Thursday, September 29, 2016

Latest Nuts and Volts Article

My 172nd article was just published in the October Nuts and Volts magazine. The article describes some of the processes we followed to enable the SATINS Program to launch Third Man Records phonograph player into near space.

Friday, September 16, 2016

New and Improved UAV Class Files Webpage

I just updated my UAV Class webpage with links to Power Points, worksheets, quizzes and tests, and reviews on Kahoots. See the new webpage at and tell what you think.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

UAV Pilot's License Update

I just updated the remote pilot's license lessons link on my webpage.

The update includes a Power Point on the applicability of 14 CFR part 107 to small unmanned aircraft operations.

See it at,

Monday, September 12, 2016

Outside Magazine Article on the SATINS Launch of the First Phonograph Player in Near Space

There’s a very nice article about the first phonograph player launched into near space on the website of Outside Magazine and I encourage everyone to read it. You'll find it at,

The flight was for Third Man Records and you can see the story they put together at,

The flight was launched by the SATINS Program for Third Man Records. See the SATINS website for more information at,

What follows is a short list of the activities that the NearSys group did to support this flight.

Design the flight
Get permission for the flight from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Predict the balloon's flight path beginning one week prior to launch
Monitor the weather prior to launch
Pick a launch location based on the predicted flight
Charge and test the flight batteries
Create the load line that connects the parachute to the balloon
Tether the two NearSys-designed trackers (main and redundant) to the balloon and parachute
Fill the balloon with the correct amount of lifting gas using NearSys-created equipment
Measure and monitor the lift of the balloon during the filling process
Check out the trackers before lift off to ensure they were functioning correctly
Track the balloon's flight path after its launch
Coordinate with the FAA during the flight, as they requested
Chase after the balloon during its flight
Recover the balloon after its landing
Download flight data
Perform an an initial analysis of the flight data

You will be able to read more about this flight in either the October or November issue of Nuts and Volts magazine (

If you would like help with a near space flight, please contact NearSys.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Remote Pilots License

I am going to attempt any remote pilot's license, or part 107. As I do so, I will post my learning materials on my website. If you would like to see them and use them, you will find them at, under the Remote Pilots License Materials link.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pyrocumulus Cloud Over the Boise Mountain Range

On Sunday the 21st, I took this picture of a cumulus cloud over the Boise mountains. What makes it unique is its source. The Pioneer Fire is creating rising warm air. As the air rises, it cools. When air is cooled below the dew point, water condenses out. This releases more heat and causes the air to become even more buoyant. And as a result, the air rises faster and condenses even more water out to create a cumulus cloud.

You can see the smoke from the fire below the cumulus cloud. The name of this cloud is pyrocumulus.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

More Thermal Imaging Images from Near Space

Near Space mission 16G carried a BalloonSat with thermal imager and color camera. Now we can better understand the thermal images recorded. See some of the thermal and visible images at the report of the flight,