Full Flight Data: http://overlookhorizon.com/flight-5
Our launch this past Sunday was our best flight performance yet, but as always, it didn't come without its own problems.
The day started well with calm winds and less cloud cover than we expected. We were expected a pretty cloudy day, but our main goal was getting our radio tracking system perfected after we experienced some electromagnetic interference from our onboard cameras on previous flights, so cloud coverage wasn't a big concern for us. Unfortunately, as we started to fill the balloon, the winds began to pick up, almost as if we planned that (we didn't!). We ended up filling in some pretty gusty winds, which gave us aerodynamic lift on the balloon and deceived us into thinking we had a properly inflated balloon. It ended up being under inflated and instead of the planned 4 m/s ascent rate, we got a measure 2.91 m/s ascent rate. Fortunately, we got a higher altitude from this: 102,544 FT from an 800g balloon. Unfortunately, the flight lasted 49 minutes longer than expected and traveled further east, flirting dangerously close to a water landing. Our custom built radio tracking system, which was the main goal, worked perfectly! We were at the landing site to watch the payload descend from the clouds and land - 73 miles from our launch site!
The good news is that we missed the water. The very bad news was that we landed on some high voltage power transmission lines (155,000 volts!) and had to call in the power company to free the payload from the lines. After a 10 hour wait, the power company arrived on site at 2am (?!) and recovered our payload. The tracking system appears undamaged so far. The cameras were damaged by the high voltage lines. Anyone ever run into this before? What was your experience with the power company and recovery?
We had 2 onboard cameras for this flight. One of the cameras never started recording which is unfortunate and something we'll resolve in our pre-flight checklist next time. The second camera recorded the entire flight. The white balance and coloring seems very different from our previous flights - perhaps due to the cloud coverage at launch time. We just use "auto" settings on our cameras. The landing video is currently corrupt due to the abrupt ending with the power line landing. We're trying to repair the file to see the landing video.
We've posted our full flight data on our website here: http://overlookhorizon.com/flight-5
Here's a sample of some of our data, photos and videos:
Temperature Data (more graphs on our website):