Page 12 - The 'X' Chronicles - September 2023
P. 12

12                          Hobbyists Missing ‘Pico Balloon’

          Hobbyists Are Missing A

         ‘Pico Balloon.’ Did A U.S.
               Fighter Jet Shoot It


        Everyone seems worried about balloons
        right now.  The Pentagon announcement
        that a fighter jet downed a Chinese spy
        balloon over the  Atlantic Ocean this
        month has renewed attention to what’s in
        our skies, and the military shot down
        three other aerial objects last week. The
        White House even had to assert that there
        were no signs the objects were linked to

        Balloon hobbyists, meanwhile, are also

        worried for other reasons — that the
        small balloons they launch into the sky
        could be shot down or that the focus on
        balloons could lead to tight restrictions        Balloon hobbyists have said it was balloon, did not appear linked to foreign
        on their little-known hobby.                     possible the object blown to smithereens surveillance programs. He said Thursday
                                                         by an F-22 was a GPS-tracked party that intelligence officials think “these
        Speculation has grown about whether one          balloon.                                         objects were most likely balloons tied to
        of the unidentified objects taken down by                                                         private companies, recreation or research

        a U.S. F-22 on Feb. 11 over Canada’s             People launch balloons for radio institutions                     studying      weather      or
        Yukon Territory was a small party-style          experiments, or as part of projects to conducting other scientific research.”
        balloon launched by a hobby group                learn more about technology, balloons
        whose name is a whimsical reference to           and the sky — as well as for fun, U.S. officials have yet to recover
        the children’s film “Up.”                        according to Dave Akerman, a member remnants of the object shot in Canadian
                                                         of the U.K. High Altitude Society who skies, after the Pentagon chief said it was
        The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon          has launched nearly 100 larger latex “absolutely important” to recover debris.
        Brigade recently said one of its balloons        balloons. Now enthusiasts are concerned The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said
        went “missing in action” on Feb. 11, near        “there will be a knee-jerk reaction to Thursday that while search efforts
        an island off the coast of Alaska.  Then         what’s happened,” he said in an continued, conditions were “extremely
        questions emerged after  Aviation  Week          interview.                                       challenging” in mountainous terrain and
        reported that, based on the last-known                                                            harsh winter weather.

        location and forecasting models, the             He said he hoped that authorities and
        balloon was predicted to have been               hobbyists could coordinate on reasonable The Pentagon said it had no updates to
        floating over Yukon on the day the F-22          guidelines or rules if needed. “It’s also in provide as of Friday morning.  The FBI
        shot down a mysterious object. Politico          the interests of authorities not to be could not be reached for comment late
        has also reported that the FBI spoke with        shooting down party balloons with Thursday.
        the group.                                       missiles.”
                                                                                                          The detection of the Chinese balloon has
        The Illinois-based group launches                While       the      evidence        remains also prompted the U.S. military, which

        hydrogen-filled balloons that have GPS           circumstantial in the case of the incident usually looks for threats such as missiles,
        tracking and antennas, and can rise up to        over Yukon, “what they described sounds to adjust its radar filters to detect smaller
        47,000 feet, according to its website. It        exactly like these pico balloons,” he or slower objects that would normally be
        has not linked the fate of its missing           added.                                           filtered out.  That could partly answer
        balloon, which it launched months ago, to                                                         why other objects were later identified in
        the shoot-down in Canadian airspace, and         “The plastic balloons will stay up for quick succession. []
        did not respond to a request for comment         several months, during which time they’ll
        Thursday.                                        circumnavigate the globe and then                       THE BEST CLASSIC RADIO
                                                         eventually the wind and weather get to                STATION WITH THE HITS THAT
        Many balloons are probably soaring               them,” he said. While it depends on the               MADE MUSIC HISTORY IN THE
                                                                                                                  60’S, 70’S, 80’S AND 90’S
        overhead at any given moment, for                size and weight, the small, light balloons          IS NOW ON-AIR IN ST. CATARINES
        purposes from monitoring weather to              typically don’t require permission from                 AND AROUNT THE WORLD

        gathering intelligence, but hobbyists            authorities for launching, he added.                               ON-LINE
        worldwide also launch balloons into the
        sky, including small ones referred to as         President Biden has sought to reassure                  CLASSIC 1220 AM CFAJ
        “pico balloons.”                                 Americans that the three objects shot                   WWW.CLASSIC1220.CA
                                                         down last week, after the Chinese
   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17