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Basket/Gondola Construction

Wicker Basket
The traditional basket material absorbs shocks upon landing better than any other material. Wicker baskets tend to be heavy though, and many experimental balloonists don't mind losing the advantages wicker offers if they can loose its weight at the same time. Articles on Wicker construction can be found in Balloon Builders' Journal issues #17 and #18.

Aluminium Frame with Fabric Walls (aka "Boland Basket")
Developed and perfectioned by Jim Chubbuck and Brian Boland in Connecticut (USA) this construction can be folded and is very light. All the weight is carried by internal aircraft quality steel cables (usually no rigid uprights). This is the basket of choice for quite a number of builders.

Rigid Uprights
Rigid uprights make a balloon easier to operate mainly because they prevent the burner from hitting the passengers' heads upon landing. But they also make a basket heavier and clumsier.

AN-Spec. Hardware
The use of Aeronautical Specification (AN) materials for structural parts usually eases the issuance of the Special Airworthiness Certificate.

Nylon Rod
Some balloon manufacturers and homebuilders like to use nylon rods for various basket components. Notable is that nylon rod is very resilient, i.e. it springs back into its original shape after having been bent. Several experimental homebuilders have used nylon rod to construct rigid uprights for their baskets. (NB: Steel cable is still employed as the structural component bearing the weight.) Other homebuilders do not like the idea of nylon rod, because it is still significantly heavier than aircraft grade steel cables only.

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!

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