After launching your weather balloon, you have successfully mastered an important part of your mission. The second challenge which separates you from your Stratosphere recordings is tracking and recovery of the probe.

Drive to the predicted landing site: We recommend that you start to drive in the direction of the predicted landing immediately after launching the balloon. Ideally, you did the airline pre-calculation less than a few hours before the launch, so the current weather data used by the tool predicts the landing site fairly accurately. Thus, you should drive with your team after the successful start in the next city near the landing site and wait there for the exact position data provided by the GPS tracker. If you also use the SPOT GPS tracker in addition to the GPS Tracker STRATOfinder, this has the advantage that the SPOT transmits its position for the first 15 altitude km every 5 minutes. Thus, you can compare the actual flight route with the predicted flight route and draw conclusions about the accuracy of your forecast.

Assemble emergency equipment for the recovery: Depending on the location, auxiliary materials such as duct tape, ropes, wires and tools may be useful. Depending on the place of departure, the probability of landing on a field is greatest within Germany, but more than 30% of the German area is covered with forests. Thus, a landing in a tree must be prepared for.

Land distribution in Germany

Basically, there are no perfect instructions in case the probe lands in the tree, in the field or on a private property. Our following suggestions are only recommendations, basically a little creativity is required especially for landings in trees. So we present below a few landing and solution proposals and give recommendations for the most important recovery equipment.

The most important equipment for relocation:

  • Duct tape
  • Zipties
  • Ropes & cords
  • Flashlights
  • general tools.

In addition, you should pack enough water and food, in case you will need to go on a longer trip to recover your probe.



Only very few households have telescopic ladders or telescopic poles. Although this would be the ideal equipment for a tree landing, but also long, surrounding branches can be connected to each other with duct tape to “fish” for the probe. Here we recommend attaching a hook made of wire at the tip of the “fishing rod” to hook the probe. Possibly you can also build something from strings and grappling hooks to throw the string over the probe and pull it down so. Especially in school projects, the volunteer fire department or the foresters are usually available for the recovery. If all this does not work, the last option is the help of a tree climber conceivable. Here a Google search for “tree climber” or “Arborist”, which can retrieve every rpobe from even the highest treetops.


If you land on a field that has not yet been harvested, as few of you as possible should go to the exact landing spot through the tracks, so that no plants of the farmer are damaged.

Private property

If you land on a private property, you should ask for permission before entering. So far, we have only had good experiences in this scenario, as we have always talked about our project before and the owners themselves are very curious about the recordings. Thus, each of our landings was actively supported.

Sea/ River/ Lake

Basically, your probe is made of Styrofoam and polystyrene, which floats. The probability of landing in the water is very low. Should you launch directly at the sea, you can minimize a water landing by using our flight route pre-calculation before the scheduled start date and shifting the start by one day with the probe flying inland. However, if the probe lands on open water, the probe can be retrieved using a boat. We have experienced only a single landing on hundreds of flights and have successfully completed this with a rented boat. That too can be an exciting part of the adventure.