How to Shoot Down a Chinese Spy Balloon

Thomson Meeks

There’s a whole lot of balloon popping in the news these days… So we wanted to give it a try! Watch Austin’s walkthrough and then try it for yourself with the instructions below.

Download the Balloon


  1. Make sure that you have X-Plane 12.04b2 installed – update using the X-Plane Installer, if needed.
  2. Download and install the Chinese Spy Balloon to your Aircraft folder.
  3. Launch X-Plane 12
  4. Flight Configuration:
    1. Aircraft: F-14 Tomcat
    2. Airport: KAVL
    3. Time: Daylight
    4. Weather: VFR Few Clouds
    5. Add 1 AI aircraft: hit Edit to select the Chinese Spy Balloon aircraft
  5. Assign Joystick Buttons to the following commands:
    1. F14/flct → weapon select switch 1 (activated the sidewiders)
    2. Target Select Up (selects the balloon as your target)
    3. Fire All Armed Weapons (um, self-explanatory…)
  6. Start the Flight
  7. Hit M to bring up the map and check the bearing/altitude of the balloon
  8. Depart and head towards the balloon
  9. To the left of the HUD in the F-14, clear the weapons arm switch guard and turn it to on
  10. Hit the button on your joystick assigned to weapon select switch 1 to arm the sidewiders
  11. Select the Swift-W view to switch to a full screen HUD
  12. Hit the button assigned to Target Select Up on your Joystick – this will activate target tracking on the HUD and give you an arrow to/box over the balloon.
  13. When the balloon comes into view, hit the W key on your keyboard to switch to the cockpit.
  14. Align the reticle on the HUD over the balloon, wait for it to turn orange and an audial tone to sound in the cockpit.
  15. When the reticle is orange and you hear the tone – FIRE!


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