click above links for more information
Thank You for providing electronic modification and technical help
Thank You for technical help
Thanks To Glen Shaw who donated the Brailsford piston pump for our particulate sampling system

Top Hat & Tails: We are adding a lot more sophistication and getting ready for BEAR 4.

Click Here to see

BEAR 3 Flight Status
May 26 @ 8:15 PM
Flight Complete
Highest Altitude & Burst
gps confirmed 86,518 feet at 06:07:05 utc
Touch Down
gps confirmed 06:52:11 utc
Total Flight Time
2hr 37min

Click Here to hear in-flight audio (mp3)

BEAR 3 balloon was launched Tuesday evening May 26 @ 8:15 PM local time (UTC: May 27 @4:14 ) in a almost clear and wind-less sky. We watched in awe as the balloon went vertically above us and stayed there for almost the entire upward flight. From our launch facility located at Poker Flats Rocket Range, you could look up and see both the balloon and the radar reflector even when it reached an altitude of 30,000 feet. BEAR 3 continued its almost perfect and vertical flight until 86,518 feet, then burst and began its descent, finally drifting a bit to the northwest. Upon balloon burst, our pilot Myles (KL1NU), Neal (WL7NZ) and Dan (KL1JP) took flight in Myles' plane to give chase and record the descent and touchdown. They chased the balloon for almost 30 minutes, spiraling around and downward, amazed at the sight of a fully deployed and perfectly descending parachute, observing and photographing the descent and touchdown location. The June 1 recovered gps data confirmes the revised altitude of 86,518 feet. Data indicates the ascent time was 1hr 52min while descent time was 46min with a total flight time of 2hr 37min. We will be adding photographs, data and information for the next week, including still pictures, movies, data and hopefully photo-micrographs of volcanic ash from the on-board payloads.


For a Forensic Analysis of what worked, what didn't work and solutions click here

Quick Links

Once BEAR 3 launches - you can use the below links to find us or watch the flight on the findu URL page.

Capsule 1 (APRS)
Capsule 2 (APRS format)
The Chase Plane (APRS)

If you think we've been sitting around twiddling our fingers all winter, think again... We've spent time testing equipment (see Design here) at minus 40F outside using the extreme Fairbanks winter temperatures as a near-space proving ground. We've put together a bunch of capsules ready for "your" science experiments. We've put together a new and hopefully more stable camera platform and... we've begun planning for the 2009 BEAR flights, including construction of a high-altitude particle sampler (by University of Alaska EE/ME students) capable of capturing Mt. Redoubt volcanic ash.

BEAR balloon news and information email list: If you want to stay informed about BEAR balloon launches, news events and up-to-the-minute launch changes, send an email with the email address you wish to use to: (powellite [at] hotmail dot com) and I'll place you on the private email group, no email address publicly displayed or distributed.


Interested In Helping With BEAR Balloon Flights? We are actively looking for interested people who want to contribute their time and skill or enthusiasm by helping put together all the parts necessary to fly the BEAR 4 and BEAR 5 balloons. There's plenty of work to go around...

BEAR 4 Volunteer Form Now On-Line: Click here

Flight Status


posted: 05/27 @ 23:33 UTC

Balloon Callsign
KL7KC-11 & WL7NZ-3
Balloon Type
Kaymont 1200g
Payload weight
4.50 LBS
approx. 200 cu ft
Maximum Altitude
86,394 ft
Parachute Type
Modified Hemisphere (blue/yellow/red) by Linda Mullen (AD4BL)
Capsule 1 - Frequency
APRS 144.39 (KL7KC-11)
Capsule 1 - Radio
Capsule 1 - Beacon Interval
Every 30 seconds with message: (BEAR 3 Mission) every 5th transmit (micE format)
Capsule 1 - GPS
Garmin Legend
Capsule 2 (redundant beacon system) - Frequency
144.70 (WL7NZ-3)
Capsule 2 - Radio
Alinco DJ-S11 (300mW) with Byonics TinyTrak3+
Capsule 2 - Beacon Interval
Every 15 seconds with message: (BEAR 3 Mission) every 5th transmit (micE format)
Capsule 2 - GPS
Garmin Legend
Capsule 3 (Science Payload)
With help from the University of Alaska EE/ME students, we constructed and lofted a particulate sampling system capable of capturing Mt. Redoubt volcanic ash from 30,000 ft.
Capsule 3 (Camera Platform System)
3 cameras: (1) Sony Cyber-shot shooting horizontal movie mode - 4 hours of hi-res movies. (2) Digital still camera shooting horizontal capturing a pic every 15seconds and (3) Aiptek DV-3100 shooting vertically downward mode - 2 hours of hi-res movies.
Personnel Involved
Design, Construction and Support: Dr. Denise Thorson , Dr. Neal Brown (WL7NZ), Jerry Curry (KL7EDK), Linda Mullen (AD4BL), Rebecca Lees, Carol DeMar, Dan Wietchy (KL1JP) and includes several EE/ME students - Alex, Andrew and Sam
Testing, Support and APRS telemetry logging: Linda Mullen (AD4BL), Jerry (KL7EDK), Bill Brookins (KC8MVW)
Ground Chase & Recovery Crew: Jerry Curry (KL7EDK) and Dan Wietchy (KL1JP)
You may direct any questions to Dan: powellite [at] hotmail dot com