Despite the fact that HAB-2 was exempt from FAA regulations, I planned the launch with FAA requirements in mind.

  1. Launch site, flight path, and landing site was chosen to lie away from busy airspace
  2. Notice To Airment (NOTAM) was filed
  3. Boston Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) was notified
  4. Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) was notified

Choosing launch site

  1. Using Aviation Charts at FlightPlanner, I printed a map showing Class B, C, D, E airspace and all special use airspace (marked in circles on the map below)
  2. I studied wind patterns at WindFinder and Jet Stream maps
  3. Looked at flight predictions at CUSF flight predictor

Winds in Massachusetts blow predominantly east. We picked a launch site in Vermont, 100+ miles west from the coast, to keep balloon’s flight path away from major airports and Atlantic ocean.

High Altitude Balloon - Predicted flight path

High Altitude Balloon – Predicted flight path

 Notifying FAA

First, I called Lockheed-Martin NOTAM filing service and filed a Notice To Airmen. It is easy to do, if you speak the right lingo – and if you don’t, have a look here and here.

High Altitude Balloon - NOTAM notice

High Altitude Balloon – NOTAM notice

  • 4V8045011 – 11 nautical miles from 4V8 airport at 45┬░ radial (North-East)
  • SFC-UNL – Surface to unlimited altitude (i.e. above 80,000 ft)
  • SOUTHEAST BOUND – flight path direction
  • 1504121500-1504121900 – 04/12/2015 from 15:00 UTC to 19:00 UTC time

Second, I called Boston Consolidated TRACON, which manages arrivals and departures from Boston Logan airport and dozens of smaller airports in the area.

Third, I called Boston ARTCC, which controls en-route air traffic.