About Us | Ballooning technology
The fabric section of a hot air balloon is called the 'envelope'. This is the part that most people call the balloon. It is generally made of nylon and is put together by sewing hundreds of specially cut panels together to give it the 'tear drop' shape. These panels are sewn to nylon load tapes that actually distribute the weight loading across the envelope so the actual load on the fabric is less than 0.5kg when flying .
LPG is used to generate heat in balloons . In ballooning circles we tend to use propane, the same gas as used in BBQ's bottles. Autogas is an option although it tends to burn at somewhat lower pressure and is less clean. LPG is contained within the basket in 45L-62L stainless steel tanks similar in size to those seen on fork lifts.
The LPG burners are handmade from stainless steel and are designed to give maximum heat output for minimum noise. They sound like a fire-breathing dragon and can shoot flames up to 5 metres in length into the envelope .
To get lift and 'take off', the envelope is heated using propane burners to a temperature greater than the ambient temperature. This difference in temperature between the outside and inside of the 'envelope' allows the balloon to lift off the ground, just as warm smoke or embers rise from a fire. A basket full of people is quite heavy so the volume of the balloon will be based on how much weight needs to be lifted.
The balloon basket or 'Gondola' is made of cane or wicker. They are hand woven on to a stainless steel frame with stainless steel load bearing cables woven within the wicker to provide the strength to carry passengers and equipment.