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Old Jan 04, 2008, 09:28 AM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
Cool
New personal record altitude with tethered solar balloon

I designed and built a new solar balloon model (see my threads in the FF section or my website www.solar-balloons.com if you don't know what I'm talking about). It's a giant version of my drawstring balloon called the "EZ tube".

This new balloon inflates in seconds just by forcing air into the wide open mouth, then the drawstring is used to close it and it heats up and flies within a minute. I made this big one specifically for AP, and on its first day of flying, I got my best aerial pics yet....

Video of the balloon coming soon, it will be on my site soon as well.

ps - all images are 1024x768 for desktop backgrounds, if you're using that resolution
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 10:36 AM
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vpatron's Avatar
San Diego/Las Vegas
Joined Sep 2004
1,311 Posts
Hi catman, Cool!

How big is this one and how much weight is it carrying? I would guess carrying 12 oz is pretty hard to do?

Seems like it might be a cheap way to do aerial panoramas without having to buy and store helium.

-Vince
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 11:35 AM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
If it doesn't carry 12 oz, I have several other designs, my biggest will carry 2+ lbs. it's all on my site. this one is 15 ft long x 5 ft diameter, and my camera is about 6 oz w/ batteries and was taken up pretty fast once the balloon was full and hot
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 04:02 PM
HeliAP'er!
Hogster's Avatar
Surrey, UK
Joined Aug 2003
8,204 Posts
That's impressive for a solar balloon!! How is the camera held to it?


David
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 04:13 PM
Blu-Core is my friend
Gundy's Avatar
La Crosse, WI
Joined Apr 2006
812 Posts
Whatís the lowest outside temperature you have flown at?
Up here in the, Great White North, Ah,
Itís going to be 30 and sunny this weekend, and I thought it may be a good project.
Have you tried to boost the heating? How hot does it need to be inside the balloon?

Later,
Gundy
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 05:26 PM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogster
That's impressive for a solar balloon!! How is the camera held to it?


David
I built a harness that perfectly fits the camera I use. Then I just hook it to the tether (but I recommend hooking it to the balloon because the tether makes it wobble and spin all the time)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gundy
Whatís the lowest outside temperature you have flown at?
Up here in the, Great White North, Ah,
Itís going to be 30 and sunny this weekend, and I thought it may be a good project.
Have you tried to boost the heating? How hot does it need to be inside the balloon?

Later,
Gundy
30 and sunny sounds perfect, they get better lift in the cold. As long as the wind is calm or near calm, you shouldn't have any trouble flying your camera (if it's a compact/lightweight digital camera, not an SLR)

I don't have the instructions yet on my site for a giant EZ tube, which I used here, but it's just like the regular EZ tube, except with 15 bags, 5 across and 3 down. I'd say the EZ tube is the best because you don't need a fan or any power source to inflate it, and it's very easy to deflate.
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 05:33 PM
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vpatron's Avatar
San Diego/Las Vegas
Joined Sep 2004
1,311 Posts
Has anyone used car exhaust?

Hi catman,

Have you or anyone tried inflating a balloon with car exhaust?

It might sound funny, but I figure I have a car with me on these aerial jobs, and the car exhaust is already nice and hot.

But the only downside would be that CO2 is heavier than air, and perhaps the steam (H2O) would condense on the balloon walls.

EDIT: I remember my old Volkswagen ('73 Beetle) had a exhaust-powered heater; basically a heat exchanger attached to the exhaust pipe so you get hot air without the exhaust. But I realize, a cheapo $200 generator and a electric hairdryer might do the trick...

Do you know if anyone has actually tried it?

Thanks,

-Vince
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 05:50 PM
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quailbird's Avatar
Rich Hill Missouri 64779
Joined Nov 2003
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I tip my hat to you! Very well done. Years ago, when I was about 18, some of the guys took a large trash sack and put some soda straws across the mouth and put a small pie pan, I believe on it and put some cotton in there and soaked them with some kind of alcohol and lit it, and this was done at night with no wind to speak of, and it went up about 30 to 50 feet and any little breeze made the flame get a little bigger. We heard that there were several calls into the police that there were UFO's out there.
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 07:10 PM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpatron
Hi catman,

Have you or anyone tried inflating a balloon with car exhaust?

It might sound funny, but I figure I have a car with me on these aerial jobs, and the car exhaust is already nice and hot.

But the only downside would be that CO2 is heavier than air, and perhaps the steam (H2O) would condense on the balloon walls.

