A hot air balloon is a lighter-than-air aircraft consisting of a bag, called an envelope, which contains heated air. Suspended beneath is a gondola or wicker basket (in some long-distance or high-altitude balloons, a capsule), which carries passengers and a source of heat, in most cases an open flame caused by burning liquid propane. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the colder air outside the envelope. As with all aircraft, hot air balloons cannot fly beyond the atmosphere. The envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom, since the air inside the envelope there is at about the same pressure as the surrounding air. In modern sport balloons the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the inlet of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from a fire resistant material such as Nomex. Modern balloons have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as rocket ships and the shapes of various commercial products, though the traditional shape is used for most non-commercial, and many commercial, applications.
The hot air balloon is the first successful human-carrying flight technology. The first untethered manned hot air balloon flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes on November 21, 1783, in Paris, France,in a balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers. The first hot-air balloon flown in the Americas was launched from the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia on January 9, 1793 by the French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than simply drifting with the wind are known as thermal airships.
A precursor of the hot air balloon was the sky lantern (simplified Chinese :孔明灯; traditional Chinese :孔明燈). Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, during the Three Kingdoms era (220–280 CE), used these airborne lanterns for military signaling.
In the 18th century the Portuguese Jesuit priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão envisioned an aerial apparatus called Passarola which was the predecessor of the hot air balloon. The purpose of Passarola was to serve as air vessel in order to facilitate communication and as a strategical device.In 1709 John V of Portugal decided to fund Bartolomeu de Gusmão's project following a petition made by the Jesuit priest and an unmanned demonstration was performed at Casa da India in presence of John V, the queen Maria Anna of Austria, having as witnesses the Italian cardinal Michelangelo Conti, two members of the Portuguese Royal Academy of History, one Portuguese diplomat and one chronicler. This event would bring some European attention to this event and this project. A later article dated on October 20, 1786 by the London Daily Universal Register would state that the inventor was able to raise himself by the use of his prototype. Also in 1709, the Portuguese Jesuit wrote Manifesto summário para os que ignoram poderse navegar pelo elemento do ar (Short Manifesto for those who are unaware that is possible to sail through the element air); he also left designs for a manned air vessel.
The French brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier developed a hot air balloon in Annonay, Ardeche, France and demonstrated it publicly on September 19, 1783, making an unmanned flight lasting 10 minutes. After experimenting with unmanned balloons and flights with animals, the first balloon flight with humans aboard, a tethered flight, performed on or around October 15, 1783, by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier who made at least one tethered flight from the yard of the Reveillon workshop in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Later that same day, Pilatre de Rozier became the second human to ascend into the air, reaching an altitude of 26 m (85 ft), the length of the tether. The first free flight with human passengers was made a few weeks later, on November 21, 1783. King Louis XVI had originally decreed that condemned criminals would be the first pilots, but de Rozier, along with Marquis François d'Arlandes, petitioned successfully for the honor. The first military use of a hot air balloon happened in 1794 during the battle of Fleurus, when the French used the balloon l'Entreprenant for observation.
Modern hot air balloons, with an onboard heat source, were developed by Ed Yost, beginning during the 1950s; his work resulted in his first successful flight, on October 22, 1960. 21,027 m (68,986 ft). He took off from downtown Mumbai, India, and landed 240 km (150 mi) south in Panchale. The previous record of 19,811 m (64,997 ft) had been set by Per Lindstrand on June 6, 1988, in Plano, Texas.The first modern hot air balloon to be made in the United Kingdom (UK) was the Bristol Belle, built in 1967. Presently, hot air balloons are used primarily for recreation. Hot air balloons are able to fly to extremely high altitudes. On November 26, 2005 Vijaypat Singhania set the world altitude record for highest hot air balloon flight, reaching
On January 15, 1991, the 'Virgin Pacific Flyer' balloon completed the longest flight in a hot air balloon when Per Lindstrand (born in Sweden, but resident in the UK) and Richard Branson of the UK flew 7,671.91 km (4,767.10 mi) from Japan to Northern Canada. With a volume of 74,000 cubic meters (2.6 million cubic feet), the balloon envelope was the largest ever built for a hot air craft. Designed to fly in the trans-oceanic jet streams, the Pacific Flyer recorded the fastest ground speed for a manned balloon at 394 km/h (245 mph). The longest duration record was set by Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, Auguste Piccard's grandson; and Briton Brian Jones, flying in the Breitling Orbiter 3. It was the first nonstop trip around the world by balloon. The balloon left Château-d'Oex, Switzerland, on March 1, 1999, and landed at 1:02 a.m. on March 21 in the Egyptian desert 500 km (300 mi) south of Cairo. The two men exceeded distance, endurance, and time records, traveling 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes. Steve Fossett, flying solo, exceeded the record for briefest time traveling around the world on 3 July 2002 on his sixth attempt, in 320 h 33 min. Fedor Konyukhov flew solo round the world on his first attempt in a hybrid hot-air/helium balloon from 11 to 23 July 2016 for a round-the world time of 268 h 20 min.
