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Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Amateur ultralight payload returns to Blighty

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Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar has pulled off a bit of a blinder by successfully flying an ultralight radio payload right round the planet. Launched on 12 July from near Silverstone, Northamptonshire, B-64 yesterday returned to Blighty, and was this morning still going strong over Sweden.

The path of the balloon yesterday as it returned to UK airspace

The epic journey of over 25,000km saw B-64 hit a maximum altitude of a tad over 13,000m as it passed over 16 countries (by our reckoning) during the circumnavigation.

The path of B-64 overlaid on a world map

Leo explained that the payload comprises a radio transmitter using both the 434.500MHz band and 2m amateur band, a couple of solar panels and a LiPo battery for nocturnal operation. The whole thing weighs in at just 11g:

The B-64 payload tips the scales at just 11g

The balloon is a roughly 90x150cm transparent film envelope, seen here during pressure testing:

The balloon during a pressure test

However, for long duration flights the trick is to underfill the balloon with helium so that it rises to a stable altitude before expanding to burst point, and becomes a "floater".

As long as the balloon and the electronics hold out, the sky, or in this case the world, is the limit. ®

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