Friday, July 29, 2011

Short Delay

A few of you have asked if I have anything new to update. Unfortunately I don't. We have too many balloons on the floor (of the repair station) right now and there just isn't enough space for me to work. I'm expecting to begin working on the project again around August 5th. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slow and Steady

This is one of the biggest projects I have ever attempted in my life. When I was 16 years old I built a 1928 Ford Model A rolling chassis and completed a good amount of the body work as well. That project started off as two halves of a bare frame and a rusted out body. I spent countless hours working in the garage on the project and loved every minute of it. Around age 19 I bought a 1968 rag-top Camaro. The car ran (barely) and was in rough shape all around. In 2 weeks I tore the whole car down in my dads back yard (he loved that). Over the next 3 months I completed some engine work, replaced the transmission, installed an aftermarket air conditioning kit, replaced the interior, installed a stereo system, new suspension bushings, shocks and tires etc....My point is that I would get obsessed with my projects. I would often rush through the work so I could enjoy the finished product. This isn't to say I sacrificed quality to finish faster...just... it never occurred to me that I should slow down and enjoy my work. This balloon build has been different. I have enjoyed every moment of this project. Maybe it's because I haven't done anything like it before or maybe it's because I have a true passion for anything and everything ballooning. Either way, I am extremely excited the closer I get to having completed my first experimental hot air balloon.

I have completed quite a bit of work this week. More than I was expecting. As of today I have 16 individual gores completed! Having the gores laid out on the floor gave me a real sense of what this balloon is going to look like. Here are a few pictures of me sewing the half gores together and the completed pink and green gores.

70 feet of sewing....

Completed pinks!

Completed green!

And here is my completed gore piles. 8 green, 8 pink....

While I have been working on the balloon, my boss and our trainee built me a flag for the chase vehicle.

That's it for now! Sometime next week I will update with my progress of building my turning vent and assembling the balloon. Check back soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Parachute finished!

 After many hours designing and assembling the is finally done! I am VERY happy with the end result. Gayle did an amazing job designing the center spot.

I have my 32 half gores completed and will be combining my rights and lefts to have a total of 16 gores. The next step will be assembling the first three gores (2 regular, 1 with my turning vent). I am only assembling these first three since I will have to maneuver the fabric around quite a bit to attach all the load tapes and other items for my turning vents.

I am also almost done with my skirt for the balloon. I decided to mix the diamonds up a bit to make the balloon a little more dynamic. All that is left to finish on the skirt is to add the band at the bottom that will contain the metal hoop. Here's a picture of it about half way done.

Once I have the envelope completed (not including pulleys, SS rings etc.) I will begin editing the time lapse video of the envelope build. Stay tuned for another update in another week...