Remember Google’s ambitious Project Loon that intends to bring Internet connectivity to the masses, especially for folks who happen to live in rural areas? If you have answered in the affirmative, then you might be interested to hear that testing is currently being carried out, although it might have run into its fair share of snags. Project Loon’s balloons did run into some issues over Washington State recently, where the Internet search giant managed to send out a notice to the FAA, who subsequently issued an alert to steer aircraft away from the place where the balloon happened to be descending.
Google has confirmed that a balloon involved in its Project Loon struck power lines and knocked out electricity for some residents of a Washington town last week. The company told NBC News that the balloon was “in the process of a controlled landing” at around 1AM when it took out a small number of electrical lines. Prior to the descent, Google notified FAA officials of the landing to avoid any risk of interference with nearby air traffic. Unfortunately, Google has no way of ensuring its balloons won’t wreak havoc once they’re closer to the ground; there’s little the company can do about unexpected wind gusts, for example. Responding to the incident, a utility worker came upon “what appeared to be a weather balloon with blinking lights entangled in the power lines,” reported the Yakima Herald Republic. The entire scene was cleared by 6AM.