The need for better atmospheric predictions is causing the atmospheric science community to look for new ways to obtain longer, higher-resolution measurements over several diurnal cycles. The high resolution, <i>in-situ</i> measurements required to study many atmospheric phenomena can be achieved by an Autonomous Aerial Observation System (AAOS); however, meeting the long on-station time requirements with an aerial platform poses many challenges. Inspired by the half-scale drop test of the deployable Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey (ARES) Mars airplane, a study was conducted at the NASA Langley Research Center to examine the possibility of increasing on-station time by launching an airplane directly at the desired altitude. The ARES Mars airplane concept was used as a baseline for Earth atmospheric flight, and parametric analyses of fundamental configuration elements were performed to study their impact on achieving desired on-station time with this class of airplane. The concept involved lifting the aircraft from the ground to the target altitude by means of an air balloon, thereby unburdening the airplane of ascent requirements. The parameters varied in the study were aircraft wingspan, payload, fuel quantity, and propulsion system. The results show promising trends for further research into aircraft-payload design using this unconventional balloon-based launch approach.