A hot air balloon for manned flight uses a single-layered, fabric gas bag (lifting "envelope"), with an opening at the bottom called the mouth or throat. Attached to the envelope is a basket, or gondola, for carrying the passengers. Mounted above the basket and centered in the mouth is the "burner", which injects a flame into the envelope, heating the air within. The heater or burner is fueled by propane, a liquefied gas stored in pressure vessels, similar to high pressure forklift cylinders.
Modern hot air balloons are usually made of materials such as ripstop nylon or dacron (a polyester).
During the manufacturing process, the material is cut into panels and sewn together, along with structural load tapes that carry the weight of the gondola or basket. The individual sections, which extend from the throat to the crown (top) of the envelope, are known as gores or gore sections. Envelopes can have as few as 4 gores or as many as 24 or more.
Envelopes often have a crown ring at their very top. This is a hoop of smooth metal, usually aluminium, and approximately 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter. Vertical load tapes from the envelope are attached to the crown ring.
At the bottom of the envelope the vertical load tapes are sewn into loops that are connected to cables (one cable per load tape). These cables, often referred to as flying wires, are connected to the basket by carabiners.
The most common technique for sewing panels together is called the French felled , French fell, or double lap seam.The two pieces of fabric are folded over on each other at their common edge, possibly with a load tape as well, and sewn together with two rows of parallel stitching. Other methods include a flat lap seam, in which the two pieces of fabric are held together simply with two rows of parallel stitching, and a zigzag, where parallel zigzag stitching holds a double lap of fabric.
The fabric (or at least part of it, the top 1/3 for example) may be coated with a sealer, such as silicone or polyurethane, to make it impermeable to air.It is often the degradation of this coating and the corresponding loss of impermeability that ends the effective life of an envelope, not weakening of the fabric itself. Heat, moisture, and mechanical wear-and-tear during set-up and pack-up are the primary causes of degradation. Once an envelope becomes too porous to fly, it may be retired and discarded or perhaps used as a 'rag bag': cold inflated and opened for children to run through. Products for recoating the fabric are becoming available commercially.
A range of envelope sizes is available. The smallest, one-person, basket-less balloons (called "Hoppers" or "Cloudhoppers") have as little as 600 m3 (21,000 cu ft) of envelope volume; for a perfect sphere the radius would be around 5 m (16 ft). At the other end of the scale, balloons used by commercial sightseeing operations may be able to carry well over two dozen people, with envelope volumes of up to 17,000 m3 (600,000 cu ft). The most-used size is about 2,800 m3 (99,000 cu ft), and can carry 3 to 5 people.
The top of the balloon usually has a vent of some sort, enabling the pilot to release hot air to slow an ascent, start a descent, or increase the rate of descent, usually for landing. Some hot air balloons have turning vents, which are side vents that, when opened, cause the balloon to rotate. Such vents are particularly useful for balloons with rectangular baskets, to facilitate aligning the wider side of the basket for landing.
The most common type of top vent is a disk-shaped flap of fabric called a parachute vent, invented by Tracy Barnes.The fabric is connected around its edge to a set of "vent lines" that converge in the center. (The arrangement of fabric and lines roughly resembles a parachute—thus the name.) These "vent lines" are themselves connected to a control line that runs to the basket. A parachute vent is opened by pulling on the control line. Once the control line is released, the pressure of the remaining hot air pushes the vent fabric back into place. A parachute vent can be opened briefly while in flight to initiate a rapid descent. (Slower descents are initiated by allowing the air in the balloon to cool naturally.) The vent is pulled open completely to collapse the balloon after landing.
