www.pilotballoon.com "the pilot balloon web resource"
The WINDSOCK by Custom Craft Electronic Pibal System.
The Windsock Electronic Pilot Balloon system is currently in production and development is continuing. It is one of the most affordable and easy to use systems available today. The Windsock electronic pilot balloon tracking and data processing system is designed principally for use by Hot Air Balloonists to determine upper air wind direction and velocity. Oddly enough the need to supply manned balloonists with upper air measurements was the reason for developing pibal techniques over 100 years ago!
The Windsock system includes two major elements: "Windsock" itself which consists of the Windsock software and an HP 48G+ programmable calculator (with the software pre-installed) and the "Windsock Electronic Theodolite" (WET) - an electronic altitude azimuth sensor and a serial cable to connect the WET to the Windsock (the HP 48G+ with the software). The two elements are available separately. HP is replacing the 48G+ and 48GX calculators with the 48GII calculator. Windsock will soon be available on this platform with even faster performance.
Optional equipment includes a wireless (infrared) printer, a pistol grip for the WET and a scope for the pistol grip, which aid in keeping the theodolite aimed at the balloon. Note that the WED is offset from the vertical axis of the scope by 45 degrees. The WET is optimized for this orientation.
The Electronic Theodolite runs on a single 9 Volt Battery, the HP 48G+ runs on three AAA batteries, the optional printer which uses 4 AA batteries or an AC adapter.
Features of the "Windsock" system (Software and HP 48G+):
Futures of the Windsock Electronic Theodolite (WET):
Three Axis Compass (azimuth readings are not degraded by tilting).
Features of linked Windsock and Windsock Electronic Theodolite:
Calibration of the WET.
For users wishing to use conventional pilot balloon theodolites, (or compass, clinometers, sextants... etc.) to make balloon observations, the Windsock programs and HP 48G+ can be purchased without the Windsock Electronic Theodolite for $ 345.00. The Winsock will function as a sophisticated pibal timer, then allow manual entry of observations from which it will produce a complete wind profile and graph.
The Winsock Electronic Theodolite is available separately to add on to an existing Windsock (or for use with other data acquisition and processing systems) for $ 1,295.00.
more information contact:
Here are two views of the Windsock and Windsock Electronic Theodolite added to a conventional Pilot Balloon Theodolite. This system above was used with great success at the 2003 World Aerobatic Championships in Lakeland Florida.
Additional Links for Windsock (Note that the contact and price information in these links is outdated)