Aerostationthe art or science of operating lighter-than-air craft


PTDS is a camera and weapons detection system on a kite balloon. Other intelligence gathering and communications equipment can be flown on the balloon too. This is a US Army program that was used to observe the battle space in Iraq from 2004 until the end of the war there and in Afghanistan since 2007. I was an operator and site lead in Iraq in 2007 and an operator and Tiger Team member in Afghanistan in 2008. The memoir Balloon Wars: An ISR Operator’s Account of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the account of those periods.

ISR Assets in Baghdad in 2007


The Cyclocrane was a hybrid airship invented by Arthur Crimmins, Jr. and built by him, Donald B. Doolittle, Robert Crimmins and about thirty others in the early 1980s. We started in Delaware and New Jersey then moved to Maryland and eventually Tillamook, Oregon where the fabrication and assembly was completed. The first flight was on October 15, 1984.


Kite balloons were used in World War I as observation platforms and in the Second World War they were floated over harbors and beach heads to hinder enemy aircraft. Those were “Barrage Balloons”. Since then they have been used to support radar, telescopes, cameras, communications and other highly technical payloads. I’ve worked on three programs that used them. The “Kite Balloons” page on this site is about two of those programs, the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) and the Sea Based Aerostat System (SBAS).


manufactures many of the blimps seen today over football games and other events around the world. I was their Production Manager in 1989. Their founder and president, Jim Thiele, worked on the Cyclocrane when he was with ILC Dover, in Delaware, and Chris Wegener, another Cyclocrane colleague has been an American Blimp employee for many years.

A50 and A60 Lightship

74K TypeIV aerostat model