You've just landed on the solar balloon central of the Web.
- What is a solar balloon?
A solar balloon is any type of hot air balloon that is heated by the sun.
- How do they work?
Solar balloons are dark in color - almost always black - and this dark color easily absorbs energy from the sun, which heats the balloon surface. Air inside the balloon is heated by the surface of the balloon, and the hot air rises to lift the balloon skyward.
- What are they made of?
Most typically, they are made of a thin plastic sheeting - the same stuff garbage bags are made from. Because of this, you can make a working solar balloon using thin, black, cheap trash bags.
- How big are they?
Solar balloons have been made as small as 3.5 feet tall and as large as over 60 feet tall. They can also be made in a variety of shapes - cylindrical, tetrahedral, rectangular, traditional hot air balloon shape, or even special shapes.
- How high can they fly?
Solar balloons have been recorded at altitudes up to about 50,000 feet. Maximum altitude depends on the size of the balloon and its payload, but most solar balloons will fly at least into the jet stream and often higher.
- How far can they fly?
As long as the sun is out, they will fly. If they reach into or above the jet stream, they will pick up incredible speeds and fly several hundred miles in a day before cooling down and descending around sunset.
- When will solar balloons not fly?
Cloudy weather, windy weather, and very hot weather in some climates. Since they must be significantly warmer than the surrounding air to fly, they won't usually lift off when the sun is obstructed or the wind is strong enough to cool off and even deflate the balloon. Sometimes, if the weather is too hot, they will have trouble flying because of less temperature difference between the inside and outside of the balloon. Hot weather flights are usually possible though, especially for larger balloons.
Check out the menu on the left, or use these quick links to start surfing around the website.
This eBook is packed with information on solar balloons. Learn all about how they work,
how to get the right materials, and how to make many different balloons.
Included in this eBook are instructions that will teach you in detail how to build
many different balloons, including
the full fleet of tetroons from 5 to 13 feet and beyond, the EZ Tubes, the standard-shaped
balloon, regular tubes, and even the Solar UFO!
Learn about the best weather conditions and times of year to fly, how to fly your own balloon hundreds
of miles, how to take aerial photography, and much more. Many questions you may ask are all
answered in this eBook.
List of solar balloons I released, with "if found" tags, that were found after landing. Arranged in order by total distance traveled.
10-foot tetroon broke 700!
I'm a little late in getting the word out, but now the video is done and I am announcing my
longest flight yet...A 10-foot tetroon flew 780 miles in less than 6 hours!
I've confirmed the sender's IP address so this is not a hoax. The balloon was found near
Quinby, Virginia the day after the release.
This particular 10-foot tetroon was over a year and a half old when I released it. As you can see,
it has many patches and some small holes and has been my aerial photography balloon since I built it
in the early spring of 2006.
When I built the 13 foot tetroon, I decided I should get rid of my old
beat-up balloon - and of course, I got a tag ready and turned the old tetroon into the sky.
You can make and fly your own balloon this far! Here are a few links to help you get started.
Yes, a 5-foot tetroon has flown 500 miles, in just 7 hours! It was released in the morning so
it had lots of time to fly. The previous record (230 miles to North Carolina) only had 4 hours
of travel time. This one flew more than twice as far in less than twice as much time! Watch the video to see the
Out of state! 5-foot tetroon makes amazing 230-mile flight in less than 4 hours
February 4, 2007: Another 5-foot tetroon was released around 1:30 PM CST. Two days
later it was found in a creek bed under a canopy of trees! The balloon probably
washed a short distance downstream before it was found on February 6th, in Hayesville,
This is my first out-of-state flight ever that has been recorded. From the time the
balloon was released to the time the sun set was less than 4 hours. The balloon was
traveling at over 60 mph!
On December 27, 2006, I released two 5-foot tall tetroons. Each one had a card attached
to it displaying my Web site address and where/when it was released. That
evening I got a return from one of them. It had flown approximately 40 miles northeast
of the launch site before landing in a pond.
Three days later, I released another tetroon. After the sun had set and I was sure the
balloon had landed, I checked my email.
Sure enough, someone had found my balloon. But as I read the message, I learned
that it was the other balloon I had released 3 days beforeand it was over 170 miles away ...
Convert microns (µm) to Mils (0.001 inch) or vice versa. Just enter the number in the field
and it automatically calculates.
Found a balloon?
Have you found a balloon with a tag that led you to this site? If so,
please let me know here.
You do not have to provide your email address (although I would like to get in touch with anyone who finds one of my balloons).
You will never recieve spam from Solar-Balloons.com.