Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Solar air balloon

Solor heated hot air baloon
 
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This may be baked, but I couldnt find it here. Use an ultra-thin, ultralight, ultra-strong black material with insulating properties. You would have to start the (huge) baloon up by using a fan to blow air onto it until the air inside heats up enough to lift the baloon. Then you have an ultra-light carriage, and solor panel powered lightweight ducts that can pump cool air in for descent. Or have a flap at the top that can somehow be opened from below.... Or just wait for the sun to go down...
TimD, Apr 21 2003

Baked http://perso.wanadoo.fr/ballonsolaire/
They even spell "ballon" the same way. Except then they call it "solaire." [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004]

I can't read french very well. http://perso.wanado...olaire/en-index.htm
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       You might have better luck finding things if you could spell them ;) See link for ballons solaires.
DrCurry, Apr 21 2003
  

       But that's a French solar balloon. The present implementation is neutral w/r/t French-ness.
snarfyguy, Apr 21 2003
  

       Ahem. That's a Freedom Balloon to you.
DrCurry, Apr 21 2003
  

       Whats so free about potatoes? They grow trapped underground? :) (freedom fries) By the time they're fried, I guess they have been freed... Hmm this is starting to sound like an analogy of current events...
TimD, Apr 21 2003
  

       It's a great idea on the surface, but you'll need to address the following problems:   

       (1) The balloon has a large surface area and you need to trap enough heat to balance the heat loss to the surroundings.   

       (2) You need to be able to add enough heat to rapidly trim or climb the balloon. Solar energy will have to be, as you say, a top-up measure only.   

       The bigger question to address if you want to enhance the sport is how to make a lighter source of heating than the current burner systems.
FloridaManatee, Apr 22 2003
  

       BTW, [DrCurry]'s link is fabulous!
FloridaManatee, Apr 22 2003
  

       Why mess with troublesome solar energy when a plentiful supply of hot air is available right here?
krelnik, Apr 22 2003
  

       [tobyp] Vapor pressure of water at 20C is 18Torr. Atmospheric pressure is 760Torr. If you try to fill the balloon with just water vapor the water will condense and the balloon will collaps. But you yould use methane (CH4, mass 16). You wouldn't even need a gas bottle, just a few cans of beans for the pilot.
kbecker, Aug 11 2003
  

       What is a Torr?   

       Large inflateable mirrors could be used to collect extra energy.
chud, Aug 12 2003
  
      
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