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This thread is privately moderated by phil alvirez, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
Jan 20, 2016, 05:45 PM
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Cool

those were the days-checking winds


when i studied aeronautical engineering in the 60's, i took meteorology. 1 of the things we had to learn was how to make a report of the direction of wind at several levels, with the purpose to tell pilots what direction of wind at different heights they could encounter. it is critical, as when climbing you may meet wind from the north and suddenly it changes to the south. it may be particularly critical for light planes. wind may flow at different direction depending of the level, and runs in layers, like blankets. if you have light models you may experience these sudden changes in direction. anyway, in those days we had to go to a small isolated room at the airport and inflate a large red balloon with hydrogen, as helium was not available. we connected it to the tank with a valve and let it blow to the point when the amount of gas made the balloon become buoyant while supporting the weight of the valve. this gave it the buoyancy to climb at certain rate. then we prepared a transit theodolite, pressed a switch that started a timer and released the balloon and aimed at it and pressed a button every minute. this punched a hole in a paper disc and as the timer activated a spring, each hole was punctured further from the center. it ended up as sort of a spiral, if the wind changed a lot. this way the experts could decypher it and make the chart of superior winds. the thing was that we had to do this in an isolated room because hydrogen is explosive, and we had to be extremely careful doing this as it could explode in any moment. some times the balloon just blew, and was a shocking experience because at that moment you felt that you were going to die in flames. to make things worse, there were moskitos around, and the silly beasts took the red balloon as something that they would like to pierce and then it blew.
a horrifying experience i would say. thankfully now with satellites and computers all over this routine belongs to the past.but it was something that you will never forget.
Last edited by phil alvirez; Feb 13, 2016 at 03:18 PM.
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Mar 02, 2016, 01:43 AM
Electric
Holy Hydrogenated mosquito farts Batman!


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