Monthly Archives: June 2014

The conquest of the skies – balloon history from 1870

The First Aerial Voyage

The First Aerial Voyage

“The title of our introduction to aeronautics may appear ambitious to astronomers, and to those who know that the infinite space we call the heavens is for ever inaccessible to travellers from the earth; but it was not so considered by those who witnessed the ardent enthusiasm evoked at the ascension of the first balloon. No discovery, in the whole range of history, has elicited an equal degree of applause and admiration—never has the genius of man won a triumph which at first blush seemed more glorious. The mathematical and physical sciences had in aeronautics achieved apparently their greatest honours, and inaugurated a new era in the progress of knowledge. After having subjected the earth to their power; after having made the waves of the sea stoop in submission under the keels of their ships; after having caught the lightning of heaven and made it subservient to the ordinary purposes of life, the genius of man undertook to conquer the regions of the air. Imagination, intoxicated with past successes, could descry no limit to human power; the gates of the infinite seemed to be swinging back before man’s advancing step, and the last was believed to be the greatest of his achievements.

Balloon of the Marquis D'Arlandes

Balloon of the Marquis D’Arlandes

In order to comprehend the frenzy of the enthusiasm which the first aeronautic triumphs called forth, it is necessary to recall the appearance of Montgolfier at Versailles, on the 19th of September, 1783, before Louis XVI, or of the earliest aeronauts at the Tuileries. Paris hailed the first of these men with the greatest acclaim, “and then, as now,” says a French writer, “the voice of Paris gave the cue to France, and France to the world!” Nobles and artisans, scientific men and badauds, great and small, were moved with one universal impulse. In the streets the praises of the balloon were sung; in the libraries models of it abounded; and in the salons the one universal topic was the great “machine.” In anticipation, the poet delighted himself with bird’s-eye views of the scenery of strange countries; the prisoner mused on what might be a new way of escape; the physicist visited the laboratory in which the lightning and the meteors were manufactured; the geometrician beheld the plans of cities and the outlines of kingdoms; the general discovered the position of the enemy or rained shells on the besieged town; the police beheld a new mode in which to carry on the secret service; Hope heralded a new conquest from the domain of nature, and the historian registered a new chapter in the annals of human knowledge.”

The Destruction of Charles's Balloon

The Destruction of Charles’s Balloon

The full book here: WONDERFUL BALLOON ASCENTS or, the Conquest of the Skies A History of Balloons and Balloon Voyages – By F. Marion 1870.

New stable release of oziTarget for competitors

OziTarget new stable release v1.4.5.0Version has been released and ushers in all the design changes to oziTarget to help make your flight planning and navigation even easier than before.

The change log is huge and I have to thank the work done by various pilots all around the world in submitting ideas and bugs along the way.

Here is the list of what is new or changed.  It may be easier to just download it and poke around!

If you are updating, please allow a few days of playing with the new version to make sure you are comfortable with it before heading into a competition.

v1.4.5.0 change log

– Task Rings.  New layout design for a much smaller tool on the screen.  The keyboard is now optional to save space.
– Task Rings.  Ability to draw a series of arcs instead of a full ring to help keep the map clear.

– Windreader Data: New Windreader layout including unlimited entries.
– Windreader data: Data can now be drawn at any point on the map, not just waypoints.
– Windreader data: Data rows selectable so you can draw some or all of the data in the windreader list.
– Windreader data: Experimental windreader data import for Windwatch and Wondsond systems.  CSV files can be read but more checking needs to be done with regards to units and file formats but seems to be working enough to play with.

– Waypoint Tools.  A new tool for seeing the 8 figure grid reference, moving and rounding a waypoint by its grid reference and creating waypoints by just the 8 figure grid reference.  Particularly helpful for fast and accurate entry from a task sheet.
– Waypoint Tools.  Point and Click generation of waypoints so that they include elevation data if available.

– Scoring areas.  Scoring areas can now be drawn as open lines rather than defaulting to a closed loop.
– Scoring areas.  Scoring areas can be drawn on track #1.  Right click in scoring areas to select this option.  Helpful if you are setting up a map and want to edit or work with the tracks further.

– Multiple waypoints.  Tracking of multiple waypoints has been totaly re-written.  Use the context menu to access settings.  Currently limited to tracking 4 waypoints.  Scream if you need more.
– Multiple waypoints.  Multiple waypoints now stores the last used waypoints and re-loads them when you re-open the window so you don’t loose them every time you close that window down.

– Track Hold.  You can now manually enter a direction on the main screen for drawing at a waypoint.  Just a bit easier if your crew give you a surface reading for example.

– Ground elevation data.  If you have your map set up with 3D data for ground elevation then this information can be shown in the main window as well as your height above ground.  They can also he hidden from the HELP menu if you don’t want it or don’t have the 3D data.  Details of how to get elevation are in the help file v0.3

– New limitations on the usage under Trial mode.

– Keypad.  I have written a new on screen keypad that can be hidden when not in use.  The little icon that looks like a keypad (I hope!) will open it from any of the windows that you may want it from.  If you like the full Windows OSK then mine will not get in your way.

– User grid settings added for Transverse Mercator maps (as used in Austria or Swiss Nationals for example).

– New settings pop out on Windreader and Multiple targets (Right click to select settings from context menu)

– Icons now used for most features to reduce the size of buttons and making key items more recognisable.

– All windows now remember their last location.

– Extensions/Plug-in system.  This is a big change so I can work on modules separate from the main code.  The first plug-in is the altitude simulator for sending simulated altitude data to oziTarget when sitting at your desk.

– A proper help file is under construction.  It is accessible buy hitting F1 on most windows or from the Help Menu on the main form.

– Registration can now be entered by copying a supplied “licence.xml” file into the oziTarget directory.  Manual entry can also be done but this solves the issue of typing in a long and complicated registration code.

by Sean Kavanagh

Awesome video from FAI

The FAI has released a new video featuring all air sports activities under the umbrella of the Federation. The 3-minute film succinctly presents the FAI sports and includes footage of FAI international records from Charles Lindbergh to Felix Baumgartner.

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The video sequences have been selected from various sources to highlight the beauty and diversity of Aeromodelling, Aerobatics, Ballooning, Experimental Aircraft, General Aviation, Gliding, Hang Gliding and Paragliding, Microlights and Paramotors, Parachuting and Rotorcraft.

“With this new video we aim to pass the bug for air sports to as many people as possible; all our sports have the great advantage of being exciting not only to practice, but also to watch,” said Secretary General Susanne Schödel. “We also want to emphasise that the FAI is part of the epic history of aviation and air sports, having ratified over the years more than 17,000 records including those of Lindbergh, Gagarin, Armstrong, Piccard, Fossett and Baumgartner, to name but a few.”