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Today kicks off Avaiation week in the UK and with it there are going to be aeronautical celebrations all around the UK. From the smallest glider to giant transport airplanes to the fastest and most agile fighter planes in the world, all of these and more will be represented at air shows across the country. With Air shows going on all over England today, today is a great day to talk about sky lantern safety when it comes to how they interact with airfields and airplanes.

Proper Use of Sky Lanterns

As a reminder to all users of floating lanterns, both who bought from as well as others who have sky lanterns and have stumbled upon our site and blog, you need to use caution when launching sky lanterns. There are big fines and possibly worse for launching sky lanterns into areas that are known to have airplane traffic. Just as James May of Top Gear flew his combination hot air balloon and travel trailer into restricted air space and got in trouble a couple seasons ago on the show, you too can get in trouble for launching Chinese Hanging Lanterns that end up in the airspace around airports.

The way to avoid this is to simply be cautious when launching the lanterns. You want to observe the wind direction as well as the wind speed. If the wind direction is going to take your lanterns toward any nearby airports, then you will want to either move your launch site or call of the launch of the Chinese Hanging Lanterns for the day or at least until the winds change. It is seriously dangerous to pilots to be distracted by lanterns and even more dangerous if they try to dodge one or worse hit one while flying along.

Also note the wind speed. You don’t need a gauge for this, just be observant. If it is windy, as opposed to there being a light breeze, you will want to not launch your sky lanterns. Launching them in windy conditions can damage them but it also affects their flight path quite a bit. They need far more than the recommended 30 metres of distance from any buildings or trees to get up high in the sky which adds a level of unpredictability to the flight path. While there may be a chance of catching a wind current in the air and flying farther than expected, strong winds can make the floating lantern behave erratically and can potentially cause damage during their flight.

Aviation Week Celebrations with Sky Lanterns

With the proper precautions, sky lanterns can be a great fit into Aviation week celebrations. The principal that Chinese Hanging Lanterns use for flight is the same as the modern hot air balloon and was perhaps the first inspiration for human flight. Safely launching floating lanterns, adorned with messages of flight or drawings of airplanes would be wholly appropriate during this week of Aviation related festivities around the UK. Be safe, but enjoy sky lanterns during this time.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2010 at 7:40 AM and is filed under General News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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