Plane Engine Ingests Weather Balloon


Sep 2, 2004
Blacksburg, VA
Woa. Thats unusual. Its a big sky but I suppose with the number of sounding balloons and aircraft it had to happen eventually. I'm a little surprised the engine was that affected... thought weather balloons were on the light side. Wonder how damaged the engine actually was... how precautionary that shutdown was verse how much functionality the engine actually had?

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
Westminster, CO
Balloons are launched an hour before their nominal valid time (so that the sounding will be completed by the nominal valid time and the data can be assimilated into that model cycle's forecast with little/no lag), so it makes total sense that the craft flew over a launch site 6 minutes after balloon launch and intercepted it at about 3000 ft AGL. Also, apparently there is an Indian Meteorological Department office 6 km away from the end of one of the runways at the airport.