worth setting a new height record to do!

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