Aerospace Engineering Department
BS in Aerospace Engineering
David D. Marshall
This report describes a program used for navigating a hot air balloon. The program, Balloon_Trip, was written using MATLAB and gives a flight path to follow from a start position to an end position. Balloon_Trip calculates the flight path by taking in wind conditions and then flying through these different winds so as to steer the hot air balloon. The program calculates the flight path by taking into consideration at all times how the wind will propel the balloon while it is rising or falling in elevation. It then takes the most direct and least complicated, if not fastest, route from the starting location to the ending location. All of the flight paths chosen are segmented into five parts, two segments that move the hot air balloon strictly horizontal and three in which the balloon ascends or descends to the specific elevations in which the horizontal movement segments occur.