CHICAGO, IL — Aviation Week and Space Technology reported yesterday that the the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) is missing one of its balloons.
The report stated that the disappearance had correlations with reports of a shoot down of an unidentified object by U.S. Air Force fighter jet last week.
“The club’s silver-coated, party-style, “pico balloon” reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and a popular forecasting tool—the HYSPLIT model provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—projected the cylindrically shaped object would be floating high over the central part of the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That is the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area,” reported Aviation Week.
According to the NIBBB:
“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. AA6DY that has made it around the world three times and still flying. K9YO has made it around the world twice and still flying.”
Aviation Week attempted to contact multiple federal government agencies, including NORAD and the Department of Defense, but none would own up to shooting down the NIBBB’s “pico balloon.”
Reports are that President Joe Biden personally ordered the balloon shot down. There have been four balloon-type objects downed this past week. The first was likely a Chinese spy balloon that the Biden Administration allowed to float over sensitive ICBM missile fields in Montana and Wyoming. An F-22 downed that 200-foot-high balloon, reported to have a payload the size of a regional jet similar to the jets that land and takeoff from Mathis field, off the coast of South Carolina. Then shortly thereafter, three smaller balloon-type objects were downed over Alaska, Canada’s Yukon Territory, and over Lake Huron.
The NIBBB’s balloon may have been the object downed over the Yukon. The balloon reportedly had a very small payload that measured atmospheric weather conditions using a small solar power generated instrumentation.
According to the club:
“There has been particular interest in one of our pico balloons, one that transmits call sign K9YO. As noted on our “Locate and Track” page and blog, the last transmission from that balloon received and reported to the WSPR system was on February 11, 2023, and indicated that balloon was near Hagemeister Island, off the southwest corner of Alaska. Since we have not found a transmission from that balloon since that time, we have declared it “Missing In Action”, as we have with previous flights. At that time, K9YO had circumnavigated the globe 6 times and was nearing the completion of a 7th lap. Unfortunately, that’s where the factual information on its location ends.”
The NIBBB stated that its projects are registered with the federal government, including the FCC, and adhere to the law. The balloon had circumnavigated the globe at least six times uneventfully and was on its seventh pass when it went missing. Since the club’s K9YO balloon has been tied with the Yukon shoot down, their club members have been inundated with requests from the media. The club disabled commenting on its website.