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Old Sep 14, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Using an 13 feet/4 meters outdoor blimp inside a mall

I am trying to set up a show with the hardware I already have.

INDOOR blimp cannot be used OUTDOOR.

Now, the opposite :

1- Has anyone tried to use an OUTDOOR 13 feet blimp INSIDE a mall or other event ? I see some advantages, like a much heavier lift capacity. I guess it would be possible to connect a gondola + micro camera + wireless link and have a large TV screen on the ground showing a view from the blimp, with sponsors names all around. Of course, I need a bigger flight space than with a 2 meters blimp. So what are the cons ?

2- What would be the easiest way to connect a gondola to a non-prepared blimp and remove it when necessary ? I need a SAFE connection :-)

3- Also, I don't want to chop anyone's head off when I fly over hundreds of heads... I fail to see protections on all the pics I see ?

4- I would like to have my own logo on the blimp, and use a plain, 2 sides, rectangle, very light and rigid (cellular plastic board) pannel, like 2 meters by 1 m (weight : about 300 grams) , to stick sponsor's banners and avoid touching the blimp enveloppe everytime, even allowing for quickly changing the banner during the same session. Any experience doing the same ?

5- What kind of power consumption will I face to move this 4 meters blimp ?
I do not need it to rush, just a slow flight.

6- I don't want to see my blimp sticked to the mall roof 15 meters above the ground because the batteries are dead. How do you prevent this ?
Do you have the blimp slightly heavier than the air, and have the motors to force elevation, so that it naturally descends when batteries are dead ?

Sorry for all these questions ...

Thanks a lot

Phil
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Old Sep 14, 2006, 05:41 PM
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Lafayette Indiana
Joined Jul 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philgib

6- I don't want to see my blimp sticked to the mall roof 15 meters above the ground because the batteries are dead. How do you prevent this ?
Do you have the blimp slightly heavier than the air, and have the motors to force elevation, so that it naturally descends when batteries are dead ?

Hey Phil,

I have to share with you what I did with one of my R/C balloons a dozen years ago in a mall. I was using a hot air balloon shaped 7' diameter r/c unit throughout the day. This had an inner bladder of a weather balloon filled with helium to provide lift. The standard procedure was to have about 4 ounces of ballast to be heavier than air. Servo motors drove the props extended from the basket to maintain lift. I would actually allow the kids in the mall fly the balloon around with the radio. I was flying through the center court mid afternoon about 20' up when it passed underneath a skylight. The balloon visibly expanded in diameter and shot straight up to the ceiling. From the looks, I thought the seams were going to rip. No amount of servo or motor control was bringing it down. and the higher it went, the faster it was climbing. Sort of an indoor thermal that I could not fly out of. Onced it hit the top, some of the lead ballast popped out of the basket ensuring that for the next hour I was going to feel like a horses @$$. So now it was 40' up and stuck on the ceiling in a crowd full of people. Really boosts the confidence level when everyone around ya knows you just screwed yourself. What the hell was I going to do now?!! After calming down for 30 minutes and collecting my thoughts, I went and purchased a small balloon from a gift shop and attached a 40' line. My original thought was send the small balloon up and just catch the string in a spinning prop, but of course by this time the motors were completely drained. So next step was to attach a paper clip to the line. It took a few minutes of fishing, but finally I snagged the basket and brought it down. It was very difficult to fish for something that high because of the strong air currents. Also worth noting was all of the components including ballast once I brought the balloon down were about 30 degrees warmer than at ground level. Oh and the top of the balloon was caked with nasty dirt and sticky dust that stained the balloon.
But the good news, is that all of the kids that were watching gave a good round of applause when we finally brought it down. So inspite of feeling like a fool, I was still able to put smiles on the kids faces which made it worth while.

Sean
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Old Sep 15, 2006, 03:49 AM
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That's a nice job of catching your balloon Sean. I suppose if people are going to fly indoors then they'll have to set up a means of catching the blimps/balloons.

An automatic gas release mechanism could do it but then the flying for the day is over until more gas is found and there's the expense too.

A balloon with a hook could do the job. The hook would have to be long (at the end of a rod) and easy to apply to the gondola.

The hook could be slung under the rescue balloon, be horizontal, and have a counter-balancing rod and hook on the opposite side - two hooks.

Another method is to have a drop-string that is controlled by the R/C unit or it can be automatic on a dead battery.

If things are really bad - shoot it down with a slingshot and make a big hole in it !!!

The props should probably be enclosed as far as possible. A wire or plastic screen could do the job.
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Old Sep 15, 2006, 12:48 PM
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** maybe some simple light electro-magnet, so that :

no more battery power => electro magnet off => release of the fishing line

That would be a nice security.

Phil
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Last edited by philgib; Sep 15, 2006 at 01:03 PM.
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 10:08 PM
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From what I read, the simplest rescue is made with a balloon with double tape to stick to the blimp, and slowly pull it down.
The magnet is a neat idea, but it's a power vampire.
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Old Mar 03, 2014, 08:36 AM
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Oklahoma City OK USA Where fakts still exist even if they are ignored
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I've flown a 15 foot blimp in arenas and in malls with out a problem. Power was two speed 400 can motors for lift and one for yaw. Endurance was 20 minutes. land and switch to a fresh pack took 3 minutes. Keep 4 battery packs on charge and you can fly continuously.

ALLWAYS ballast the blimp so that it settles to the floor. 1 to 3 ounces heavy. NEVER depend on power to pull it down from the ceiling.

Would you like to buy a 15 footer that is ready to fly?
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Old Apr 12, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Another method is to have a drop-string that is controlled by the R/C unit or it can be automatic on a dead battery.
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