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IBA Itty Bitty
Balloon VH-IBA Itty Bitty

The AX-1 balloon that I built was made especially to attempt some records. It wasn't completed without its share of problems including the need to replace the complete top of the envelope because it was messed up during the sewing. (The light weight fabric wasn't very happy going through a standard seam folder.)

It is a 250m3 , 16 gore envelope made from Gelvenor LCN0065. The pattern was derived from Arnaud  Deramecourt's software. This balloon took around 60 hours in total to build including the time to cut, unpick and re-sew the top 4 panels.

The envelope weighs 8.5 kg / 18.7 lbs, the harness / basket a whooping 600 gms / 1.3 lbs and the burner and load frame 2.4kg / 5.3 lbs. The fuel tank weighs more than the rest of the aircraft!

In Feb 2003, I took it to Alaska in search of very cold temperatures but the cold never arrived and that messed up our plans somewhat. In Feb 2004 it went to  Canada for another attempt at the records but flights in the other balloons took  priority so there wasn't a serious attempt at the world records for this class.

In Alaska, it was operated under FAR103 as an Ultra-light but it now has Australian Experimental Certification and is registered as VH-IBA, a 'Griffin' model 'Itty Bitty -1'.

This balloon has been used to establish / break the Australian AX-1 Duration  and Distance records and the British AX-1 & AX-2 Duration, AX-1 Altitude and  AX-1 Distance records.


About Aviation

Instrument flying is an unnatural act probably punishable by God.

Gordon Baxter