EDIT: I remember my old Volkswagen ('73 Beetle) had a exhaust-powered heater; basically a heat exchanger attached to the exhaust pipe so you get hot air without the exhaust. But I realize, a cheapo $200 generator and a electric hairdryer might do the trick...

Do you know if anyone has actually tried it?

Thanks,

-Vince
The balloon I used is designed to be hand-inflated; you just hold it open and run. Let the breeze or your running fill it with cold air, then pull the drawstring and it will close up. Doesn't take long to heat at all. I wouldn't use car exhaust, cuz of the carbon monoxide and all the other stuff that comes out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quailbird
I tip my hat to you! Very well done. Years ago, when I was about 18, some of the guys took a large trash sack and put some soda straws across the mouth and put a small pie pan, I believe on it and put some cotton in there and soaked them with some kind of alcohol and lit it, and this was done at night with no wind to speak of, and it went up about 30 to 50 feet and any little breeze made the flame get a little bigger. We heard that there were several calls into the police that there were UFO's out there.
Thanks!
I have always wanted to do a birthday candle/alchohol balloon, but I've always been afraid the plastic would catch fire. I know lots of people do it safely but I would be a little nervous anyway. I've heard they make great UFO's and that's one reason I would like to do it.
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Old Jan 04, 2008, 10:20 PM
Troy
Envision's Avatar
Marion, MI
Joined Oct 2007
464 Posts
Is there a specific type of tape that should be used? I didnt see mention of it on your site.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 01:30 AM
Its all fun
Tonystott's Avatar
Australia, NSW, Forster
Joined Oct 2004
7,148 Posts
Catman, very clever use of the technology, but nowhere on your website did I see anything regarding official permission for free flying balloons in public airspace. How do you get clearance from FAA for your flights?
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 10:18 AM
Peakaboo!
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Sakinee, Canada
Joined Sep 2004
1,388 Posts
I'm curious about what it looks like. Any pictures ?
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 11:18 AM
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vpatron's Avatar
San Diego/Las Vegas
Joined Sep 2004
1,311 Posts
catman,

If you don't mind me asking, can you give us an idea of how much money we can make having Google Ads on informational websites like yours? (http://www.solar-balloons.com)

I've been thinking about setting up sites like that, and thought it's nice residual income. C'mon, just a tiny, little hint...

I was thinking of making a beginner RC website.

-Vince
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Old Jan 06, 2008, 04:47 PM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Envision
Is there a specific type of tape that should be used? I didnt see mention of it on your site.
I use masking tape, but any lightweight tape will work. I mention it on the instruction pages.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonystott
Catman, very clever use of the technology, but nowhere on your website did I see anything regarding official permission for free flying balloons in public airspace. How do you get clearance from FAA for your flights?
As far as I've read there are no regulations for small free flying balloons like these. They have limits on payloads though. I will have to dig out the regulations again and post them here and on my site as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpatron
catman,

If you don't mind me asking, can you give us an idea of how much money we can make having Google Ads on informational websites like yours? (http://www.solar-balloons.com)

I've been thinking about setting up sites like that, and thought it's nice residual income. C'mon, just a tiny, little hint...

I was thinking of making a beginner RC website.

-Vince
The ads should be relevant to the visitors, Google automatically finds keywords in your site and displays ads that are related. How much traffic you get, what type of ad you use, and where the ads are displayed all play a role in how much you can make from having google ads on your site. I know there's a lot of info out there, but I haven't gotten into it really. I mainly have the ads there to pay for the site hosting & domain renewal fees.
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Old Jan 06, 2008, 09:25 PM
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Joined Jan 2007
50 Posts
Subpart D - Unmanned Free Balloons


Source: Docket No. 1457, Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, unless
otherwise noted.

101.31 Applicability.

This subpart applies to the operation of unmanned free balloons.
However, a person operating an unmanned free balloon within a
restricted area must comply only with 101.33 (d) and (e) and with any
additional limitations that are imposed by the using or controlling
agency, as appropriate.

101.33 Operating limitations.

No person may operate an unmanned free balloon-

(a) Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, in a control zone below
2,000 feet above the surface, or in an airport traffic area;

(b) At any altitude where there are clouds or obscuring phenomena
of more than five-tenths coverage;

(c) At any altitude below 60,000 feet standard pressure altitude
where the horizontal visibility is less than five miles;

(d) During the first 1,000 feet of ascent, over a congested area of
a city, town, or settlement or an open-air assembly of persons not
associated with the operation; or

(e) In such a manner that impact of the balloon, or part thereof
including its payload, with the surface creates a hazard to persons
or property not associated with the operation.