An older, and presently less commonly used, style of top vent is called a "Velcro-style" vent. This too is a disk of fabric at the top of the balloon. However, rather than having a set of "vent lines" that can repeatedly open and close the vent, the vent is secured by "hook and loop" fasteners (such as Velcro) and is only opened at the end of the flight. Balloons equipped with a Velcro-style vent typically have a second "maneuvering vent" built into the side (as opposed to the top) of the balloon. Another common type of top design is the "Smart Vent," which, rather than lowering a fabric disc into the envelope as in the "parachute" type, gathers the fabric together in the center of the opening. This system can theoretically be used for in-flight maneuvering, but is more commonly used only as a rapid-deflation device for use after landing, of particular value in high winds. Other designs, such as the "pop top" and "MultiVent" systems, have also attempted to address the need for rapid deflation on landing, but the parachute top remains popular as an all-around maneuvering and deflation system.
Besides special shapes, possibly for marketing purposes, there are several variations on the traditional "inverted tear drop" shape. The simplest, often used by home builders, is a hemisphere on top of a truncated cone. More-sophisticated designs attempt to minimize the circumferential stress on the fabric, with different degrees of success depending on whether they take fabric weight and varying air density into account. This shape may be referred to as "natural".Finally, some specialized balloons are designed to minimize aerodynamic drag (in the vertical direction) to improve flight performance in competitions.
Baskets are commonly made of woven wicker or rattan. These materials have proven to be sufficiently light, strong, and durable for balloon flight. Such baskets are usually rectangular or triangular in shape. They vary in size from just big enough for two people to large enough to carry thirty.Larger baskets often have internal partitions for structural bracing and to compartmentalize the passengers. Small holes may be woven into the side of the basket to act as foot holds for passengers climbing in or out.
Baskets may also be made of aluminium, especially a collapsible aluminium frame with a fabric skin, to reduce weight or increase portability.These may be used by pilots without a ground crew or who are attempting to set altitude, duration, or distance records. Other specialty baskets include the fully enclosed gondolas used for around-the-world attempts, and baskets that consist of little more than a seat for the pilot and perhaps one passenger.
The burner unit gasifies liquid propane,mixes it with air, ignites the mixture, and directs the flame and exhaust into the mouth of the envelope. Burners vary in power output; each will generally produce 2 to 3 MW of heat (7 to 10 million BTUs per hour), with double, triple, or quadruple burner configurations installed where more power is needed. The pilot actuates a burner by opening a propane valve, known as a blast valve. The valve may be spring-loaded so that it closes automatically, or it may stay open until closed by the pilot. The burner has a pilot light to ignite the propane and air mixture. The pilot light may be lit by the pilot with an external device, such as a flint striker or a lighter, or with a built-in piezo electric spark.
Where more than one burner is present, the pilot can use one or more at a time depending on the desired heat output. Each burner is characterized by a metal coil of propane tubing the flame shoots through to preheat the incoming liquid propane. The burner unit may be suspended from the mouth of the envelope, or supported rigidly over the basket. The burner unit may be mounted on a gimbal to enable the pilot to aim the flame and avoid overheating the envelope fabric. A burner may have a secondary propane valve that releases propane more slowly and thereby generates a different sound. This is called a whisper burner and is used for flight over livestock to lessen the chance of spooking them. It also generates a more yellow flame and is used for night glows because it lights up the inside of the envelope better than the primary valve.
Propane fuel tanks are usually cylindrical pressure vessels made from aluminium, stainless steel, or titanium with a valve at one end to feed the burner and to refuel. They may have a fuel gauge and a pressure gauge. Common tank sizes are 38, 57 and 76 litres (10, 15 and 20 US gallons). They may be intended for upright or horizontal use, and may be mounted inside or outside the basket.
