Could You Break the Record for an Around-the-World Balloon Flight?
ES1908  Choosing a Flight Path
Imagine that you are a balloon pilot trying to break the Breitling Orbiter 3 speed record for an around-the-world flight. The links below provide maps of the current location and speed of jet streams. In the maps, color represents wind speed, with reds and yellows indicating the fastest winds. The wind speed is given in knots, where 1 knot equals 1.15 mph. Use these maps to develop your flight plan.

  !   Click the images to access the latest Northern and Southern Hemisphere jet stream maps.

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7. Which jet stream do you think offers the best chance for flying around the world? Explain your choice.

8. Given this choice of jet streams, where would the best takeoff point be? Explain your choice.

9. What is the maximum speed at which this jet stream would carry the balloon?

10. If this air speed could be maintained, how many hours would it take to fly 20,000 miles?

11. Based upon this information, do you think this balloon flight would beat Breitling Orbiter 3's record? Why or why not?

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