RC Balloon Interview

AMA Expo

AMA Expo Booth with RC Balloon
3rd Gen Boomerang RC Balloon

We traveled to Ontario, California for the annual Academy of Model Aeronautic Expo. Our booth featured two 3rd Generation Boomerang systems, the Mission Control Station, and example thin-shelled 3d-printed parts. We had the only “RC balloon” system in the exhibit hall and got of lot questions from attendees more used to seeing RC airplanes, helicopters, and multi-rotors. 

Boomerang RC Balloon

We explained how Boomerang drifts with the winds at altitudes as low as 75 ft all the way up to 100,000 ft. Using the Mission Control Station, we demonstrated how the valve moves and how Boomerang can drop small quantities of ballast. Because loosing the Boomerang RC balloon system is something to be avoided, we pointed out the redundant flight termination features that prevent Boomerang from drifting too far. Built around a standard 1U CubeSat form factor, we solicited new ideas from visitors on what they would do with a Boomerang RC balloon system.

Visitor Ideas

Visitors to our booth suggested ideas ranging from low-altitude aerial photography, lower & upper atmospheric sampling, rocket range weather monitoring, and communication repeater applications. A few visitors had interests in studying the dispersal of pollutants after an industrial facility accident using an RC balloon system. Some with hot air balloon experience suggested we fly Boomerang during a balloon festival to act as a “smart” pilot balloon.

4th Gen Boomerang

Gen4 Flight Train-Front UpdatedWe took a lot of the feedback from the AMA Expo and have included even more payload control in our 4th Generation Boomerang RC Balloon system.  The avionics architecture for the 4th Gen Boomerang will include enhanced modularity enabling both standard and custom payload control options. Our goal is to provide a Boomerang system to users that can be quickly tailored for specific applications and payloads.

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