||The Reference on Airships
Burners and Fuel System
- Homebuilt Burner
- Some people have designed their own burners. However, it is easier, safer
and more efficient to buy a well engineered commercial model. In general,
older models are lighter, but they also offer less technical gadgets than
the latest models. The mission profile of a balloon is one of the important
factors in the choice of a burner. Light weight (i.e. an older burner) is often
preferred to fancy functions like piezo ignition and multiple redundant
systems (i.e. a newer burner).
- The Balloon Works
(now FireFly Balloons)
- TBW manufactures relatively lightweight burners. The discontinued
T3-017 weighs only 10.5 lb. and in the United States is still easily
available from second hand sources. The T3 has a pencil sharp flame, a
very high heat output, and it has proven itself in experimental balloons.
Brian Boland uses this burner in all of his designs, as the story goes
because he bought up the whole supply of T3 burners from TBW when they
switched to a new model. The newer Mirage burner is an improved
version but is apparently also heavier. I have not seen the Mirage burner
used in any homebuilt balloons.
- A scaled-down version of their JetStream burner was developed for the
that seems reasonably light. It incorporates Lindstrand's monobloc valve
system and features both a main and backup burner nozzle that is controlled
by a single trigger valve. A turning knob is used to switch continuously
between the two burning modes.
- Thunder & Colt
- A version of the Stratus burner without windshield is used on the Cloud
Hopper. It should be relatively light and incorporates both a main jet and
whisper unit. In addition, it seems that the burner used in the original
Cloudhopper has been significantly improved for the new Cloudhopper that was
ingeniously re-designed from ground up in 1997?.
- A lightened version of the Ultra burner seems to have been used
in Cameron's older SkyHopper solo balloon system. I assume that it is
reasonably light. For 1998, Cameron has dropped its own design and is
selling a re-branded version of the Thunder & Colt Cloudhopper.
- Steel Tanks
- Propane tanks made of steel are still widely used despite their heavy
weight. The reason is that in the event of a fire a steel tank will explode
later than its aluminum equivalent, or not at all, because the melting point
of steel is higher than that of aluminum.
- Worthington Tanks
- 10 gal. propane tanks made of aluminium; lighter than steel tanks; especially
appropriate for FAR 103 Ultralight balloons.
- Titanium Tanks
- If you are looking for the ultimate lightweight tank, titanium is the
way to go. Both Cameron and Lindstrand offer certified models; imports
from Russia are cheaper but not certified.
- Remote Burner Valve
- Some builders have thought about using magnetic or other remotely operated
burner valves. (I know of no currently operational setups.) Remote control of
the blast valve (usually by foot) is especially advantageous for
hot air airships
since both hands are used for steering.
|Warning! Materials and ideas listed here are in part unproven
and may be hazardous to use in the construction of experimental hot air
balloons and airships. Building and flying experimental aircraft
involves significant risk and may lead to serious injury or death.
Always obtain professional advice when building or flying human-carrying
balloons and airships!