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Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:32 pm UTC
by McBain
I know I am new here, so I hope none of you mind my insane ramblings, but I've wondered about this for a long time and just have to ask.

We've all heard rumors of people strapping helium weather balloons to a lawn chair or some other harness in order to achieve flight, and despite the nay-saying of A FEW TV personalities, simple searches on video sites seem to confirm the validity of this strange type of flight. Despite these pieces of evidence for or against, my question is this...

How plausible would it be to make a sort of helium balloon jump-harness, capable of aiding an average-sized human being to jump to greater, almost moon-like heights or distances? In order to figure this out, we obviously need to know how much upward force these helium balloons can provide, and of course, if it is plausible to have enough balloons to provide the pull without making a huge mess of things. How much upward force would you need to provide in order to make almost "low gravity" jumps? Is it even possible?

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:25 pm UTC
by J Spade
Gravity on the moon is, I think, 1/6 that of Earth. So you need to get enough balloons to lift 5/6 of your weight. Gym weights would work for calibration. To me it sounds plausible for a short time before the balloons are hit by wind.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:04 pm UTC
by Klotz
I'd need about 100 cubic metres of helium to cancel my weight, so let's say about 50 to have some sweet ass hops.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:07 pm UTC
by Azrael001
Klotz wrote:I'd need about 100 cubic metres of helium to cancel my weight, so let's say about 50 to have some sweet ass-hops.



Fixed. Also, I want to point out that this is possibly one of the more awesome ideas that I have heard.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:23 pm UTC
by Azrael001
I suppose that one would jump up faster than the balloons would rise, causing slack in the ropes. You might begin to fall before the balloons could help to lift you.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:55 pm UTC
by McBain
Azrael001 wrote:I suppose that one would jump up faster than the balloons would rise, causing slack in the ropes. You might begin to fall before the balloons could help to lift you.


I suppose this is true, but it could probably be worked around. I mean, the balloons ARE constantly pulling up, I don't know if a jump would be a jerky enough movement to screw it up. Mind you, I'm also thinking of a kind of "moon jump" effect here, so once again I don't know if it would cause too much of a problem. I'm just trying to see if this idea is viable, because it seems like it would be a lot of fun. So far, it seems like it would work, so long as there wasn't a lot of wind.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:57 pm UTC
by J Spade
Or use the wind to your advantage, like sailing.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:06 pm UTC
by Azrael001
Maybe a giant balloon backpack?

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:57 am UTC
by tday93
could you also use hydrogen for a slightly smaller, if mind-blowingly dangerous rig?

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:00 am UTC
by Indon
Can they make useful balloons out of vacuum? Like, just a very strong shell that contains nothing in it?

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:03 am UTC
by ATCG
McBain wrote:We've all heard rumors of people strapping helium weather balloons to a lawn chair or some other harness in order to achieve flight, and despite the nay-saying of A FEW TV personalities, simple searches on video sites seem to confirm the validity of this strange type of flight.

The late. great Larry Walters was the first to pull this off in 1982. By sheer coincidence, an admirer of Walters made a 235-mile flight of his own over the weekend.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:08 am UTC
by fishrap
I'm thinking hydrogen filled weather balloons and a rock climbing harness. Anyone know if there's a chance of getting electrocuted if you get dragged into powerlines? I'm not worried about explosions, seeing as the hydrogen will be outside, away all type o fire and stuff. It's twice as cheap as helium, and a quarter more buoyant. But vacuum shells would be the most awesome--durable and reusable!

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:37 am UTC
by Azrael001
Vacuum does not float. (I think)

That is all.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:39 am UTC
by Thisisnotausername
Except for the part where the shell is heavier than what it would take to contain helium.

I can just picture it now: madmen running down a tarmac with goggles on, lead capsules containing vacuums being dragged along by balloon string. That would most surely make my day :D

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:10 pm UTC
by om617
Vacuum could theoretically float, if it's container weighed less than the air it displaced. There is no known material that could produce anything like such a container, of course.

Re: Weather Balloon Flight

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:18 pm UTC
by alexh123456789
Azrael001 wrote:Vacuum does not float. (I think)

That is all.



Theres nothing intrinsic about air that makes it float, it's just that helium displaces more weight in air then it weighs itself, kind of like metal boats floating in water. If it were possible to make, a very light balloon with a vaccum inside would have the most lift.