I was just staring out the window of my office building and I thought, it would be brilliant to be able to fly … So I remember hearing about this guy who took a shitload of weather balloons filled with helium and flew in his lawnchair – http://www.snopes.com/travel/airline/walters.asp (it’s true)
What if you took less balloons – not enough to lift you, but with just enough ballast to slowly glide you down to the ground? Then you could jump off of buildings, hills, or mountains, and slowly glide down to the ground…
Yeah, but that balloongliding is a bad idea. 50% chance that you fall like a rock to your demise. 25% of chance that you fall like smaller rock to your demise 20% of chance that the wind takes you into someones window. And 5% of chance that you actually get away from that with only few broken bones.
The balloons work differently from a parachute. It doesn’t slow you down, it makes you lighter. Also more subjectible to wind and air movements, you have no control over where you are going. You are very likely to accelerate to deadly speed anyway, as finding the right balance would be almost impossible, and wind drafts could easily send you against the wall with horrible speed.
man. i use to have a 1974 aircooled vw minibus. i wanted to get a few hot air ballons and attach them to the roof. then i realized the size i would need and the amount of fuel i would need. and that i wouldn’t be able to have anyone else in it with me.
also i would have needed to constantly be at the helm of all of the burners. so that idea didn’t go to far. plus it would have never worked i think, the way i imagined. the original imagined version, was a 2 giant hot air ballons, attached to the blue vw minibus with a life size gumby suit, and a propellor attached to the back of the minibus where the engine is.
Well thanks for the info, Suva… I guess it would be as dangerous as flying a big kite in high wind – which I’ve also always wanted to do.
Maybe one day I’ll just go regular hanggliding, if not I’ll settle for skydiving
Flying a big kite is obviously less dangerous. As first you can let go of the kite before it pulls you too high, and second you can control the kite, so if the wind doesn’t stop suddenly you can probably land again.
You may also want to try engine powered paragliders hang gliders.
sky diving and hang gliding would be massively cool.
i can’t remember what it’s called but some guy had a flying squirrel looking suit that he used to control the direction he flew when jumping out of a plane. can’t remember how he landed, or what it was called though. man it looked crazy fun!
i imagine you need to be in top physical condition for alot of this stuff.
ultra lites are cool too but man so expensive. just a very small piece of aircraft aluminum is extremely pricey.
Well, helium has a different effect than making you lighter.
m = your mass
a = acceleration
g = acceleration due to gravity
F = buoyancy force from helium balloons (approx. constant)
without balloons: mg = ma —> a = g (independent of mass)
with balloons: mg - F = ma —> a = g - F/m
Because a = g - F/m is less than g, you accelerate less with the balloons. This is not the same has having less mass.
Although I understand your point was that you still will accelerate downward if F < m*g, it’s not at the same rate.
For parachutes the upward force is a function of your velocity (something like F(v) = cv where c is a constant and v is your velocity). So a = g - F(v)/m, and at some velocity in your descent F(v) = mg and thus a = 0 (this is the terminal velocity).
However, in reality the balloon setup also has a terminal velocity from air resistance, and this will occur at a much slower velocity (assuming the function F(v) is the same as a parachute) because a = g - F/m - F(v)/m = 0 —> F(v) = mg - F which is less than F(v) = mg for the parachute.
Of course, the F(v) force is larger for the parachute because it has larger surface area (the constant c is larger), in both cases there will be no acceleration at some terminal velocity.
I remember testing the idea of organic_io several years ago with eggs and helium balloons thrown off the roof. Finding the balancing amount of balloons to make the egg land safely was basically impossible, it actually made them light as air, but when thrown off the roof it still accelerated to the speed when the egg cracked. Fun thing was that the balloons rocketed to the sky after cracking the egg as the yolk ran out.
We did the exact same thing at uni years ago. Though we also had to make something to break
the fall of the egg, making sure it WOULDN’t be cracked. It was almost impossible, but putting the egg
in a bucket filled with sand did the trick eventually.