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NIWA flying helikite during balloon fiesta

NIWA flying helikite during balloon fiesta

Among the colour and spectacle of this week’s Wairarapa Balloon Fiesta will be a small but crucial flying contraption known as a helikite.

Operated by NIWA scientists, the helikite will provide vital weather information to balloon pilots before they take off.

Meteorologist Tony Bromley describes the helikite as a cross between a balloon and a kite that uses helium to achieve lift. It has a range of instruments attached to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction and pressure which is constantly transmitted to the ground.

Raised and lowered using a winch, the helikite can be deployed up to a kilometre high in order to provide real time information for the balloon pilots. It will be constantly raised and lowered throughout the fiesta taking measurements every two to three metres.

Mr Bromley said NIWA will provide regular general weather forecasts as well as more localised forecasts for pilots to help them determine the best balloon flying times.

“At this time of year we can expect a lot of calm weather in the early mornings and evenings so there’s a high likelihood of good ballooning conditions at various times,” he said.

The helikite will be positioned at Masterton, Carterton and Martinborough during the fiesta which runs fromThursday to Sunday.

Regular updates will be published on the Wairarapa Balloon Fiesta Facebook page or see www.nzballoons.co.nz for more information.

ENDS

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