F and HT - you're missing the point - its not about the "baloon" - its not just about a largish rescue orange object above the level of ground/ sea. its also about getting the long range LED light elevated. You're sight will pick up the light long before it registers the "baloon".
What he said.
It's a small flashing light, exactly as Fish claims to prefer, but hanging under a device that gives it what it desperately needs to be an affective option as a distance signalling device slash rescue device.
The lack of distance digital flares, or more correctly flare singular as there is only one that is SOLAS approved, is a BIG downside of them. The balloon does great work at negating that issue.
A digital flare in the cockpit of a Sutrees 6.1 would be 2mts, being generous, above sea level so that means it's horizon would be 5km +/-, or out to 10km if the set of receiving eyes is also 2mts above water over the horizon. The same digital flare in the same Surtees under that balloon (reported to be 150ft or 45mts) has it's horizon increased by 500% to 25km. Probably not much increase to that due to the lights output meaning it's range is more then likely less than 20km on a good day.
I think the guy shot his sales routine in the foot when he showed the balloon being used for 'recreation', dance festivals, marking where your campsite is etc. Looks just like a UFO (or a chinese lantern). If I saw that somewhere I'd think I was seeing things, or someone had dropped some recreational herbs in my rum...or someone was having a party with their own recreational herbs.
Totally agree, that was a stupid move on their behalf. It may explain the mindset which then may explain the lack of investors.
But I do like the concept and think it has value.