The Mood
Did a $400,000 Missile Take Down a Hobby Club’s Balloon?

Did a $400,000 Missile Take Down a Hobby Club’s Balloon?

If So, Reality Continues to Out-Weird Fiction

A hobby group is wondering what happened to their balloon that went missing around the same time and place as when a U.S. Air Force jet shot down an object near Alaska using a $400,000 Sidewinder missile.

The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) launches balloons equipped with devices that transmit their location, and they cost as little as $12. However, some are wondering if their balloon was mistaken for a UFO.

According to Aviation Week, “the descriptions of the three objects shot down Feb. 10–12 match the shapes, altitudes and payloads of the small pico balloons, which can usually be purchased for $12–180 each, depending on the type.”

Tom Medlin, a retired FedEx engineer and co-host of the Amateur Radio Roundtable show, said, “I’m guessing probably they were pico balloons.” Medlin has three pico balloons in flight in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Ron Meadows, the founder of Scientific Balloon Solutions (SBS), said he “tried contacting our military and the FBI — and just got the runaround — to try to enlighten them on what a lot of these things probably are. And they’re going to look not too intelligent to be shooting them down,” Meadows said. SBS makes purpose-built pico balloons for hobbyists, educators and scientists.

The website for the hobby group in Northern Illinois says, “Since our first launch we have flown 25 balloons (actually a little more, we kept some flights to ourselves). Six ended up in trees (we found a fix for that). Six balloons never said hello (we think we have a fix for that). We had eight balloons that traveled the United States. We had nine balloons that left the United States. We had three balloons that almost made it around the world. We have two balloons flying around the world.”

Notably, one of their inflatables disappeared around the same time and in the same area where the UFO was brought down. If that’s the case, then it looks like the balloon could have been mistaken for an unidentified intruder.

Is the truth out there?

The hobby group says says their balloon last pinged near Yukon on February 10th, just hours before the F-22 fighter jet brought down the UFO.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that an “unidentified object” was downed over Canada’s Yukon territory, several hundred miles from the NIBBB’s last known location for their balloon. The NIBBB claims that their balloon was headed in the direction of Yukon before it vanished, opening up the possibility that their hobby balloon was the object downed by the U.S. military.

All of this news has sparked ongoing hysteria among those who believe in UFOs, as many are wondering if the mysterious object downed by the U.S. Air Force was, in fact, an extraterrestrial spacecraft. But who would have thought that a hobby balloon might accidentally cause such a commotion?

At the time of writing, the NIBBB has not commented further on the incident aside from reporting their balloon missing, leaving many to speculate what really happened.