Knowledge Base

How our algorithms interpolate the weather

How weather varies over different land forms?

How do I market/sell balloons to people?


We think our algorithms are very plausible, which is another way of saying ‘it makes sense’ or ‘logical’. So whilst from a commercial confidentiality viewpoint we are not able to spell out in total detail how our balloons pick up weather details, we can at least give you an outline to the solution.

Our racing system uses the BBC weather map application, one of the most robust and comprehensive weather forecasting modules available over the Internet. The BBC publishes data on temperature, wind strength and direction, sunshine and cloud cover, pressure in millibars and radar analysis.

Twice a day balloons search for their nearest weather station and record the weather at that instant. If the wind, for example, has changed in direction and strength from its last weather update, then the balloon will alter its course to reflect the new wind information.


Global weather patterns are primarily a function of the sun’s effect, together with the atmosphere, the 23 degree tilt of the Earth and its rotation. On a secondary basis, local weather patterns are also altered by the many different features of the land and the sea. For example, the mighty Himalayan mountain range has a significant impact on the weather of South East Asia, whilst the warm water current off the Peruvian coast called ‘El Nino’ seems to have a dramatic effect over most of the Globe.


Large oceans and other significant inland lakes absorb and release their heat in a slow process. On the contrary land masses are quicker to heat up, but quicker in cooling too. This causes a large difference in the temperature of night and day on land and around the sea. Since during the day heating of the land mass causes greater convection of air, clouds are formed quicker over the land. Such distinctive features play significant roles even in the production of different kinds of wind, from the sea breezes to the monsoon winds.

A friction between the weather system and the land mass can also cause quite a change in the earth’s weather. This is seen when hurricanes cause landfall and make a move onshore. Generally, when a storm is intercepted by a mountain or a terrain or buildings, its rotation meets with an obstruction, in turn slowing it down and robbing its severity. Mountain ranges also exert an influence on the earth’s weather. As a low pressure trough approaches a mountain chain it moves upward and spread. With this the rotational speed of the wind decreases and loses much of its strength. Rain shadow effects are also caused by colossal mountains. When an air current moves towards a mountain and is obstructed, it moves up and there it condenses and comes down as rain. As a result feet of high mountains are generally areas with heavy rainfall record.

The precipitation falls on the windward side or the peaks. If the air reaches the leeward side of the mountain then they tend to lose their strength and sink and even dry up. As a result the leeward side receives very scanty or no rainfall and comes to be called a rain shadow region. The eastern side of the Rockies and the central plain land in the US are some rain shadow areas.

So what do all these weather variations mean for your balloon?

In general terms, a hill or mountain range will cause your balloon to rise higher to cross the hills, but not always. If the mountains are too large, it is most probable that your balloon will crash as it will not have enough helium to make the requisite rise in altitude. If your balloon is over land in a hot summer, convections currents will cause it to fly at a much greater altitude than if it was winter. An again in winter, the temperature of the sea is usually higher than the land mass, so floating over the sea should keep the balloon afloat.


As with any selling or marketing operation, there are a number of criteria to consider when trying to calculate how much money you can raise from


Prizes are possibly the most important initial consideration. ‘El Gordo’ the giant Spanish lottery makes a fortune for its operator because the prizes are so large in monetary terms and extensive in range that it sells itself. The point being that the better the prizes (in the public’s eyes) you can obtain from sponsors or from your own cash resources, the better. A case of good quality champagne is always a good first prize to have.


To ensure maximisation of your revenues it is important you fully use the 5 week selling period for your balloon race. Whereas any longer time is counter-productive as people tend to lose track or get bored, this relatively short 5 week t ime period allows you to sell as many balloons as you wish. And remember that there is no theoretical limit!

Sales team resources

Your sales team resources, for example the quality and number of sales people available, are one of the three primary issues in estimating your fund raising total. 10 good sales people should over 5 weeks, on average, be able to sell 50-100 balloons each. Taking the lower figure and an average price of £20 creates a fund raising total of £10,000. Similarly, 20 people need only sell 25 balloons to achieve the same total

Price of balloons

We have no hard and fast rules about pricing, but we suggest a price of between £3-5 per balloon, depending on what sort of supporter base you have. Clearly more wealthy supporters will be able to afford more than those less fortunate. Similarly, if you think alot of balloon sales will go to children, then the price should be reflective.

Choosing your set-up package

We have two packages for consideration

Set up fee £495 + 20% commission paid on all balloon sales. 1,000 full colour double side A5 flyers are also included in this price. This package is designed for the smaller charity / organisations and incorporates a small, heavily subsidised set-up fee which is later reimbursed from the 20% commission paid from balloon sales.

Set up fee £1495 + 10% commission paid on all balloon sales. 1,000 full colour double side A5 flyers are also included in this price. This package is designed for the larger charity / corporate organisation who can afford to pay a lesser subsidised set up fee. Sales commission on the corporate package is a very low figure of 10%.


Process is all about makes things easy during the actual transaction itself. For example, we have designed the system to make it easy to buy a balloon over the Internet using your credit card, easy to decorate once purchased, and easy to follow during the race itself. We believe all these aspects have been covered and therefore should not be an issue.


Choose your balloon sales team wisely. They should be friendly, well connected and tenacious as mentioned above, but not bullies as such. If they get aggressive, they’ve lost the plot for sure. Give them target sales, some figure that will challenge them. And perhaps put up a sales leader board, create internal competition!