High altitude ballooning is an inherently risky enterprise. Once you let go of a balloon, you have no control over where it will go and no opportunity to correct a mistake you’ve made during setup. Used incorrectly, your payload could present a threat to the safety of property and people. Here we’ll outline some potential risks and methods to minimise them.

General advice

  • The best way to minimise risk is to prepare thoroughly.
  • Watch all of the videos in the tutorial section. Let us know if there is anything you do not understand.
  • Practice tying your payload together until you can tie the knot without stumbling and are confident in its ability to take the weight of your payload.
  • Run multiple flight path predictions from your planned launch site with a range of variables, to gain an understanding of how changing conditions will affect the flight.
  • Familiarise yourself with the operation of your chosen tracking equipment.


Loss of payload

  • Ensure your locator or locators have fresh batteries.
  • Ensure the satellite locator is correctly oriented with the logo facing the sky.
  • Ensure your locator or locators are working before and after putting into the payload.
  • Only launch on a day when the flight path predictions put the landing site more than 10 miles away from any built-up areas or from the coast.


Payload separation

  • Ensure you string up the payload so that the paracord runs all the way around the box and is securely taped in place.
  • Ensure the payload lid is firmly attached with tape and any internal components are taped down inside the payload
  • Ensure the parachute is securely tied to the payload.


Hard landing

  • Do not launch a payload which weighs more than our recommended carry weights!
  • Ensure the parachute is securely tied to the payload.
  • Ensure the parachute is correctly oriented. A parachute tied upside down will be significantly less effective.
  • Use all the paracord you have. A longer flight train will minimise the risk of cord getting tangled in the parachute at the moment of burst.


Intruding on restricted airspace

  • Apply to the CAA well in advance of your launch day. Take note of any time and drift restrictions on your exemption.
  • Run flight path predictions for your planned launch date and time, with ascent and descent rates ±1m/s, burst altitudes ±2000m, times ±1 hour.
  • If any of these predictions show the payload will drift in a direction which does not comply with your CAA launch exemption, do not launch on this day.