Balloon Aeronaut Wins Aviation Weather Quiz

October 17, 2017
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Ed Chapman knows a thing or two about weather. When Paxton Calvanese, the developer of weather app Wx24Pilot produced an online weather quiz for aviators, he anticipated that flight students, flight instructors and professional pilots would participate.

After all, aviation professionals tend to be constant learners who are always looking for ways to perfect and refresh their skills.

But Calvanese was pleased to learn that the winner is not only a fixed-wing pilot in the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame, but also a balloon aeronaut with over 25,000 hours in airplanes and balloons, and the Chief Aeronaut for

Chapman was thrilled to learn that his weather expertise and interest (and the time he took to take the 20-question quiz) as rewarded as the sole winner of flight instructor and author Rod Machado’s new course, Handling In-Flight Emergencies.

Chapman has set 20 world records in hot air balloons for distance, duration and high altitude, and has flown over 5,000 passengers.

Balloon aeronauts think differently about weather than other pilots. “As balloon pilots, we’re much more tuned in to weather events than our fixed wing brethren,” said Chapman. “We need to know what’s going on now, and what will be happening two to three hours from now.”

While other pilots may only be interested in surface winds at their landing locations and winds aloft, balloon aeronauts are very concerned about winds at 95 feet, 150 feet, and 200 feet. Since the balloon itself may be 80 feet tall, winds at several altitudes might affect their speed and navigation at once.

Surface winds are also a much larger factor than for most of their fellow pilots. “Landing speeds at over 10 knots make it very easy to sprain an ankle or a knee, so we pay very close attention to that,” said Chapman.

He indicated that he takes every opportunity to learn about weather. “In all of the many hours of flying, and the many checkrides I’ve had, I’ve never had a check pilot fault me for knowing too much about weather!” he jokes.

Chapman used the username Stormy105 to take the quiz and enter the contest. His email address was the only thing known about him at the time his entry was selected at random.

“Every email address has a story behind it,” he said. Balloons, like boats, have names, and the balloon he used to achieve 19 of the 20 world records he has set was a black balloon with four lightning bolts, appropriately named Stormy Weather.

Balloons come in standard sizes, and Stormy Weather is a “105” or medium-large balloon which holds 105,000 cubic feet of heated air.

About Wx24Pilot

Wx24Pilot is a new way of showing preflight weather that provides superior weather awareness yielding safer flight. Wx24Weather through its unique interface and innovative features, it communicates significantly more weather information, faster. Wx24Pilot is an iOS app produced by Paxton Calvanese, of 1 Echo Charlie, LLC.

Calvanese has the unique blend of technical and creative talent – as a software developer, user experience expert and talented photographer. This combination makes him sought after in digital client experience and visualizing complex data, or as Calvanese likes to say, “making things simple is quite complex.” His distinctive talent, love of aviation and frustration with traditional weather apps was the genesis for the development of the wx24 Pilot app in 2015. The app is available for a one-month free trial and can be downloaded to Apple mobile devices through iTunes. After the free trial, pricing ranges from $9.99/year to $39.99/year depending on the location and options selected.

For more information about wx24 Pilot, please visit

SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]

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