Weather balloon takes flight over Freedom Balloon Fest

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- An experimental weather balloon ascended 63,000 feet over the Freedom Balloon Fest on Saturday.

The balloon took flight after being mounted with a variety of gadgets.

Here was the payload on the balloon:

  • Aircraft positions reporting system tracker (APRS Tracker)

  • Spot GPS Tracker

  • 170-degree camera

  • Still camera


  • Proclamation Letter from Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne

  • Bengal tiger stuffed animal

  • Red poppy from American Legion Post 116: The red poppy is a nationally recognized symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since WWI to honor those who served and died for our country.

  • Balloon cards

  • Project Uplift USA decal and pin


  • Pepsi bottle


A picture taken at 60,000 feet.



The flight lasted for an hour and a half. After reaching an altitude of 63,000 feet, the balloon ruptured and sent the payload safely (thanks to a parachute) back to the ground.

In total, it traveled 36 miles to Middlesex.

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