High Altitude Ballooning
Calgary and Area
"Poor Mans Space program"
The following information is collected by myself and other projects on the internet, please verify all information before using. This information is specific to Canada.
602.41 No person shall operate an unmanned air vehicle in flight except in accordance with a special flight operations certificate or an air operator certificate.
"In accordance with CAR 602.42, no person shall release an unoccupied free balloon having a gas-carrying capacity of more than 115 cubic feet (3.256 m3) except in accordance with an authorization issued by the Minister. The Minister may issue an authorization where the release of the balloon is in the public interest and is not likely to affect aviation safety."
"Regional ANS and Airspace Specialists may from time to time deal with issues related to unmanned balloons smaller than the specified size. As of the first publication of this manual, such balloon flights are essentially unregulated, and specific policy guidance with respect to these flights has not been developed. Aviation safety is the primary consideration, however, and Regional ANS and Airspace Specialists are expected to exercise common sense and good judgment in such cases. Advice may be sought if necessary from both the Recreational Aviation and Special Flight Operations Division and the AIS and Airspace Standards Division in Headquarters."
That only covers the lift phase. There are major regulations In the US for payloads but Canada has seen fit not to restrict much in way of payloads if it's carried down by a parachute or other device designed to slow the payloads decent to less than 3.5M/S.
(Robert) One other very important regulation and the one I fly under is; CAR602.45 No person shall fly a model aircraft or a kite or launch a model rocket or a rocket of a type used in a fireworks display into cloud or in a manner that is or is likely to be hazardous to aviation safety. And last but not least, Class A Airspace. You must have permission to operate any vehicle between 18,000 and 60,000 feet. I have never figured out why but this does not include a balloon carrying a payload or a payload under a parachute falling from a balloon?
People launching balloons with a gas capacity of less than 115 cubic feet are en couraged to notify Nav Canada, but there are no regulations governing their launch.
Process: About 1 week in advance of a balloon launch - Contact Edmonton FIC (Flight Information Center) by phone at 780-890-8557 (or 1-866-541-4102) or send an email to WESGA-FSSS@navcanada.ca (for alberta and area flights only, please contact your local FSS - check on the navcanada website for contact numbers) and provide the Launch Date and Time, Launch Location (latitude/longitude), payload system length, payload weight, balloon diameter at launch, approx. rate of ascent, approx. burst altitude, payload description during decent, estimated landing location and estimated ascent and descent durations.
- It says "About 1 week in advance", however 2-3 days is usually enough if one decides to have a launch at the last minute. - The FIC will contact you if there are any safety concerns and, if not, use this information to issue a NOTAM (if one is needed). - I usually do both, first send an email with the information and then phone 10-15 minutes later to check if there are any questions or problems. - The Edmonton ACC (Area Control Centre) is capable of tracking balloon flights with APRS trackers so I also provide a link to aprs.fi with the call sign that will be used, like http://aprs.fi/?call=VE6TS-11, in case they wish to do this. 2. On the day of the launch - Contact the Edmonton Area Control Center (ACC) Shift Manager at 780-890-8397 at least 30-60 minutes prior to launch to co-ordinate the launch. The regulations state that they are to be called again for final clearance just before you launch, but the regulations appear to be mainly for much larger balloon launches and they usually don't require a second phone call and something you can ask about when contacting them. Following is what I sent the Edmonton FIC for a recent flight - Edmonton FIC This is to inform you that the Calgary HAB (High Altitude Balloon) group will be launching an unmanned high altitude balloon. April 27th 2013 AT 0800 AM MST ending at 1200 hours MST LAUNCH LOCATION: BEISEKER AIRPORT (CFV2) 51.389646 / -113.471003 BALLOON SIZE ABOUT 6 FT AT LAUNCH EXPANDING DURING ASCENT TO A MAXIMUM DIAMETER OF 25 FEET. PAYLOAD SYSTEM LENGTH 20 FT ON ASCENT, WT 3.7 LBS, RATE OF ASCENT 900 FPM, BURST HEIGHT ABOVE 100,000 FT MSL. Payload can also be cut down by radio command. PAYLOAD WILL DESCEND 10 FT BELOW AN ORANGE 5 FT PARACHUTE ABOUT 120 KM EAST OF LAUNCH SITE. PAYLOAD WILL TRANSMIT AUTOMATIC PACKET REPORTING SYSTEM BEACONS ON 144.390 EVERY 60 SECONDS. Please advise if this launch poses any issues for you or of course if you have additional questions or concerns. This launch is subject to cancelation or changed to the sunday if the weather doesn't work out. In either case we will inform you. FLIGHT DIRECTOR
An advanced amateur radio licence is required as it is an unmaned transmitter. (at least 1 person in the group).
Link - 5. Frequencies for Radio Control of Models The frequency for the radio control of a model is limited to any frequency within the frequency bands above 30 MHz set out in Schedule I.