Monday, March 29, 2010

Miniature hot air balloon

Balloon BasketI like to think that there aren't many model making hobbies I haven't seen, but sometimes (and I know this is hard to believe) I'm wrong. On Saturday I saw something that was completely new to me yet has apparently been taking place for many years.

Miniature hot air ballooning.

The husband and wife demonstrating this couldn't actually inflate the balloon, or envelope as we must correctly call it, but did give some impressive demos of the radio controlled burner system that makes the thing fly. Someone suggested that had we known, some sausages could have been cooked very quickly on the 3 foot high gas jets.

The whole unit was bought in from the makers in Germany and will cost an eye-watering £3000. For a third of that you get a one man, or one teddy bear, single seat and burner version which is just as flyable. Don't worry, the bears are unharmed and apparently enjoy the experience.

The unit works in the same way as a real balloon and the owners should know as they fly full sized versions and regaled us with tales of landings where they shouldn't have. In fact they have flown the model from the real one which must make for an interesting pairing sight. Normally though the miniature is demonstrated on the end of an extending dog lead.

Finally, just when you didn't think there could be any more fun, the basket incorporates a mechanism for dropping markers over the side. This is used in competition flying where the idea is to hit targets marked on the ground.

Photos of inflated model balloons here.

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