We want to move from point A to point B using a balloon.

If one knows the wind directions, How can one determine the altitude that will steer the Balloon to the desired location?

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    $\begingroup$ you can find a lot of inforrmation about navigation over at aviation.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2023 at 3:44
  • $\begingroup$ Confused by what you're asking (almost sounds like a homework question, but perhaps not?). Wouldn't a hot air balloon always travel in the direction of the wind (and being so small vertically, doesn't really feel much of a composite of winds, unlike a thunderstorm or such)? So if you want to head NE, you'd find a height with SW winds? Or at least some with a westerly component or a southerly component, and then adjust using other winds $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2023 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ It is not homework. I wanted to get opinions from the others. In particular, I wanted to know if there are any limitations. I guess, I have to figure it out myself by simulating the object using actual wind data. $\endgroup$
    – Tee
    Jun 30, 2023 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


This is more about navigation than earth science.

Wind direction will obviously affect the direction of travel of a balloon. You are unlikely to get a wind that will correspond with the bearing you require. If you do you are lucky - use it!

As with sailing, you will most likely have to travel on a given bearing for a certain amount of time before changing direction for another period of time and repeat this procedure until you reach your target. With different wind speeds and directions at different altitudes this will necessitate a change of altitude to the wind direction you require for the next leg of a journey.

Unless you are a very experienced balloonist, planning on-the-go to determine when to change altitude and to which altitude, will be required.


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