PRO MJ1/436 & AIR 29/2986, RAF Cardington
notes by Paul Fuller
The Met. Office Research and Development Establishment was based here, and in 1956 they were involved with Research Programme 967A in which tethered balloons were launched as part of Balthum experiments. 432 such ascents happened between March and August, of which 341 reached 600 metres or more and 210 exceeded 1000 metres height. The data was sent to Kew Observatory, HQ No 19 Group in Plymouth and the Met Office HQ at Kingsway in London. The experiments were designed to measure the effect on net radiation at night caused by the instrument tower at Cardington. Data was also sent to the Marconi Research Station at Slough, who were "interested in computation of modified refractive indices for centrimetric radio propagation". The balloons were tethered on lines of cable 5,000 feet in length. Some balloons escaped (no dates given) and there were concerns about the cabling being struck by lightning.
There is a memo dated 29 May 1956 by R.F. Jones refering to some cloud experiments which were to be conducted in June and July by East Hill and Imperial College. Jones requested the Balthum ascents to take place at 1500 GMT following the East Hill/Imperial ascent at 10.00.
This file is for the RAF Balloon Unit at RAF Cardington.
There were no balloon launches following the one at Liverpool on July 19th until the one at Usworth on August 16th. These balloon launches were also tethered as most were used for parachute jumps. Again some balloons escaped and had to be reported to ATCC Uxbridge. Balloons were not to be flown when winds exceeded 18 knots.