[balloon-makers] Plastic bag lift cells

K. Mark Caviezel kmcaviezel at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 6 06:10:42 CDT 2006

Balloon Makers: 
After way too long on hiatus (I've relocated from
Denver to Oklahoma and it's been an ordeal), I am
making progress on the cluster balloon project again. 


Quite a bit simpler and faster (by my methods at
least) than the tetroons originally envisioned, the
current plan is for a straight 'tube' balloon.  About
400 cubic feet for helium or hydrogen, or almost 1000
cubic feet for methane.  This nets about 16-19 lbs
buoyancy each at 10k feet cruising altitude.  The
tubes can be made longer to give more lift or a higher
ceiling.  Each cell, including rigging, is only about
3 pounds.  Pre-flight rigging, preparations and
filling will be 'interesting' with 50 or more cells
staked down.    

Safety:  The buoyancy gas is loaded into an air-free
cell and completely sealed.  Flammable gas is safe
under that condition.  Cell leaks, ruptures, or rips
which give rise to a gas/air mixture are the highest
safety concern.   I'm still evaluating this.  Helium
will of course be many people's favorite option. 

Control: rip out a cell to initiate a fast descent. 
Vernier control may be acheived by selective venting
of a cell or a few cells hauled down to the basket.  

I've set the goal to fly this on of before November
10.  I'm still looking for a suitable natural gas well
to tap off of. Here in Oklahoma, I've met no shortage
of people who own gas wells, but they are all under
lease to the gas companies who don't like to share. 

- Mark Caviezel 

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