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ESN Eyestrain
Balloon VH-ESN
This is the 2nd balloon that I built, it was also built to attempt some records.

It is a 400m3 / 14,000 ft3 , 16 gore envelope and it is made out of a combination of Soarcoat (Pink) and Gelvenor LCN286 (Orange). The Soarcoat was left-over from a project that was started back in 1995.

This system is also very light with the envelope coming in at 14.5kg / 32 lb. I made up a double liquid-fire burner for this one which is interchangeable in the load frame for the Itty Bitty-1 the double burner and frame total just under
4.5 kg / 9 lb. This one is very responsive and a hoot to fly.

In Feb 2003 I set a fairly respectable Australian duration record of 2 hours 18 minutes in this balloon on a relatively warm (-10oC) day. On the day that I made an altitude run I chickened out when the GPS had me travelling at 100 km/hr at about 4000 feet, an Australian altitude record was recorded at 1815 meters. In Feb 2004 this balloon was used to break the Australian AX-2 - AX-5  altitude records with a flight to 3235 metres (10,615 feet). The AX-2 & AX-3  distance record was also raised to 47.237km.

In 2006, I modified the envelope to allow it to be pressurised slightly and built a single person 'airship' car to stand in underneath it. The combination worked quite well with a top forward speed of around 10 km/hr. I flew the combination to establish BX-1 category World records for distance, altitude and duration and also managed to break the existing BX-2 records at the time. My BX-2 distance and altitude records were subsequently broken but I think that I could get them again with a bit of preparation.


 

About Aviation

The most frequent last words I have heard on cockpit voice-recorder tapes are, 'Oh Shit,' said with about that much emotion. There's no panic, no scream, it's a sort of resignation: we've done everything we can, I can't think of anything else to do and this is it.


Frank McDermott, partner in McDermott Associates, specialists in cockpit voice recorders.