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Old Jan 10, 2014, 09:34 PM
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Wednesday morning I was contracted to set up the Premier Limo airship we fly for the Texas Legions.........
Do you charge differently for crewing a static display vs. a flying event ?
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 10:38 PM
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Not really, we look at time on site as a primary factor. Game rate is less than a day rate due to time envolved. Wednesday we started setup about 0830 that morning with the doors opening on exhibition at 1100. Baby set balloon all day and removed from facilities around 1900 that evening. Manhours are high although work load is light, easily bored. A normal games starts about two and a half hours before scheduled game time and flight crews leaves at second period break in hockey game or after half time for either football or basketball. Charges are based off of type of venue and number of games flown for season. Day rate would be about double what a game rate is. Normally this is worked out at the beginning of the season when contracts are signed. Very seldom does any of the crew stay and watch the games. In most cases we have the best seats in the house. Its a job and we admit to be a little jaded. Most of us would rather be at the field flying for fun.

Later this month I have an exhibition scheduled at the University of Texas. We will be setting up an 18 foot vehicle for the local school during a seminar on avaition for a two day event. It will involve either a display in the atrium of the host building. The vehicle will have to be deflated and moved across town to another location, reinflated either in doors as noted or moved outside where it will be flown on tether weather permitting. Vehicle is a hybrid designed to work well either indoors or out. Aerodynamic controls are available as well as thrusters. Vehicle is used as an expermental vehicle for autonomas flight testing as well as flown around 40 games throughout the volleyball and basketball seasons. My group is contracted to fly and maintain the vehicle throughout the year. We have taught several students the basics of flight but for the scheduled games we have been ask to provide the manpower to support the vehicles operation. This event request did not show up until Wednesday morning. Now I'm running around scheduling the helium and changing flight crews to support it and another event that evening at the American Airlines Center. Always something going on.
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Last edited by Ed Couch; Jan 10, 2014 at 10:49 PM.
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Old Mar 15, 2014, 08:40 PM
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Its been a little bit slow her on the professional balloon flyers so I guess its about time to get things going again.

Monday afternoon I will be setting up a new ship for the Dallas Mavericks for their last 10 home games and possible playoff venture. Sponsor will be NAPA Auto Parts (a rendition of the vehicle is shown below). The ship is one of my own and I'm leasing it to the Mavericks to fly with banners for the clients. Ship is a new envelope 18 foot high altitude version which will carry a large banner. Gondola has two Eflite 25's on board for thrusters and a Eflite 10 on the tail rotor. I picked up a new envelope for the ship from Mobile Airship in white so it will be utilized throughout the year for a number of other events. Present gondola has flown on several envelopes over the years and is very reliable. Very cost effective vehicle.

Second neat thing going on is OTTA was picked up to do the NCAA playoffs at the AT & T Stadium (Cowboys). The air vehicle is the 30 foot vehicle with banners for Reese's Candy. Four man crew and one will be me on the sticks for at least the first day of the playoffs. I would prefer to have someone else do the work and watch but it looks like this gig is mine at least on the 4th of April. We setup and test everything out this coming Wednesday and start first evening on 3 April for final dress rehersal and script checks. Always fun. ed
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Old Mar 16, 2014, 08:17 PM
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It's been a little bit slow her on the professional balloon flyers so I guess its about time to get things going again.
Always look forward to your posts, Ed !
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 11:05 AM
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Quick post on the NAPA airships first outing. We arrived around noon at the AAC in Dallas to set up and test fly the vehicle before the game. Set up went pretty much as expected as this was the first time vehicle had been assembled as a whole. Gondola was from a previous custom built vehicle, Fins and tail assembly was from another vehicle that was in storage (brand new, never utilized) and a new 18 foot envelope. All came together quite well. The only problem was the banners and the attachment points. I had asked for an attachment point every foot around the parameter of the image area which on this bird was 50 by 105 inches. Ended up with three on top and three on bottom on both the banners and the envelope. Banner should of been around 46 by 96 as agreed upon so it could have been tightened to minimize wrinkles. Missed that one big time and I have the email discussing the issue. Quality control, nope! Anyway hung the banners the best we could. Tested vehicle for almost two hours slow running on 2 3/8000 mil packs and it flew surprisingly well. Sort of pudgy but from experience they are easy to fly and you can hang large banners from the side. Some refer to the ship as a "high altitude ship". Sea level here is around 550 foot or so. Approximately 430 cubic foot of helium utilized to lift the total weight of the vehicle, banners, batteries and ballast. Air was added to give the ship shape and honestly it just flew. My flight crew for the evenings game met us about 1500 and we did a passdown review of all problems noted. Discussed what we could do about the banners at that time, nothing. Pilot and I went over the vehicle and I watched while he flew around and waited for his initial accessment of the flyability of the vehicle. Once he was comfortable with the ship I went over the script with him as to what was expected that evening and headed back home for the evening. I recevied a call from the crew after the first flight that all had went well and they would keep me advised as the evening progressed. Called again after halftime and said other than the blasted banners the client loved the vehicle and its presentation. Now to recover the embarrasement of the bad banners and move on.

In shop going over the 30 foot ships gondola for tomorrow's set up of the Cowboy Airship, hope the new set of banners fit. Going to open them this morning and look at what I have to work with. Wish me luck. ed
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 01:26 PM
Marcus Franco
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Great Ed...
Your events are tops, the blimps look super good...do not let some minor adjustments problems let you down...
Regards, Marcus
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 11:02 PM
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.......The only problem was the banners and the attachment points. I had asked for an attachment point every foot around the parameter of the image area which on this bird was 50 by 105 inches. Ended up with three on top and three on bottom on both the banners and the envelope.....
I'd find another sign shop for future projects.
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Old Apr 05, 2014, 05:36 PM
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Kind of running a little slow here at the end of the gaming season but I always seem to have a little something running along with the vehicles. Spent yesterday from about 0740 to 1900 at the AT & T Stadium flying for Reese's Candy for the Big Four Playoffs. The whole day was a practice day for the teams as well as the All Star game for the season. The whole affair was open to the public and more of a party than a true game day. I had been provided a script for the day and knew basically when to toe the marks for our flights. All where short three to five minutes make working against a large T Shirt gatlin gun on the opposite end of the court from each other although I did do a bit of dodging and jinking as the gun was not to accurate as far as it went. More like spray and pray when fired. Over the years I've been bounced a couple of times but no damage. The balloon handled great and each flight we carried over 100 coupons for free t-shirts. Final flights I was carrying over 180 coupons and able to release the over the crowd in less than two minutes. Dang near rained the coupons when I hit the pickle. The final two drops were during the actual allstar game while it was in progress. Ship had to be ready when the technical time out was held and all we had was sometimes within the 16 minute mark of the first half. It actually went at 1356 showing on the clock. Ship went airborne second buzzar sounded flew a large circle around the arena, dropped coupons, dodged the damn Spyder Cam that was working the arena area, made the directors call for a couple of shots from the video camera and completed the circle, no coupons left. Normal landing in corner of stadium by door, didn't kill anybody or tear something up, total time airborne was 2:05 minutes, close enough. Took first deep breath in ten minutes. Checked script and got ready for second flight at less than 8 minutes on final flight of second half. They call this fun, oh yeah. We finished the day tired but felt good about the day, the clients appreciated the work, Cowboys passed word good job as we left so all in all I can maybe take today off.
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Last edited by Ed Couch; Apr 05, 2014 at 05:51 PM.
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