Tuesday, February 26, 2013

8 Month Picture Overload!

Time slipped away and sadly, I became preoccupied with the paths life laid before me. The result (as I'm sure you have noticed) is 8 whole months with no posts! I sincerely apologize! But don't worry! Progress has been made! Albeit slowly.

Some major events have happened over the last 8 months:
1) As I posted before, I proposed to Kelli back in December of 2011. Well, September 21, 2012 we tied the knot. She is now officially Kelli Veliz. I am a lucky man to find a woman who will let me spend so much time (and money haha) on balloons and my project in particular.  That's probably a good reason I put a cherry on the parachute...

2) Probably the biggest reason I have not made any posts in the last 8 months is because of my new role in running the repair station (California Balloon Repair Inc.). Over the last year I have invested nearly ever waking moment trying to make improvements to the shop so we are more efficient and through in our inspections and our work. Although I will never be truly finished with that goal, I am very satisfied with the progress that has been made in such a short period of time and the professionalism we display.

3) Sadly, in early January of 2013 my mother, Julia Rose Bigelow, unexpectedly passed away. She was a wonderful woman who I too often took for granted. She was was the true matriarch of our family. My siblings turned to her in times of need because she was always the one who got things done no matter what it took. I am comforted in knowing that she knew she was loved by us all. I hope in some way she would be happy that I included her in my project because she was an inspiration to me.

There was obviously A LOT more that happened in the last 8 months, but it is time to move on to sharing photos of the project and the BIG change I made to its design...or direction...

I left you all with my two seat design that utilized polyurethane racing bucket seats. Well....after some thought, research and fighting the urge to build something almost as ridiculous.... I have decided to put that particular design on the back burner. I will pick it back up some day! The new direction for this project is a lot more laid back...literally. The criteria for the new lower end design is as follows: 1) Needs to be a one seater 2) Needs to be utterly ridiculous to look at. That's why I have decided to build a lower end that looks like a Sofa Chair! Don't ask me why...I just wanted to do it. So here are the photos of the progress that has been made in the last 8 months! Enjoy!

The initial frame being bent and welded into its final form

Attaching the Seat brackets

Next goes on the shoulder strap/back rest top bar...

My employee Frank and I mocking up temporary sections for the seat...

Frank is excited!

Couldn't resist doing a rough test fit!


 Plywood for the seat back bottom floor and sides!

It really isn't as heavy as it looks! Once I finish up the side plywood and make the leg rest (yes, it will kick out like a recliner chair) I will begin the upholstery.

Here is most of what I have left:
1)Finish plywood sides
2) Cut access hole in seat to access tank valve and fuel quantity gauge
3) Create leg rest and protective bar for under my feet (just in case I land forward)
4) Decide on a skid design and attach it to the bottom
5) Create carabiner attachment points on top frame
6) weld on tank strap brackets
7) Attach 5 point harness
8)Build burner attachment blocks and attach to frame
9) Buy fuel line and fire extinguisher
10) Do the upholstery to make it look like a real sofa chair!

As with any project new tasks will pop up but I am EXTREMELY close to having this thing cruising the skies! I promise to have another update within the next week. I plan on finishing up the sides and the seat bottom and hopefully moving on to the leg rest next!

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