The pressure necessary to force the fuel through the line to the burner may be supplied by the vapor pressure of the propane itself, if warm enough, or by the introduction of an inert gas such as nitrogen.Tanks may be preheated with electrical heat tapes to produce sufficient vapor pressure for cold weather flying. Warmed tanks will usually also be wrapped in an insulating blanket to preserve heat during the setup and flight.
A balloon may be outfitted with a variety of instruments to aid the pilot. These commonly include an altimeter, a rate of climb (vertical speed) indicator known as a variometer, envelope (air) temperature, and ambient (air) temperature.A GPS receiver can be useful to indicate ground speed (traditional aircraft air speed indicators would be useless) and direction.
The combined mass of an average system can be calculated as follows:
|2,800 m3 (100,000 cu ft) envelope||250||113.4|
|3 76 L (20 US gal) fuel tanks full of propane||3 × 135 = 405||183.7|
|5 passengers||5 × 150 = 750||340.2|
|2,800 m3 (100,000 cu ft) of heated air||5922||2686.2|
|total||(3.76 tons) 7517||3409.7|
using a density of 0.9486 kg/m3 (0.05922 lb/cu ft) for dry air heated to 99 °C (210 °F).
Increasing the air temperature inside the envelope makes it less dense than the surrounding (ambient) air. The balloon floats because of the buoyant force exerted on it. This force is the same force that acts on objects when they are in water and is described by Archimedes' principle. The amount of lift (or buoyancy) provided by a hot air balloon depends primarily upon the difference between the temperature of the air inside the envelope and the temperature of the air outside the envelope. For most envelopes made of nylon fabric, the maximum internal temperature is limited to approximately 120 °C (250 °F).
The melting point of nylon is significantly greater than this maximum operating temperature — about 230 °C (450 °F) — but higher temperatures cause the strength of the nylon fabric to degrade more quickly over time. With a maximum operating temperature of 120 °C (250 °F), balloon envelopes can generally be flown for between 400 and 500 hours before the fabric needs to be replaced. Many balloon pilots operate their envelopes at temperatures significantly less than the maximum to extend envelope fabric life.
The lift generated by 2,800 m3 (100,000 cu ft) of dry air heated to various temperatures may be calculated as follows:
|air temperature||air density||air mass||lift generated|
|20 °C (68 °F)||1.2041 kg/m3 (0.07517 lb/cu ft)||3,409.7 kg (7,517 lb)||0 lb, 0 kg|
|99 °C (210 °F)||0.9486 kg/m3 (0.05922 lb/cu ft)||2,686.2 kg (5,922 lb)||723.5 kg (1,595 lb)|
|120 °C (248 °F)||0.8978 kg/m3 (0.05605 lb/cu ft)||2,542.4 kg (5,605 lb)||867.3 kg (1,912 lb)|
The density of air at 20 °C (68 °F) is about 1.2 kg/m3 (0.075 lb/cu ft). The total lift for a balloon of 2,800 m3 (100,000 cu ft) heated to 99 °C (210 °F) would be 723.5 kg (1,595 lb). This is just enough to generate neutral buoyancy for the total system mass (not including the heated air trapped in the envelope, of course) stated in the previous section. Liftoff would require a slightly greater temperature, depending on the desired rate of climb. In reality, the air contained in the envelope is not all the same temperature, as the accompanying thermal image shows, and so these calculations are based on averages.
For typical atmospheric conditions (20 °C or 68 °F), a hot air balloon heated to 99 °C (210 °F) requires about 3.91 m3 of envelope volume to lift 1 kilogram (equivalently, 62.5 cu ft/lb). The precise amount of lift provided depends not only upon the internal temperature mentioned above, but the external temperature, altitude above sea level, and humidity of the air surrounding. On a warm day, a balloon cannot lift as much as on a cool day, because the temperature required for launch will exceed the maximum sustainable for nylon envelope fabric. Also, in the lower atmosphere, the lift provided by a hot air balloon decreases about 3% per 1,000 m (1% per 1,000 ft) of altitude gained.
Standard hot air balloons are known as Montgolfier balloons and rely solely on the buoyancy of hot air provided by the burner and contained by the envelope.This style of balloon was developed by the Montgolfier brothers, and had its first public demonstration on 4 June 1783 with an unmanned flight lasting 10 minutes, followed later that year with manned flights.
