Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
What's a nice idea like yours doing in a place like this?

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Safer Passenger Hot Air Balloon

Have the gas tanks and burners hang 100 feet below the basket.
  [vote for,

A horrible accident where 16 people were killed made me thing this might be a way to avoid future tragedies.

Hot air balloons carry gas canisters and burners to keep aloft. If they accidentally catch fire there's very little the balloon's riders can do.

The idea is to keep the flames and flammable gas a safe distance from the balloon, transferring the hot air via a tube to the balloon envelope. So the balloon would consist of the balloon itself, the passenger gondola and hanging 100 feet below, the burners and tanks.

If for some reason a fire were to erupt, it would be a safe distance from the balloon passengers and could be easily released and allowed to drop.

doctorremulac3, Jul 31 2016

They don't call it Safeway fer nuthin. http://www.am1150.c...safeway-parking-lot
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 31 2016]

Your_20own_20Vulcan_20bomber Your own Vulcan bomber (sort of) [not_morrison_rm, Aug 01 2016]


       Got to see one of these emergency land in a Safeway parking a couple of weeks ago, "Way" too close to power lines. [link]
There is no reason I can see why they could not be solar hot air balloons with altitude controlled by electric heat augmentation for rapid ascent. The cool thing about solar hot air balloons is that excess heat could be dissipated in the form of a passive lateral thrust. (+)

       Wow, and they really do make these baskets out of wicker? You won't find me in one of those flying firebombs.
doctorremulac3, Jul 31 2016

       They are safer than helicopters, but only just.   

       Bizarrely, hydrogen balloons would probably be safer.   

       But the main problem is that, like helicopters, the occupants have no meaningful control over the flight profile, apart from the certain knowledge that inevitably gravity will triumph at some point.   

       For over a hundred of your Earth years, practical fixed-wing aircraft have been widely available; yet to some, hot air ballooning still appears to be a reasonable option for air travel. Quite why is not obvious.
8th of 7, Jul 31 2016

       I've only been in a helicopter a couple of times. It's all about trusting that auto-gyration really works should the engine die.   

       The backup plan when something goes wrong in a balloon is to die. If it bursts into flames you have three choices: 1-Jump to your death 2- Burn to death or my favorite 3- Do both.   

       I'm definitely sticking with fixed wing aircraft with a reasonable glide ratio and where the fuel is burned a little bit further than four feet away from my head.
doctorremulac3, Jul 31 2016

       // If for some reason a fire were to erupt, it would be a safe distance from the balloon passengers and could be easily released and allowed to drop. //   

       And if the basket were to catch fire then the passengers could be automatically jettisoned to save them from burning to death.
whatrock, Jul 31 2016

       // I'm definitely sticking with fixed wing aircraft with a reasonable glide ratio and where the fuel is burned a little bit further than four feet away from my head. //   

When my flight instructor crashed, and I got his answering-machine message asking me to co-pilot with him for ten free flying hours towards my license the day after he died, it gave me major creeps and I didn't finish the course with a new instructor.
So I figured out how to create a semi-fixed wing aircraft that requires no motor and can stay aloft indefinitely.
In fact I believe that indefinitely suspended airports are possible and that larger aircraft never need to touch earth.
Passengers will be shuttled to these platforms in much smaller aircraft and the savings in fuel consumption and maintenance will pay for the construction ten fold... as a side bonus the shadows cast can be used to help reverse desertification if properly applied.

       True story.   

       ^ semi-fixed wing aircraft   

       my rather tedious (but fits the profile) post entitled Your own Vulcan bomber, see linky.   

       Still haven't figured out why balloons are not firewalled internally, I'm guessing some graphene mesh would stand the heat and stop the whole damn thing burning.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 01 2016

       A burning material made up of a contained plasma in a doped bucky-buble wrap has not made it onto the balloon material advances versus time plot yet.
wjt, Aug 01 2016

       Wow, creepy story 2Frys, that would shake me up.   

       Several years ago signing my life insurance policy, right before I signed the guy said "Oh yea, you don't pilot planes do you?" to which I said "Not for many years." He then pointed out that that was good, because this doesn't cover air crashes when I'm the pilot. I had gone through so much trouble to get this thing, losing weight etc that I just went ahead and signed. Now of course I really want to resume flying, probably because I can't.   

       As far as the heat rising from the fire, I don't think it's going to be a problem from 100 feet below. Putting the burner above but far from the basket I'd be nervous about having that fire overhead and still under the envelope. I like the emergency break away concept.   

       But something's got to be done if the recreational balloon industry is to survive. The death is just too horrible to make risking it a fun proposition. For me anyway.
doctorremulac3, Aug 01 2016

       My understanding is that the balloon caught fire when it hit power lines - am I wrong?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 01 2016

       I think hot air balloons are only around because of the grandfathering in effect. Can you imagine proposing the concept as a novel idea to any major authority now? "I propose a flying device, essentially an enlarged re-purposed fruit basket with an enormous fire on top. Above that, a big, colorful and entirely flammable part that definitely won't ignite because its separated from the enormous fire by a couple of feet, reliable directional control is ensured by the prevailing wind, or any other winds that turn up"
bs0u0155, Aug 01 2016

       //My understanding is that the balloon caught fire when it hit power lines - am I wrong?//   

       I know powerlines take these things down on a pretty regular basis. One of the problems with riding in a vehicle that you can't steer.   

       Add to the design, it has to have an automatic disconnect when it hits a powerline.
doctorremulac3, Aug 01 2016

       If it caught fire because it hit power lines, the gas burner may have had nothing to do with it.   

       Assuming that the locations of all power lines are known, it must shirley be possible to have a map which, combined with a GPS, would set off an alarm when the balloon is getting uncomfortably close to power lines. The pilot only needs to fire the burners to clear them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 01 2016

       It can be a bit more complicated than that.   

       Having watched balloons miss powerlines by a few metres on two occasions from really close range (altho thannkfully not from inside the basket) it is clear that the landing phase is fraught with difficulty.   

       Horizontal velocity is not controllable.   

       Vertical velocity is marginally controllable. Much depends in the time of day, season, and cloud cover, along with humidity.   

       Shallow inversion layers can form. As the balloon cools and descends into such a layer, it can abruptly lose lift. Heating the balloon to gain lift is not instantaneous, so the sink rate can increase rapidly. In the evening, with a rapidly cooling stratified air mass, it becomes pure chance.   

       Landing involves descending, but (and this is the important part) not too quickly.   

       The pilot has the option of attempting a least-worst crash in daylight, or just waiting and crashing at random in the dark. The passengers don't have any options at all.   

       Good game, good game.
8th of 7, Aug 01 2016


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle