Launching Balloons in Germany

Back in Berlin Sven was already waiting for me to continue with exessive ballon launch sessions. First I tried to get an update on the legal framework in this country. From a non-lawyer perspecive I thought that the Luftverkehrs-Ordnung was applicable.

§ 16a Besondere Benutzung des kontrollierten Luftraums

(1) Bei Inanspruchnahme des kontrollierten Luftraums ist von der zuständigen Flugverkehrskontrollstelle eine Flugverkehrskontrollfreigabe einzuholen für 

4. Aufstiege von unbemannten Freiballonen (insbesondere Wetterballonen) mit einer Gesamtmasse von Ballonhülle und Ballast von mehr als 0,5 Kilogramm,

This means that unmanned balloons below 500 grams total weight do not require a NOTAM to the German flight control.

Also note that a few lines above they mention:

1. Fallschirmsprünge und den Abwurf von Gegenständen an Fallschirmen;

This means that for legal reasons you DON’T want to use a parachute, else you need to report this in an official NOTAM. The restriction to 500 grams is actually an interesting challenge and with today’s electronics it’s entirely possible to launch all kind of interesting payloads below this weight limit. In fact I’ve ordered a couple of 150 g balloons and we built our own “Pi in the Sky” with the help of Dave Akerman‘s great descriptions, experience and software. Instead of a MTX2 we used a modified Pecan 144.600 MHz transmitter at 1000 Hz shift at 600 Baud RTTY. At a total payload weight of 125 g and a 150 g latex balloon we were far below the 0.5 kg limit, but still we’ve got an impressive flight with ssdv pics up to an altitude of 23.5 km and of course: Landing in a tall tree…

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2 thoughts on “Launching Balloons in Germany

  1. Well, it’s better to hug the tree instead of cutting it down!! Congrats on a great flight!

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