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Balloon Builders' Journal

Note: As of July 2005, BBJ is available on CD-ROM. Even though BBJ is no longer available in print, Bob LeDoux has re-published every back-issue of BBJ on CD-ROM, including some additional material. You can purchase the CD-ROM via Bob LeDoux's website.

The Balloon Builders' Journal is a technical newsletter dedicated to the exchange of ideas between builders and pilots of experimental sport balloons that was published five times per year between 1993 and 1999. The Bob LeDoux started the Journal when he was struck by the lack of information about balloon building and the absence of communication between balloon builders. LeDoux transitioned from amateur sailplane construction, which has an ample information base, to balloon construction for which very little is written. When LeDoux started his first envelope construction project in 1986, most of his information was gathered from the repair manuals issued by various balloon factories. The Balloon Builders' Journal was introduced to fill that informational void and to help ensure that reasonable minimum safety standards are shared among experimental enthusiasts.

Past issues of the Balloon Builders' Journal have covered a wide range of topics. Subjects have included ammonia gas ballooning, the design of custom envelopes, reports on individual building projects, design and building of replacement envelopes, construction of a custom burner system, homebuilt special shapes, lightweight balloons, the design of low cost, low effort systems, as well as ultralight aircraft. Finally, a report on the EBAA's annual Experimental Balloon and Airship Meet has been included every year since the event's origination in 1994, describing new creations and innovative ideas presented there.

The Balloon Builders' Journal was published by Bob LeDoux five or six times per year for approximately five years until 1999. As of early 1999, Bob LeDoux decided to cease publication of BBJ with Issue No. 28 in order to dedicate more time to his family and flying. An effort is under way to re-publish back issues online at the Balloon Building Homepage.

Warning! Materials and ideas listed here are in part unproven and may be hazardous to use in the construction and operation 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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