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A helium balloon with a little remote control car in it. It
has little hinged paddles glued around the horizontal axis
fully extend due to gravity when at the bottom of the
and fold out of the way when they're at the top.
As the car rolls, the balloon under it spins, the bottom
extends and pushes the air moving the entire unit. When it
rotates around to the top heading into the airstream, it
out of the way so it doesn't negate the push of the paddles
the bottom. (see illustration link)
I think you might even be able to steer it with the little
car's front wheels
since when you turn the car's front wheels, the axis would
making the bottom driver paddle push to the side as well as
back. The centrifugal force of the relatively heavy paddles
around the perimeter would act to stabilize the unit as
It could also be called a paddlewheel balloon.
Simple remote control balloon
Turn the car left, it goes right but other than that the forward and reverse are the same for the car and the balloon. [doctorremulac3, Mar 27 2014]
||Next step would be to adapt this to the screw propulsion model, as opposed to the paddle wheel. (Just going by apparent similarities here between Brunel's propulsion system, and the one that replaced it, for ships.)
||I'll grant the modification could get ugly or complicated (which is often another word for ugly).
||Now that I think of it, this should be called a paddle
||You'd want to add a inductive charger to the little car in
the baloon, so that you wouldn't have to remove it to
recharge it every 10 min or so.
A nearly transparent baloon would be a plus so you could
see which way the car was pointing.
That problem aside, sounds like cheap and easy fun, the
folding paddles being the hardest part of the build.