WX Sonde #3 Tracked and Recovered

This Sonde was supposed to be landing near Davis, CA, but that didn’t work out. Instead it traveled toward Sacramento and ultimately landed near the Sacramento International Airport (SMF). With just 50 minutes to landing (well after the balloon burst) I packed up the chase vehicle and headed to the airport. I wasn’t originally planning on retrieving this one, but who can pass up an opportunity when the landing is so close! The timing worked out well and I was able to be in the landing area to capture the final resting position. Thanks to r00t for his usual expert navigation and real time modeling of landing position. I was able to drive to it within 100 meters.

Below you can see the great distance this Sonde travelled, essentially from Oakland Airport to the Sacramento Airport.

Overall path of Sonde from near Oakland CA to landing site.

This Sonde reached 31,523 meters before bursting. A very nice slow descent rate allowing me to get into position at the last possible moment.

Overall elevation profile for the Sonde.

We were lucky that the Sonde landed in a nice open field of Tomatoes. Retrieval took about 4 minutes, most of the time was untangling the long Sonde attachment string. You can see the landing location, retrieval path and also an overlay of the GUI output as it looked after retrieval.

Final landing and retrieval location.

A very short video of the landing location and retrieval.

Here are a couple of pictures of the actual recovered Sonde, showing the launch label and also the manufacturers sticker with model/serial number to match up with GUI output.

Label including location and time of launch.

Model and serial number of Sonde.

Category(s): Sonde
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