Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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It lifts you up quickly, and lets you down gently
  (+21, -1)(+21, -1)(+21, -1)
(+21, -1)
  [vote for,

Skydiving is fun, but having to charter an airplane to do it is expensive and, well, noisy and unnatural. So instead, you can do the whole thing using nothing but your balloonachute. Strap it to your back, and have your friend inflate it with helium. When it's full enough, let go of the ground rope, and off you go, up into the sky! Whee.... when you get up high enough, pull the ripcord, and the helium is ejected out of the balloon. The force of the released helium is used to reshape the balloon into a parachute shape, and the parachute carries you gently back to the ground. Want to go again? Refill the balloon and off you go...
Jeremi, May 22 2002

Lawn-chair balloon http://www.urbanleg...n.chair.balloon.gif
[phoenix, May 22 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

More of the same http://members.trip...ooning/balloon.html
[phoenix, May 22 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Avalanche Balloon http://www.halfbake...Avalanche_20Balloon
A balloonachute would improve upon the descent part of this hb invention. [beauxeault, May 24 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Heh. I'm imagining a 747 going through a giant helium pocket and its engines shutting down, falling out of the sky due to insufficient lift or both. Anything that's recreational *and* potentially catastrophic gets my criossant.
phoenix, May 22 2002

       Sounds great, but you missed out the bit where all the fun happens, the free fall part with little clouds racing towards and past you at lunatic speed.
IvanIdea, May 22 2002

       Croissant from me for the word balloonachute alone, BUT: "The force of the released helium is used to reshape the balloon into a parachute shape." How does it actually do that? Drawings would be handy...
Saveloy, May 22 2002

       Here's how I'm seeing that bit: I picture the balloon has a belt-like strap running horizontally around the center of it, from which the harness is suspended on all sides. When the balloon is filled up, it will be spherical. When the helium is released, the belt will cause the empty balloon to retain a hemispherical parachute-like shape on top, while the empty bottom bit is pushed up inside, or flops around. I don't know if this would actually work like a chute, though.
waugsqueke, May 22 2002

       Sounds like fun, two practical questions though: a) how much does that much helium cost? b) how do you plan things so you get over a proper drop zone before releasing it all?. Around here people avoid the plane by hiking to the top of a mountain and chucking themselves off.
rbl, May 22 2002

       You can suck as much as you want on the way up, and scream like a chipmunk on the way down!
dag, May 22 2002

       I suggest that instead of releasing the helium into the atmosphere, compress it into tanks on your back. With all the gas in the tanks - you skydive, with some gas back into the balloon - you descend slowly. With a quick-acting compressor and gas release, one could take giant leaps as if on the moon.
FarmerJohn, May 22 2002

       to answer your questions, rbl ... (1) it probably would cost quite a bit; so perhaps FarmerJohn's helium-recycling idea could help with that problem (or use hot-air instead of helium, although the thought of having an open flame underneath my parachute makes me VERY nervous ;^)). (2) the best way to get over a drop zone is to start in (or upwind of) a drop zone.
Jeremi, May 22 2002

       Just make sure you don't meet a parachuter going the other way...
yamahito, May 22 2002

       This is terribly tempting, but I'm wanting a separate chute anyway.   

       Perhaps the balloon could be pre-shaped like a chute and then filled.
RayfordSteele, May 24 2002

       When you're on the ground, fill your (circular canopy type) chute with helium, and float upwards gracefully. As the helium seeps out, you will start to descend again.
pottedstu, May 24 2002

       I'd be afraid of some WWII veteran mistaking my helium balloonachute for the dreaded zeppelin while on his pain killer drugs, and either shooting at me, or running through the streets screaming "air raid!".....   

       but that's just me.
fatalbert, Sep 14 2002


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