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Old Nov 21, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Joined Nov 2007
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Question
To build a 1 man Blimp

I am currently doing a project on more "Eco friendly" pleasure flights. I do not have a budget as of course this is all on paper, but finance must be recorded. The idea is to realistically design and plan a blimp to carry 1 person for personal pleasure flights.

My concept so far is to build a stretched balloon roughly 70m3 to carry 70 kg (one medium weight person, a light weight frame and 2 motors) I think I am right in believing that 1cubic meter of helium lifts 1 kg? the balloon will be made from light weight solar panels to power the aircraft.

I have to think about this as if I were actually planning on building this, what aviation laws would I have to take into account? How much might the cost of this project escalate into? How stable would this be against winds? any other problems that you think may arise. Also what is the effect on it's lifiting properties when the gas becomes more compressed? I would be very grateful for comments.

Thank You
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 05:21 PM
Blimpman
Joined Jul 2006
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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 06:38 PM
Whats a search engine?
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Missouri
Joined Jun 2006
886 Posts
You need to see personal blimp And read what Dan has to say about this concept. Before Being flown free flight , The FAA has to inspect it before it can fly . If it meets Par 103 restrictions and minimal safety standards , it can fly as experimental. You can ground test with tethered flights or indoor flights to get things right without any OK from the FAA however.
As far as cost and stability goes .......who knows ??? Its never been done
Compression of a lifting gas only makes the envelope more rigid, not more lift . Its envelope area that makes more lift.
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Last edited by inventing_man; Nov 21, 2007 at 06:46 PM.
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Old Nov 22, 2007, 04:03 AM
rc blimp manufacturer
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Switzerland, VD, Crans-près-Céligny
Joined Dec 2005
666 Posts
hello first if you want to fly one man @ 70 kg you will need min 140m3 of He as you need tou count the weight of the blimp itself.. 70 kg is very light for a 20m long blimp!
http://www.classe5ulm.fr/actus.htm

we manufacture envelope if you want...


see these ics

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMGN
I am currently doing a project on more "Eco friendly" pleasure flights. I do not have a budget as of course this is all on paper, but finance must be recorded. The idea is to realistically design and plan a blimp to carry 1 person for personal pleasure flights.

My concept so far is to build a stretched balloon roughly 70m3 to carry 70 kg (one medium weight person, a light weight frame and 2 motors) I think I am right in believing that 1cubic meter of helium lifts 1 kg? the balloon will be made from light weight solar panels to power the aircraft.

I have to think about this as if I were actually planning on building this, what aviation laws would I have to take into account? How much might the cost of this project escalate into? How stable would this be against winds? any other problems that you think may arise. Also what is the effect on it's lifiting properties when the gas becomes more compressed? I would be very grateful for comments.

Thank You
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Old Nov 22, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Joined Oct 2007
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You may want to pick up a copy of the book "My Airships", written in the early part of the 20th century by Alberto Santos Dumont; he pioneered personal-sized, one-man hydrogen-inflated airships over Paris. This book is a reprint, published by Dover. The materials he was working with at that time (varnished silk envelope, crude petrol engines) could be improved upon I'm sure, although don't count out the use of lightweight and strong wood for certain structural applications (like a gondola frame.) The biggest improvement will be modern plastic films for the envelope, and stronger, lighter engines.

On the down side, efficiency and cost-wise, is the use of the safer helium gas for lift.

A big problem with small airships is the power to drag ratio. Meaning that they are like any other lighter-than-air craft: vulnerable to strong winds. Even though yours will have motors, you have to think about the force that a sudden gust of wind can present on the airship's flight. And if you plan on flying this at any elevation significantly higher than sea level, that will also present additional problems, because internal combustion engines have less power at higher altitudes, and helium doesn't lift as much, either.

I don't know of any FAA pilot certification for airships that isn't commercial in nature. Compare this with balloon pilots, where there is both a private and a commercial rating. AFAIK, there's only commercial airship licenses, which presents a great difficulty in getting your hours to gaining a pilot's rating if you plan on a personal-use-only airship. You'd obviously have to start out with a free balloon pilot's license, hot air at first, to learn the basics of aerostation, and then you'd have to progress to a gas balloon rating, since a blimp is a motorized gas balloon. And then the commercial blimp pilot rating.

There may be some legal loophole in the FAA regs around ultra-light aircraft, where an ultralight blimp (how do you define an ultralight LTA craft, anyway: dead weight?) may sidestep these regular blimp pilot requirements.

So, there's the aircraft certification rating itself (yours would most likely be classified as 'experimental'), and then there's the pilot's licensing itself, which is different. Both hoops have to be jumped through to fly legally.

Parenthetically, I'll also comment that the FAA regulations as they stand today were developed over a long period of time in order to make an advantage to commercial heavier than air flight. As such, there are now FAA controlled airspaces and corridors whose very definition is incompatible with LTA flight. Think of the great rigid airships, whose ocean-crossing journeys followed pressure pattern flying, rather than strictly enforced air corridors. We live in an age far removed from the days when LTA was the norm; it will take lots of changes and exceptions to make the airways safely compatible for personal LTA aircraft like small blimps. Just my 0.02 worth.

Good luck, keep us posted.

~Joe
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Old Nov 23, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Old Dec 09, 2007, 02:52 PM
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Joined Dec 2007
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Keep in mind that he said it would be solar powered; concerns about internal combustion engines aren't that relevant.

Stability against wind depends on the design. Probably the most important concern is when it's moored - how do you keep it from being blown away, or blown into the ground, etc.

Cost is hard to estimate. Ballpark figure is probably $50-$100k.

I highly recommend the book "Airship Technology", Cambridge University Press. It has a lot of the details you're looking for, including a chapter on solar power.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 08:44 PM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
I thought if a balloon was less than 254 lbs that it doesn't need to be inspected or anything, it is considered an ultralight aircraft? ... hope this turns out for you, I want in the worst way to build my own solar-heated hot air balloon...and I have the plans but not the money
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