The 1785 Rozière balloon, a type of hybrid balloon, named after its creator, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, has a separate cell for a lighter than air gas (typically helium,) as well as a cone below for hot air (as is used in a hot air balloon) to heat the helium at night. Hydrogen gas was used in the very early stages of development but was quickly abandoned due to the danger of introducing an open flame near the gas. All modern Roziere balloons now use helium as a lifting gas.
Solar balloons are hot air balloons that use just solar energy captured by a dark envelope to heat the air inside.
Hot air balloon can be steered to a limited degree by changing the altitude of the flight. Wind in the northern hemisphere tends to turn right due to coriolis effect as the altitude increases.
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To help ensure the safety of pilot and passengers, a hot air balloon may carry several pieces of safety equipment.
To relight the burner if the pilot light goes out and the optional piezo ignition fails, the pilot should have ready access to a means of backup ignition, such as a flint spark lighter. Many systems, especially those that carry passengers, have completely duplicate fuel and burner systems: two fuel tanks, connected to two separate hoses, which feed two distinct burners. This enables a safe landing in the case of a blockage somewhere in one system or if a system must be disabled because of a fuel leak.
A fire extinguisher suitable for extinguishing propane fires is useful. Most balloons carry a 1 or 2 kg AB:E type fire extinguisher.
A handling or drop line is mandatory safety equipment in many countries. This is a rope or webbing of 20–30 meters in length attached to the balloon basket with a quick release connection at one end. In very calm winds the balloon pilot can throw the handling line from the balloon so that the ground crew can guide the balloon safely away from obstructions on the ground.
For commercial passenger balloons, a pilot restraint harness is mandatory in some countries. This consists of a hip belt and a webbing line that together allow for some movement while preventing the pilot from being ejected from the basket during a hard landing.
Further safety equipment may include a first-aid kit, a fire blanket and a strong rescue knife.
At a minimum, the pilot should wear leather or flame-retardant fiber (such as nomex) gloves, so that they may shut off a gas valve in the case of a leak, even if there is a flame present; quick action in this regard can turn a potential catastrophe into a mere inconvenience. The pilot should additionally wear flame-resistant clothing covering their arms and legs; either natural fiber, such as cotton, linen, hemp, or wool, or engineered flame-retardant fiber, such as nomex, is acceptable in this capacity. Most engineered fibers (with the exception of rayon, which is also safe to wear) are thermoplastic; many are also hydrocarbons. This makes such fabrics very much unsuitable to wear near high temperatures, since non-flame-retardant thermoplastics will melt onto the wearer, and most hydrocarbons, whether fibrous or not, are suitable to use as fuels. Natural fiber will singe rather than melt or burn readily, and flame-retardant fiber generally has a very high melting point and is intrinsically non-flammable. Many pilots also advise their passengers to wear similar protective clothing that covers their arms and legs, as well as strong shoes or boots that offer good ankle support. Finally, some balloon systems, especially those that hang the burner from the envelope instead of supporting it rigidly from the basket, require the use of helmets by the pilot and passengers.
The ground crew should wear gloves whenever there is a possibility of handling ropes or lines. The mass and exposed surface to air movement of a medium-sized balloon is sufficient to cause rope friction burns to the hands of anyone trying to stop or prevent movement. The ground crew should also wear sturdy shoes and at least long pants in case of the need to access a landing or landed balloon in rough or overgrown terrain.
As with aircraft, hot air balloons require regular maintenance to remain airworthy. As aircraft made of fabric and that lack direct horizontal control, hot air balloons may occasionally require repairs to rips or snags. While some operations, such as cleaning and drying, may be performed by the owner or pilot, other operations, such as sewing, must be performed by a qualified repair technician and recorded in the balloon's maintenance log book.
To ensure long life and safe operation, the envelope should be kept clean and dry. This prevents mold and mildew from forming on the fabric and abrasion from occurring during packing, transport, and unpacking due to contact with foreign particles. In the event of a landing in a wet (because of precipitation or early morning or late evening dew) or muddy location (farmer's field), the envelope should be cleaned and laid out or hung to dry.
