Balloons and kites may be used for observation (visual and meteorological) and communication (antenna-lifting) purposes. For these purposes, it may be necessary for the vehicle to stay in one place. 

Unlike a sailing ship, a free balloon cannot sail in any direction other than directly downwind (sailing ships take advantage of the balance of aerodynamic and hydrodynamic forces to sail offwind). The most that a free balloon pilot can do is to take advantage of the variation of wind direction with altitude. Hence, unless there are special weather conditions (like the "Albuquerque box"), a free balloon cannot maintain station . . .

We're very sorry, but this content is only available to current subscribers.

Perhaps you just need to log in.  If you're already logged in, please check if your subscription has expired by looking here.

If you're not already a subscriber you need to know that our columns and editorials are free, along with a few other items, but almost all stories and all downloads are paid only.

If you want to read the entire gazette, you need to either subscribe here, or purchase a download of any single issue at the Baen Books e-book store  or at

- The Grantville Gazette Staff