Program Overview

Balloon Track for Windows95 is a 32 bit program and will not run under Windows 3.x. You must be running Windows95/98/ME/NT/2000.

Links to major program functions appear in the menu above.

With the advent of more technically sophisticated and EXPENSIVE balloon payloads. It is more important than ever to develop a reliable prediction for the landing zone to assist recovery team coordinators in deploying their "assets" profitably.

BALLTRACK.BAS written by Bill Brown, will do the job with great precision. However, in today's world of GUI operating systems, I thought I'd take this prediction program to the next level.

Balloon Track for Windows essentially does the same job as BALLTRACK.BAS. However, I've added a few new features which should make the process of predictions a bit more painless.

The program used to have a help system. However, maintaining it proved to be just too cumbersome. If I wished to spend hundreds of dollars, I could buy a great program to help me out with that but, it just isn't worth it for what I "charge" for this program. I recommend you come to the web pages and see if you can get the answers you need here. On the main menu in the program under "Help" is a link to this web site.

Example data files are available here on the Importing Data Page. You can use these files to test the program. However, you would probably be wise to use actual winds aloft data as it will also familiarize you with the process of obtaining the data.

Balloon Track for Windows will read in BALLTRACK.BAS's data file format, so you can use it to peruse any old files you may have parked on the Hard Disk. But where it shines is in it's ability to import "raw" text files you can obtain over the internet. It will extract the altitude, wind speed, and wind direction from that file and place it directly into the program. You can then save this data in the more compact data file Balloon Track normally uses.

Automating this process accomplishes two goals. One, it obviates the necessity of manually converting measurement units and keying data. And two, it eliminates the possibility of user error in that keying process. The second is the most important, but the first was my main goal. I hated having to key in all that stuff for each prediction. See the Importing Data Page for sites where you can find data.

Originally as a secondary purpose, I wrote some realtime tracking stuff. However, with the recent addition of MapPoint, I think I may start to rely pretty heavily on Balloon Track during flights too. To give you an idea of what can happen during a flight:

Click HERE or on screen shot above to see it in full resolution

Above is a screen shot of my desktop. The program is running in simulation mode so I can test out the new mapping feature, however, look what I've got here.

Upper Left is the MapPoint display with the track as of this capture (about 26K feet in the air). Upper right is the Flight Analysis display showing lots of information about the current state of the balloon's flight. Lower left is the Packet Terminal Screen and lower left the Alternate Tracking Stations. It all updates live during a flight (or simulation). With the addition of the maps, I'm really looking forward to our next flight.