The burner and fuel system must also be kept clean to ensure safe operation on demand. Damaged fuel hoses need to be replaced. Stuck or leaky valves must be repaired or replaced. The wicker basket may require occasional refinishing or repair. The skids on its bottom may require occasional replacement.
Balloons in most parts of the world are maintained in accordance with a fixed manufacturer's maintenance schedule that includes regular (100 flight hours or 12 month) inspections, in addition to maintenance work to correct any damage. In Australia, balloons used for carrying commercial passengers must be inspected and maintained by approved workshops.
In the case of a snag, burn, or rip in the envelope fabric, a patch may be applied or the affected panel completely replaced. Patches may be held in place with glue, tape, stitching, or a combination of these techniques. Replacing an entire panel requires the stitching around the old panel to be removed, and a new panel to be sewn in with the appropriate technique, thread, and stitch pattern.
Depending on the size of the balloon, location, and intended use, hot air balloons and their pilots need to comply with a variety of regulations.
As with other aircraft in the US, balloons must be registered (have an N-number), have an airworthiness certificate, and pass annual inspections. Balloons below a certain size (empty weight of less than 155 pounds or 70 kg including envelope, basket, burners and empty fuel tanks) can be used as an ultralight aircraft.
In Australia, private balloon pilots are managed by the Australian Ballooning Federationand typically become members of regional hot air ballooning clubs. Commercial operations carrying fare paying passengers or charging for promotional flights must operate under an Air Operators Certificate from the Australian Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) with a nominated Chief Pilot. Pilots must have different degrees of experience before they are allowed to progress to larger balloons. Hot air balloons must be registered aircraft with CASA and are subject to regular airworthiness checks by authorised personnel.
In the UK, the person in command must hold a valid Private Pilot's Licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority specifically for ballooning; this is known as the PPL(B). There are two types of commercial balloon licences: CPL(B) Restricted and CPL(B) (Full). The CPL(B) Restricted is required if the pilot is undertaking work for a sponsor or being paid by an external agent to operate a balloon. The pilot can fly a sponsored balloon with everything paid for with a PPL unless asked to attend any event. Then a CPL(B) Restricted is required. The CPL(B) is required if the pilot is flying passengers for money. The balloon then needs a transport category C of A (certificate of air worthiness). If the pilot is only flying sponsor's guests, and not charging money for flying other passengers, then the pilot is exempted from holding an AOC (air operator's certificate) though a copy of it is required.[ clarification needed ] For passenger flying the balloon also requires a maintenance log.
In the United States, a pilot of a hot air balloon must have a pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and it must carry the rating of "Lighter-than-air free balloon", and unless the pilot is also qualified to fly gas balloons, will also carry this limitation: "Limited to hot air balloons with airborne heater". A pilot does not need a license to fly an ultralight aircraft, but training is highly advised, and some hot air balloons meet the criteria.
To carry paying passengers for hire (and attend some balloon festivals), a pilot must have a commercial pilot certificate. Commercial hot air balloon pilots may also act as hot air balloon flight instructors. While most balloon pilots fly for the pure joy of floating through the air, many are able to make a living as a professional balloon pilot. Some professional pilots fly commercial passenger sightseeing flights, while others fly corporate advertising balloons.
The largest manufacturer of hot air balloons in the world is Cameron Balloons company of Bristol, England, which also owns Lindstrand Balloons of Oswestry, England. Cameron Balloons, Lindstrand Balloons and another English balloon manufacturing company, Thunder and Colt (since acquired by Cameron), have been innovators and developers of special shaped balloons. These hot air balloons use the same principle of lift as conventional inverted teardrop shaped balloons but often sections of the special balloon envelope shape do not contribute to the balloon's ability to stay aloft.
The second largest manufacturer of hot air balloons in the world is Ultramagic company, based in Spain, which produces from 80 to 120 balloons per year. Ultramagic can produce very large balloons, such as the N-500 that accommodates as many as 27 persons in the basket, and has also produced many balloons with special shapes, as well as cold-air inflatables.
One of the 3 largest companies in the world is Kubicek Balloons. From its factory in Brno, Czehia the company ships its products worldwide. Produces from 100 to 115 balloons per year. Kubicek company also focus on special shape balloons, FAA/EASA type certified and are delivered with a Standard Airworthiness Certificate.
