December 19, 2004
Pictured below is the first inflation of a 1/2 scale (approximately
50 feet in length when inflated) model using ribbed envelope design.
Above are some of the elements of the model. In the foreground is the
fabric envelope, next are the two aluminum "landing gear" that support the nose
and tail cones while on the ground, then the poles with black/white segments)
there are the ribs. There are 7 ribs consisting of segments of hollow, 1 inch
diameter, carbon fibre tubing with aluminum couplings.
The overall length of the ribs is 64 feet.
The black barrel-like object is a fan/heater unit that is used
fill the envelope with warm air during inflation.
(And yes, those are farm animals in the background. The inflation was made in
a field between a house and a pasture.)
In the above picture, inflation has begun. Notice the red tube on the left through
which the warm air is being fed into the envelope.
Above - the envelope continues to fill.
The above picture shows the model fully inflated. It's largest diamter
is 35 feet. When enflated, it is about 50 feet long.
The above picture is a good view of the red tail fins of the aircraft.
Above is a picture of the inside of the envelope looking rearward.
Notice the ring that joins the poles for the tail fins.
"Uhh honey, there's a blimp in our backyard?!?"