Thinking about a Hot Air Balloon

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'm not sure what its current ceiling would be for the condition of the envelope. It's pretty porous. The highest we've had it so far was 3,000 MSL (2k AGL around here). Most flights are in the 1000ish AGL range. However we will take it higher.
     
  2. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cool. Looking forward to the first Balloon Ted sighting over my house.
     
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  3. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Would a less porous envelope improve the response time? As a complete novice, I'd think so based on physics. Less air leaking means it heats faster. But it would cool slower...
     
  4. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    I just saw an article about a hot air balloon feminine altitude record flight to >4500m MSL. Brrrr!
     
  5. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is there a physical upper limit on a hot air balloon?

    I can understand that to go higher you would need more fuel, which weighs more, which changes the calculations on other things.
     
  6. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    You will probably see us one day when the winds are finally out of the north and we can launch from OJC. With the winds out of the south, we try to make sure we are on the ground well before getting in the way of airport traffic.

    Correct. Having a porous envelope makes flying harder. You're always losing heat, but since you're losing heat faster it means you have to burn more just to keep level, and burn even more on top of that to climb.

    This one will probably get us through our training, and then we can decide what to do after that.

    Density altitude is still a thing with balloons. However as you go higher up it gets cooler (normally) and balloon performance is dictated mostly by the temperature difference between the air inside the envelope and the air outside the envelope. But I am not smart enough on balloons to understand how they determine the ceiling.
     
  7. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sure, the temperature delta is what makes the balloon go up, but you need the fuel to maintain that delta long enough to get you high enough to find a limit. I have a feeling it's somewhat related to the rocket equation - you need fuel, that fuel weighs some non trivial amount, you need to move the mass of that fuel, but then you burn fuel and get lighter and then don't require as much fuel to burn to generate that energy, and on and on.
     
  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    And don't forget you need fuel to get back down, at least in a controlled manner.
     
  9. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That, too. Baumgartner took the easy way out.
     
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  10. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    *Runs out to invent balloon CAPS*
     
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  11. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Kind of like a Cirrus balloon. Takes a long time to do a 10 mile final though.
     
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  12. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    If they don't name the Cirrus balloon model the Cloud, they failed.
     
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  13. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    500 AGL or so. That was in a Citabria flying across several states, so not a particularly loud airplane. Lots of time to observe animal behavior, though. :rofl:

    Like I said, the "startle factor" of the balloon may change things and I'm curious what you'll see with horses...

    How often are you lighting the burner as you approach? It would seem that might reduce the startle factor.

    It may also be somewhat of a "WTF" factor. I know our cat hated regular balloons and would stare at them intently as if they were the devil's work. :rofl:
     
  14. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I haven't made any updates on this in a while because there hasn't been anything much to update on. Our instructor wasn't a good fit for us in terms of mutual expectations. Of course, the current world situation didn't help things with that on multiple levels. In the end we figured out we weren't going to finish in any sort of timely manner with the instructor we were using, so we decided it was time to move on. As we all know, sometimes that happens.

    We found new instructors (a couple who are both instructors) and things are going much better. A couple weeks ago I had my first lesson with them (it was a tethered flight) and then last night Laurie had her first lesson, marking her first lesson in the balloon, period. This was also my first time working as a member of the crew. Ballooning is a social event to some extent, similar to flying gliders. Even if you have a smaller balloon than ours that you could realistically do by yourself, you still need someone to drive the tow vehicle to come retrieve you, since you aren't landing on your property (most likely). Being on the crown line (the rope at the top that helps to control the lines) is a lot of work as you've got 77,000 cubic feet of air that wants to move around. It'll take a few times to get the hang of it, but it went well. Fortunately there was essentially no wind last night, which made it easier.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nice. Looking forward to seeing you over my house some day.
     
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  16. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'm sure it will happen at some point. Our new instructors live in Wyandotte county and we've been tending to meet closer to them. Airspace wise that also works out well, stays below the Bravo in an area that seems to be less busy than ours (oddly enough).