In the USA Aerostar International, Inc. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota was North America's largest balloon manufacturer and a close second in world manufacturing before ceasing to build balloons in January 2007. The oldest U.S. certified manufacture is now Adams Balloons out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Firefly Balloons, formerly The Balloon Works, is a manufacturer of hot-air balloons in Statesville, North Carolina. Another manufacturer is Head Balloons, Inc. of Helen, Georgia.
The major manufacturers in Canada are Sundance Balloons and Fantasy Sky Promotions. Other manufacturers include Kavanagh Balloons of Australia, Schroeder Fire Balloons of Germany, Kubicek Balloons of the Czech Republic, and LLopis Balloons of France.
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An aerostat is a lighter than air aircraft that gains its lift through the use of a buoyant gas. Aerostats include unpowered balloons and powered airships. A balloon may be free-flying or tethered. The average density of the craft is lower than the density of atmospheric air, because its main component is one or more gasbags, a lightweight skin containing a lifting gas to provide buoyancy, to which other components such as a gondola containing equipment or people are attached. Especially with airships, the gasbags are often protected by an outer envelope.
In aeronautics, a balloon is an unpowered aerostat, which remains aloft or floats due to its buoyancy. A balloon may be free, moving with the wind, or tethered to a fixed point. It is distinct from an airship, which is a powered aerostat that can propel itself through the air in a controlled manner.
A solar balloon is a balloon that gains buoyancy when the air inside is heated by solar radiation, usually with the help of black or dark balloon material. The heated air inside the solar balloon expands and has lower density than the surrounding air. As such, a solar balloon is similar to a hot air balloon. Usage of solar balloons is predominantly in the toy market, although it has been proposed that they be used in the investigation of planet Mars, and some solar balloons are large enough for human flight. A vent at the top can be opened to release hot air for descent and deflation.
A hopper balloon is a small, one-person hot air balloon. Unlike a conventional hot air balloon where people ride inside a basket, there is no basket on a hopper balloon. Instead, the hopper pilot usually sits on a seat or wears a harness similar to a parachute harness. Hoppers are typically flown for recreation. These aircraft are sometimes called "Cloud Hoppers" or "Cloudhoppers." However, these terms formally refer to the products of a particular manufacturer, specifically Lindstrand Balloons. Nonetheless, "Cloudhopper" is used by many people as a genericized trademark, which refers to all craft of this general type. Most hopper balloons have envelopes that range in volume from 14,000 to 35,000 cubic feet and have a maximum flight duration of 1 to 1.5 hours. The two principal commercial balloon manufacturers today offering hopper balloons for sale are Cameron Balloons and Lindstrand Balloons. Most other hopper balloons are experimental aircraft designed and built by amateur constructors.
Paul Edward Yost was the American inventor of the modern hot air balloon and is referred to as the "Father of the Modern Day Hot-Air Balloon." He worked for a high-altitude research division of General Mills in the early 1950s when he left to establish Raven Industries in 1956, along with several colleagues from General Mills.
A thermal airship is an airship that generates buoyancy by heating air in a large chamber or envelope. The lower density of interior hot air compared to cool ambient air causes an upward force on the envelope. This is very similar to a hot air balloon, with the notable exception that an airship has a powered means of propulsion, whilst a hot air balloon relies on winds for navigation. An airship that uses steam would also qualify as a thermal airship.
Hot air ballooning is the activity of flying hot air balloons. Attractive aspects of ballooning include the exceptional quiet, the lack of a feeling of movement, and the bird's-eye view. Since the balloon moves with the direction of the winds, the passengers feel absolutely no wind, except for brief periods during the flight when the balloon climbs or descends into air currents of different direction or speed. Hot air ballooning has been recognized by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) as the safest air sport in aviation, and fatalities in hot air balloon accidents are rare, according to statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Per Lindstrand is a Swedish aeronautical engineer, pilot, adventurer and entrepreneur. He is particularly known for his series of record-breaking trans-oceanic hot air balloon flights and, later, attempts to be the first to fly a Rozière balloon around the Earth – all with British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson. He is also the founder of eponymous Lindstrand Balloons hot air balloon manufacturer based in Oswestry, England.