(Doc. No. 1457, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 101-5, 56
FR 65662, Dec. 17, 1991)

101.35 Equipment and marking requirements.

(a) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon unless-

(1) It is equipped with at least two payload cut-down systems or
devices that operate independently of each other;

(2) At least two methods, systems, devices, or combinations
thereof, that function independently of each other, are employed
for terminating the flight of the balloon envelope; and

(3) The balloon envelope is equipped with a radar reflective
device(s) or material that will present an echo to surface radar
operating in the 200 MHz to 2700 MHz frequency range.

The operator shall activate the appropriate devices required by
paragraphs (a) (1) and (2) of this section when weather conditions
are less than those prescribed for operation under this subpart, or
if a malfunction or any other reason makes the further operation
hazardous to other air traffic or to persons and property on the
surface.

(b) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon below 60,000
feet standard pressure altitude between sunset and sunrise (as
corrected to the altitude of operation) unless the balloon and its
attachments and payload, whether or not they become separated
during the operation, are equipped with lights that are visible for
at least 5 miles and have a flash frequency of at least 40, and not
more than 100, cycles per minute.

(c) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon that is equipped
with a trailing antenna that requires an impact force of more than
50 pounds to break it at any point, unless the antenna has colored
pennants or streamers that are attached at not more than 50 foot
intervals and that are visible for at least one mile.

(d) No person may operate between sunrise and sunset an unmanned
free balloon that is equipped with a suspension device (other than
a highly conspicuously colored open parachute) more than 50 feet
along, unless the suspension device is colored in alternate bands
of high conspicuity colors or has colored pennants or streamers
attached which are visible for at least one mile.

(Sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)))

[Doc. No. 1457, Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, as amended by
Amdt. 101-2, 32 FR 5254, Mar. 29, 1967; Amdt. 101-4, 39 FR 22252, June
21, 1974]

101.37 Notice requirements.

(a) Prelaunch notice : Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this
section, no person may operate an unmanned free balloon unless,
within 6 to 24 hours before beginning the operation, he gives the
following information to the FAA ATC facility that is nearest to
the place of intended operation:

(1) The balloon identification.

(2) The estimated date and time of launching, amended as necessary
to remain within plus or minus 30 minutes.

(3) The location of the launching site.

(4) The cruising altitude.

(5) The forecast trajectory and estimated time to cruising altitude
or 60,000 feet standard pressure altitude, whichever is lower.

(6) The length and diameter of the balloon, length of the
suspension device, weight of the payload, and length of the
trailing antenna.

(7) The duration of flight.

(8) The forecast time and location of impact with the surface of
the earth.

(b) For solar or cosmic disturbance investigations involving a
critical time element, the information in paragraph (a) of this
section shall be given within 30 minutes to 24 hours before
beginning the operation.

(c) Cancellation notice : If the operation is canceled, the person
who intended to conduct the operation shall immediately notify the
nearest FAA ATC facility.

(d) Launch notice : Each person operating an unmanned free balloon
shall notify the nearest FAA or military ATC facility of the launch
time immediately after the balloon is launched.

101.39 Balloon position reports.

(a) Each person operating an unmanned free balloon shall:

(1) Unless ATC requires otherwise, monitor the course of the
balloon and record its position at least every two hours; and

(2) Forward any balloon position reports requested by ATC.

(b) One hour before beginning descent, each person operating an
unmanned free balloon shall forward to the nearest FAA ATC facility
the following information regarding the balloon:

(1) The current geographical position.

(2) The altitude.

(3) The forecast time of penetration of 60,000 feet standard
pressure altitude (if applicable).

(4) The forecast trajectory for the balance of the flight.

(5) The forecast time and location of impact with the surface of
the earth.

(c) If a balloon position report is not recorded for any two-hour
period of flight, the person operating an unmanned free balloon
shall immediately notify the nearest FAA ATC facility. The notice
shall include the last recorded position and any revision of the
forecast trajectory. The nearest FAA ATC facility shall be notified
immediately when tracking of the balloon is re-established.

(d) Each person operating an unmanned free balloon shall notify the
nearest FAA ATC facility when the operation is ended.

I was just wondering what you guys thought of these-they make it sound like a big hassle to lets these things go :P Dont get me wrong I want to do it it sounds fun but idk with all these rules...... Just wondering what you guys think
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