    Couple other thoughts on the ballooning experience. First, we've noticed that the most popular ballooning vehicles seem to be 12-15 passenger vans. There's good reason for that. Aside from being a good size to house the balloon, they're pretty simple to drive and chase the balloon with when it's flying. Chasing you need to, well, go the direction it's going. Yesterday that actually was confusing as we were in the one part of Kansas that had curves in the roads and that didn't always go the direction they needed to. By sheer luck I managed to end up in the right spot just as they were landing, but it's work and driving the Ram (with a long bed/crew cab) and towing a 20' trailer behind it is fine but certainly more effort. That said, I don't see us buying a van for a number of reasons - a smaller trailer would make more sense (and this trailer we have really is bad)

    There's a lot of learning involved in what works best, and it seems none of it carries over from fixed wing/rotorcraft.
     
  17. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Nice!

    But a balloonist in Kansas seems almost cliche. Post pics when you land in Oz. :D
     
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  18. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Curved roads in Kansas, this is a new world... :lol::lol:

    Be sure to record the night time light shows.
     
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  19. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    We don't have many but we have a few.

    We haven't done that ourselves yet, but I would like to do it sometime. It would be fun to do when we have some friends over. Main negative of it is you do all the work of getting it out and set up without the fun of flying, although I suppose you could do a tethered flight.
     
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  20. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    The only likely reason the curve is there is because the farmer who used to own the land wouldn't grant an easement, lol.
     
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  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    LOL yup. That’s why there’s two 90s in our road to town. :)
     
  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    A Classifieds posting will be made soon, but Laurie and I have decided to sell the hot air balloon. If anyone is interested in learning how to fly one, you will end up having to buy one, so ours is a perfect option! ;)

    For us, it comes down to too many things to do and not enough time to do them in more than anything. We've had the balloon for about 15 months. In the end, I think we've flown it about 5 hours total between the two of us. A lot of that was due to COVID popping up right at the beginning of the balloon season last year. Given how busy we are, especially this year (and that's not slowing down), the balloon flying is just something we've realized is not going to happen with enough regularity to complete the ratings.

    Personally, I've realized that I enjoy flying the balloon, but given that you're pretty much always landing on someone else's property, mentally that's something I just have a hard time with.

    So it's been fun, but we'll be happy to have it sold.
     
  23. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll let my wife know, but I think she wants a flamethrower first.
     
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  24. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    You do realize that a balloon has about a 2M BTU flamethrower built-in, right? :)
     
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  25. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not quite as portable. But it would definitely get the attention of the neighborhood FB group!
     
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  26. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Can I use that to pre-heat my Bo?
     
  27. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I offer no warranty should you attempt to use it in that manner.
     
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  28. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I'd love to have a hot air balloon for our place down in the outer banks.
     
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  29. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Flying a balloon near the ocean sounds exciting.
     
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  30. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Lol, life raft included on preflight minimum equipment list.
     
  31. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Particularly on a ribbon of land a few hundred yards wide and 30 miles out to sea, with constant winds.

    Joking aside, I've had people ask where they could go hot air ballooning on the Outer Banks. I politely nudged them towards taking an airplane ride instead.
     
  32. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    And here I hoped you were a potential buyer. :(
     
  33. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I'm actually doing some balloon related work right now and would love to try my hand at hot air ballooning, but my location inside the Washington Flight Restriction Zone under the approach path to DCA might not be conducive to suitable flying. It looks like the nearest suitable areas for ballooning are at least an hour away.
     
  34. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    You wouldn't need to worry so much about landing on someone else's property. :)
     
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  35. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    please email me details.... I know of a local balloonist who is considering adding to her "fleet"
     
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  36. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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  37. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  38. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Yes! Get rid of the balloon, it's a distraction from your racing effort.
     
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  39. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    A balloon is not as fast as a racecar...
     
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  40. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Before you sell the balloon, did ya ever think about re-directing the propane burn and build something fer the kids.??

     
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