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Author Topic: Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?  (Read 7758 times)

Herman Melville

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Following my previous helium balloon query ( http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=23363.0 ), would it be possible to hold enough helium balloons that you could take off and fly? Could you reach a reasonable height and then systematically pop (or let go of) your balloons so that you would stay at the same height and then when you chose to gently descend and land safely?


 

Offline omid

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #1 on: 03/06/2009 13:41:01 »
i don't think you can, because if it is so then the balloon seller would always be found in the air lol ;D
 

Offline BenV

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #2 on: 03/06/2009 14:17:58 »
It can be done, but you need a lot of helium...

Obviously, you also need to be careful of powerlines etc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_Chair_Larry
 

Offline LeeE

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #3 on: 03/06/2009 15:33:47 »
As BenV says, it can be done, but it's not just powerlines you need to watch out for - see http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/29/world/main4305742.shtml

The problem with using party balloons for flight is that you can't vent gas from them.  Should you need to reduce lift, either to land or prevent yourself from flying too high, the only option is to burst some of the balloons, and should you fly too high, the balloons will burst anyway.  Once the balloons have been burst, there's no way of re-inflating them once you've descended to lower levels and require more lift (due to the increased air pressure making the balloons less buoyant), even if you were carrying additional lifting gas.
 

Offline JnA

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #4 on: 04/06/2009 04:45:45 »
The 'Mythbusters' did it as well.. well sort of..


long live lawnchair larry.
 

Offline Daerana

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #5 on: 04/06/2009 08:40:03 »
The 'Mythbusters' did it as well.. well sort of..

I remember that.  FOr memory though they had A LOT of balloons and for memory I don't think it got very high.
 

Herman Melville

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #6 on: 04/06/2009 11:22:43 »
Should you need to reduce lift, either to land or prevent yourself from flying too high, the only option is to burst some of the balloons, and should you fly too high, the balloons will burst anyway.  Once the balloons have been burst, there's no way of re-inflating them once you've descended to lower levels and require more lift (due to the increased air pressure making the balloons less buoyant), even if you were carrying additional lifting gas.

I mentioned the popping/releasing principle in my first post. I was thinking you would monitor this closely from the beginning and never go much above building level. But you'd have no way to steer, would you?

I've changed my mind about trying this. Maybe I could start with my cat... ;)
« Last Edit: 04/06/2009 11:24:23 by Herman Melville »
 

Offline JnA

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #7 on: 04/06/2009 13:45:02 »

I've changed my mind about trying this. Maybe I could start with my cat... ;)

I'd stick to using balloons
 

Offline Don_1

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #8 on: 04/06/2009 13:56:28 »

I've changed my mind about trying this. Maybe I could start with my cat... ;)

I'd stick to using balloons

Spoilsport!
 

Offline Steph

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #9 on: 04/06/2009 14:04:52 »
The 'Mythbusters' did it as well.. well sort of..


long live lawnchair larry.

I remember that. Weren't they trying to send up a small child? :P Took a hell of a lot of balloons.
 

Herman Melville

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #10 on: 04/06/2009 14:06:48 »
Out of interest, how many balloons would be needed to fly off an average adult cat (black and white moggy)?
 

Offline Don_1

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #11 on: 04/06/2009 14:45:23 »
Would I be right in assuming you have a particular mangy moggy in mind?
 

Herman Melville

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #12 on: 04/06/2009 14:47:50 »
Would I be right in assuming you have a particular mangy moggy in mind?
Whatever makes you think that? (I suppose I would also need to factor in the weight of some cat biscuits and a dish of milk.)

At least it would increase the moggy's chance of catching some birds.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2009 15:08:15 by Herman Melville »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #13 on: 05/06/2009 08:18:22 »
This might be fake but....

feature=PlayList&p=3E21E5E39F7E4243&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=40
 

Offline Daerana

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #14 on: 05/06/2009 10:03:34 »
Here is the mythbusters version.  they are using party balloons here not weather balloons like in the previous link.  That would probably have some effect.

NR=1
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #15 on: 05/06/2009 10:07:35 »
There was this thread: How much weight can a helium filled balloon lift?

Take note of the second post.
 

Offline BenV

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #16 on: 05/06/2009 10:08:32 »
We had to work this out for Radio Cambridgeshire once, they were considering flying one of their presenters around the car park. I cant remember the actual figures (I'll ask Dave) but it was well over 1000 worth of helium.

The decided against it, so your licence fee is safe with them...
 

Herman Melville

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #17 on: 05/06/2009 17:11:41 »
We had to work this out for Radio Cambridgeshire once, they were considering flying one of their presenters around the car park. I cant remember the actual figures (I'll ask Dave) but it was well over 1000 worth of helium.

The decided against it, so your licence fee is safe with them...

A cat would have been a lot cheaper.
 

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Could you fly by holding lots of small helium balloons?
« Reply #17 on: 05/06/2009 17:11:41 »

 

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