From: Eastern US
Pretty cool. I have always loved blimps but never have really understood how they are feasible given any sort of moderate to high wind. I mean try to carry around an inflatable mattress in a high wind. Perhaps the low air density at high altitudes makes it less severe but I just don't get the physics.
We had an aerostat above Camp Victory in Baghdad and I don't recall it every being winched down even for bad windstorms. But I was only there for a month or so. The major use for this one was LOS radio relay for convoy comm.
I was in Baghdad/ Iraq for much of 2005. You are correct - the aerostats stayed up through sandstorms and all weathers.
In terms of protecting my hide, I thought the most valuable use was the telemetry for artillery tracking. Before the blimps went up, the insurgents would, from time to tome, set up a mortar or a rocket launcher in one of the maze of nearby neighborhoods and lob several rounds into the "green zone." After the telemetry was airborne, the insurgents learned to 'shoot and scoot' -- generally firing one round, then abandoning the mortar, or firing it off the bed of a pickup truck and driving away. Our guys could have counter-battery fire underway, or helicopters vectored to the launch site, before the first round landed.
WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff
Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?