Breitling Orbiter was the name of three different Rozière balloons made by the Bristol based balloon manufacturer Cameron Balloons to circumnavigate the globe, named after the Swiss watchmakers Breitling. The third was successful in March 1999 of making the first nonstop flight around the world by balloon. It was piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones.
The history of ballooning, both with hot air and gas, spans many centuries. It includes many firsts, including the first human flight, first flight across the English Channel, first flight in North America, and first aircraft related disaster.
FireFly Balloons is an American hot air balloon manufacturer that started as The Balloon Works (TBW) in 1972 in Statesville, NC. The company is one of the oldest hot air balloon manufacturers in the United States, behind Raven Industries, SEMCO and Piccard Balloons. The origins of the company's designs can be traced to the work of Tracy Barnes in the late 1960s.
Raven Industries, Inc. is a U.S manufacturer of precision agriculture products, high-altitude balloons, plastic film and sheeting, and radar systems. The company is headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
On 13 August 1989, two hot air balloons collided near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia, causing one to crash to the ground, killing thirteen people. It was the world's deadliest ever ballooning disaster until February 2013, when a balloon accident near Luxor, Egypt killed 19 people. As of July 2016, it remains the deadliest ever ballooning accident in Australia, and the third-deadliest worldwide, surpassed only by the Egypt crash and a balloon accident in Texas in 2016 that left 16 people dead.
On 7 January 2012, a scenic hot air balloon flight from Carterton, New Zealand, collided with a high-voltage power line while attempting to land, causing it to catch fire, disintegrate and crash just north of the town, killing all eleven people on board.
On 23 August 2012, a hot air balloon crashed in stormy weather on the Ljubljana Marshes in central Slovenia, killing 6 of the 26 people on board.
The Cameron D-96 was the first hot air airship, a powered, steerable lighter-than-air craft carrying two or three crew marrying the elongated envelope of an airship with the externally localized heat source of a modern hot air balloon. It was designed and built in the UK and first flown in 1973.
On 26 February 2013, a hot air balloon crashed near Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 out of the 21 people on board. A fire developed in the basket due to a leak in the balloon's gas fuel system, causing the balloon to deflate mid-air and crash to the ground.
Victor Zagainov was a hot air balloon pilot and astronomer from Kazakhstan. He was the first and only hot air balloon champion of the USSR (1991), Hot Air Balloon champion of the Republic of Kazakhstan (1993), the winner of the International Balloon Grand Prix Todi (Italy) (1993), the champion of the CIS (1996). He organized Grand Prix of Zagainov and was awarded Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Diploma for Outstanding Airmanship and the FAI Air Sport Medal in 2003.
The East German balloon escape took place at approximately 2:00 a.m. on September 16, 1979. Two families, with eight members in total, escaped the communist country of East Germany by crossing the border to West Germany in a homemade hot air balloon. The plot to accomplish this was carried out over a period of one and a half years, including an unsuccessful attempt, three different balloons, and various modifications until the successful escape occurred. One failed crossing alerted the government to the plot, but the police were not able to identify the suspects before their flight to the west.
Spirit of Freedom balloon was a Rozière balloon designed and built by Donald Cameron and Tim Cole. In 2002 solo pilot Steve Fossett flew the Spirit of Freedom to become the first successful around the world nonstop solo flight in any kind of aircraft. On June 19, 2002 the 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom lifted off from Northam, Western Australia and landed in Queensland, Australia on July 3, 2002. The solo flight circumnavigation lasted 13 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes and covered 20,626.48 statute miles (33,195.10 km). They reached speeds of up to 322 kilometers per hour, and flew as high as 10,580 meters.
Propane tanks used in hot air balloons are mainly constructed of either aluminum (Evan was here) he was the first to do this or stainless steel. Most aluminum tanks are vertical 10-gallon cylinders (DOT 4E240), built primarily for forklift trucks.
Cylinders in liquid service are commonly found on forklifts.
2 Needle Double Lap Seaming Also called Felled Seam
ll of the seams are the "French fell" type
The double lap seam features two rows of parallel stitching along the folded over fabric seam. A few manufactures use a flat seam.
perfect French Fell hot air balloon seam
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