back to article Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar has pulled off a bit of a blinder by successfully flying an ultralight radio payload right round the planet. Launched on 12 July from near Silverstone, Northamptonshire, B-64 yesterday returned to Blighty, and was this morning still going strong over Sweden. The path of the balloon yesterday as it …

  1. knarf

    Hats off to a stunning acheivement

    Well done mate!!!

  2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Stealth Baloon

    I'm impressed that it managed to traverse the some of the most dangerous airspace in the world(North Korea, Ukraine, Russia as well as the US) without causing world war 3

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Stealth Baloon

      Must have the radar cross-section of a pigeon. Doubt any of them even knew it was there.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Stealth Baloon

        well a B2 is supposed to have the equivalent radar cross section of a pigeon, but Russia have claimed for years that they have the ability to detect it. Also B2's don't squawk radio waves in all directions.

        Jast saying that balloon had to cross some very paranoid airspace

        1. Matt 21

          Re: Stealth Baloon

          Assuming that it is in fact invisible to radar, is there any chance of it causing problems for choppers or jet planes? I would have thought it would make a mess of a jet engine iof it got sucked in.

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: Stealth Baloon

            There aren't many helicopters at 13,000m (43,000ft), and the tiny balloon + payload would have zero affect on a jet engine, which is design to handle ingesting large birds.

        2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

          Re: Stealth Baloon

          Jast saying that balloon had to cross some very paranoid airspace

          Especially Canada!

    2. cortland

      Re: Stealth Baloon

      Lackey: Great Leader! Imperialists have stealth spy balloons!

      GL: Fire all missiles!

      1. MrT

        Re: Fire all missiles! ...

        ... Charge the lightning field! Dispatch war-rocket Ajax to bring back its body!

  3. Arachnoid

    Chinese lanterns

    So are we soon to hear a BBC Farmers hour report relating storys about a littering of mysteriously beeping home built airdroids descending from the skys

    1. daveake

      Re: Chinese lanterns

      Well, to put that in perspective, Leo flies 1 balloon every week or so whilst the UK met office send up about 2000 every year.

      1. Arachnoid

        Re: Chinese lanterns

        I was referencing the possible innocuous copycat trend of others thinking they would try the very same experiment.

  4. AbortRetryFail


    Just goes to show how resilient and long-lasting a "floater" is.


    1. ElNumbre
      Thumb Up

      Re: Floater

      A bit too high to poke with a plunger.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Floater

      Plumbing new depths, my dear.

    3. MrT

      Hanging on to a long-lasting floater...

      ...a Billy Connolly song and a couple of sketches spring to mind... :-)

  5. phuzz Silver badge

    "using both the 434.500MHz band and 2m amateur band"

    Nice mixed units there, how about either 'both the 0.690m and 2m bands' OR 'both the 434.500MHz and 149.9MHz bands'?

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge


      It's the two metre band. Frequency is irrelevant, and subject to change if they change the speed of light.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Tradition.

        @neil_barnes They're not planning on lowering the speed of light again are they? Bloody environmentalists.

        Mind you if they do, could they make it about 100mph then I can experience all those weird clocks-run-slow, man-on-station-platform-weighs-twice-as-much relativistic effects every time I use Virgin West Coast.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tradition.

          Surly they'd have to get it below 59mph for that!

        2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Tradition.

          @MyffyW - I think they must be. My watch runs fine for weeks and then has a phase of losing five minutes an hour for a couple of days. They're obviously messing around with *something*.

    2. Jonathon Desmond

      I concur, but the normal terminology used by these types of bods is 2m and 70cm, or 144MHz and 440MHz. It looks odd to mix them.

      1. cortland

        It does, and we do.

        A miss is as good as a mile.

    3. Gnomalarta

      Mixed Up Units

      Wavelengths below 1m are normally referred to in cms or mm, so in this case 434.500 MHz is in the 70cms amateur band. The 2m frequency was mostly likely 144.8MHz for the APRS (

    4. Ellis Birt 1

      434.500MHz is a spot frequency in the 70cm Amateur band (430-440 Mhz in ITU Region 1 and 420-450 in regions 2 & 3).

      The 2m Amateur band is 144-146MHz in ITU region 1 (144-148 in regions 2 & 3). The actual transmission frequency on 2m changes as the balloon passes through different APRS regions.

  6. ISYS


    I can't wait for the Holywood film about this:

    Brad Bodnar, a geek from Wisconsin who has always fancied the lead cheerleader from high school, launches his balloon. It then flies round the world until it reaches North Korea who are just about to launch a Nuke at the USA. Brad's balloon detects this (don't ask me how) and he then re-programmes it, you will see him furiously typing at a keyboard while lots of code scrolls up the screen and there is an animation of his balloon on the screen, the balloon descends in to the path of the nuke and destroys it.

    Everyone is so grateful, especially the cheerleader who dumps her meat-head boyfriend and marries Brad.

    President Halle Berry is at their wedding.

    The End

    PS - Well done Leo - A pint to you.

  7. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Looks so simple...

    But I bet it ain't. And doesn't the payload look like a mini Hubble telescope in the pic, or is that getting too nerdy?

    Anyway top marks to him, and an obligatory pint of the good stuff (without the "benefit" of having been sent aloft itself).

    Ad Astra Tabernamque - as they say in Spain.

  8. Toltec

    For a moment there

    I thought he had flown around the world in a balloon.

  9. Eclectic Man


    Surely Mr. Bodnar should be accorded the accolade of 'Boffin' for his wondrous achievement?

    1. Jock in a Frock

      Re: Boffin?

      He's already a boffin:

      Sells USB controllers and components for hobbyists (model aircraft / flight sim controllers etc).

      1. Clive Galway

        Re: Boffin?

        Not just for R/C hobbyists.

        His USB controllers are awesome for custom built PC joysticks, or for retro-fitting an existing joystick with upgraded Hall Effect sensors / better resolution.

  10. Peter Ford

    Around the world in 18 days

    What was that Phileas Fogg mucking about at?

  11. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Countries Crossed

    I make it 21 countries to and including Sweden:

    England, France Italy Albania Macedonia Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, North Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, Greenland, Holland, Denmark and Sweden.

    With a fair short at including Finland...

    And it could have clipped a corner of German territory between Holland and Denmark.

    Amazing and astounding. ELEVEN GRAM PAYLOAD!


    1. Christopher E. Stith

      Re: Countries Crossed

      Mr. Putin counts 16:

      England, France, Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, Mongolia, China, North Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, Greenland, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden.

  12. oldcoder

    Now, if only it supports a mesh wireless network...

    Releasing thousands into the air every year would soon create a truly global internet...

  13. JCitizen


    The beat LOHAN to the punch!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. floater

    Should have put an LED on it, and flashed it when going over the UK so it could be seen.

    1. Richard Ball

      Re: Re. floater - LED

      A blue one for those who are easily pleased by lighty-up things...

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