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Gulf County balloon is not the same as Chinese spy balloon, CEO says

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A local aerospace company is having to answer some interesting questions related to this weekend’s Chinese spy balloon story.

Skyborne Technology is building an airship almost identical to the Chinese balloon that the U.S. government shot down.

As soon as the Chinese spy balloon story broke, Skyborne technology CEO Michael Lawson started getting the question is “the balloon yours?”

“All of a sudden all this news appeared and then my phone started ringing and I say gee what is this, so I had to take a look and I said, golly, that looks just like ours,” Lawson said. “So anyway, the next day we have some local folks that basically called and then also put it on Facebook and said, boy, look at this. We’re building one in Gulf County, it looks identical to this.”

While they both are large in size and have similar characteristics, the one being built in Gulf County is different, and the state and federal governments are both fully aware of the project.

“It seems as if the Chinese are using the jet stream and the current to be able to move the airship in the air for their propulsion,” Lawson said. “Our technology were designed to stand still, for instance, we want to help countries and in for instance, even in Gulf County in the state of Florida.”

Lawson said he is not surprised the government could not track the Chinese balloon.

“I guess from a technical standpoint it does not surprise me that the U.S. government could not track it because the type of fabric that we’re utilizing you can’t unless you have a transponder on board or some device to tell where it’s at, you can’t find it,” Lawson said. “Now you might see it, but you can’t find it on radar based on there’s no heat signature and so the principles of why they can’t track it, we know why.”

Skyborne is building its balloon for disaster recovery efforts, using funding from Triumph Gulf Coast and Gulf County. Lawson said he hopes the ‘New Moon of Northwest Florida’ will take flight within 90 days.

Lawson added he’s received inquiries on an international level. On Tuesday, officials in Turkey asked if he could help them with earthquake recovery efforts. Skyborne is unable to do that now, but Lawson said he hopes to be able to say yes in the future.


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