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strange find

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Hi everyone,First post...:-) Im more of a designer than a flyer, but i was testing out a new model in the Gulf of Mexico when i came across this...thing.what is it? I thought it was an antenna at first...Just curious.Glad to be a part of the best fs forum around!see yafaceplant

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That's one of those ariel balloons, an "easter egg" from MSN. Variously used to snoop on Cuba. (it's an unconfirmed rumor that they hang fly paper from it in the summer. Your tax $ at work.) (it's on sectional charts, by the way).

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They're weather balloons, there's one located in Key West as well as a little north of Tampa. They both go up to about 15,000 agl, so look out.EDIT after next post: OK, so the one in Key West is DEA, I think the one north of TPA is for weather.

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Trip_Lane is close to correct. While those agencies use the aerostats for that purpose, primarily out west and along the US-Mexico border, this particular aerostat is also used by the federal government for Voice of America broadcasts to Cuba. That bad boy is just up the road from me on Cudjoe Key which is roughly 12 miles up the road from Key West on U.S. Highway 1. It's launched at the end of the aptly-named Balloon Road.Regards,HarryKey West, FL

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