Mysterious balloon over North Rhine-Westphalia: pilot offers extraordinary explanation

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A strange balloon was sighted over Herten. ©Julia Bremken/RUHR24

An unknown flying object was sighted over North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a very special balloon.

Update, Saturday (November 18), 4:09 pm: Dortmund – An unusual hot air balloon was seen yesterday over the sky over North Rhine-Westphalia. Locals had rumored a weather balloon, but the DWD could only locate one in Essen. Now the well-known aeronaut Wilhelm Elmers from the Aero-Club NRW is clarifying the matter.

Mysterious balloon spotted over North Rhine-Westphalia: pilot offers extraordinary explanation

In a telephone conversation with RUHR24 he explains that the balloon left the gas balloon launch site in Gladbeck. According to him, it was an experimental balloon that was to reach a height of 6,000 meters. Two pilots equipped with parachutes were on board. Along the way there were technical problems with the radio system, which forced the balloon to land again.

So wasn’t there a weather balloon over Herten yesterday? “No,” Elmers explains. According to the pilot, it is an international project with the objective of launching a hot air balloon into space. “In the end what you want is for six people to look at the Earth from the balloon,” says the pilot. But it may still take some time for that to happen, he explains with a smile.

Strange flying object detected over North Rhine-Westphalia: it is not a weather balloon

We are currently in the testing phase. The goal of reaching space also explains the balloon’s strange teardrop shape. “The air pressure is lower at the top and then the balloon expands.” Afterwards it looks like a normal hot air balloon as we know it. And how should passengers breathe in space? A special pressure cabin is provided for this.

To achieve the goal of looking at Earth from space, you will still have to practice a lot. “People can expect to see the balloon over Gladbeck and Gelsenkirchen even more often,” Elmer said. He himself has won the Gordon Bennett Cup five times. In 1994 he was also the first person to fly in a balloon from Germany, cross the English Channel to Great Britain and land in Ireland.

The aeronaut Wilhelm Elmers.
Wilhelm Elmers is a well-known balloon pilot from North Rhine-Westphalia. © Oliver Mengedoht/Imago

A mysterious hot air balloon flies over North Rhine-Westphalia: why?

First report, Friday (November 17), 4:19 p.m.: From time to time, phenomena may occur in the sky that at first we cannot fully explain. Recently, the night sky over Holland suddenly lit up pink. There has been an unusual sighting of a hot air balloon over North Rhine-Westphalia. Many people wonder: what is this?

The unusual balloon was spotted on Friday afternoon around 3:00 p.m. in Herten at the Ewald coal mine. What makes it so extraordinary? Especially its shape. The balloon lengthens like a raindrop.

Gladbeck residents suspect weather balloon over North Rhine-Westphalia

Local residents suspect that the celestial phenomenon is a weather balloon. It is used in meteorology or meteorological research to lift measuring devices. With the balloon you can determine the direction of the wind and the height of the clouds (more news from NRW on RUHR24).


When asked by RUHR24, the German Meteorological Service could not directly confirm whether it was actually a weather balloon. A spokeswoman explains by phone that it could also be something else. At the same time, the DWD reported that a weather balloon with a radiosonde took off for the last time from Essen today at 1:28 p.m. “According to the trajectory, the probe probably flew towards Wuppertal, not over Herten,” explains the DWD.

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