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THE SPIRIT OF BLIMP

This is my radio controlled Blimp I built from scratch

blimp1

Technical specifications:

Length:   3.30 meters
Diameter:   0.8 m
Height:  1 m
Weight empty   1.400 kg
Volume:   1.2 cub.m = 1200 liters

I made this when I was 20 , and I must say it is one of the coolest thing I built so far. I can amaze anyone with it :-) because it is something so special. I figure there are not very many radio controlled blimps in the world, and so it becomes a rarity, even though there are some finished ones for sale. The only big problem is that I have to fly in a big hangar, because it is too light to fly against the wind , and the other problem is to get the envelope airtight, there is always some helium leaking, well at least that way it will come back down again. I tried to copy the skyship models with the pivoting engine nacelles so I can take-off and land vertically, and have more maneuverability. The old Zeppelins fly like a plane, they have to move forward to go up or down, but they both float when at zero speed. Both nacelles turn individually, but the motors only run together, the same way and only forward, so I have to turn the nacelles backwards to brake.

The nacelles turn about 3/4 turn

nacells front

the most coolest thing about flying a blimp is that it doesn't make any noise once the motors are off, it just floats there

I used electric motors with 6x 800mAh Batteries and that way I flew 30 minutes, I designed to use 1700mAh Batteries but I didn't have enough gas to fill up the envelope completely so I had to use the lighter batteries. So far I only flew once. I didn't have the nerve to fly at the Paris model exposition I was invited to this spring. I would like to fly in a basketball hall before a game or so , as a publicity gag but who would want to pay me? And first I would have to make an appropriate blimp to carry banners and so.

oh yeah there are lights inside the envelope that shine through, but it has to be really dark. I made a light scroll to paste on the outside and some super bright spots, I will try them at the exposition.

R/C controls:

-motor rpm speed

-ailerons, one mini servo in each, controlled individually but mixed to go up and down, left and right, just like the v-tails on a plane.

-nacelles turn individually controlled by one miniservo each over gears. they turn about 250. The nacelles can also turn in such a way that both motors blow in opposite directions. I moved them further apart now so that the blimp can turn on the spot( I hope), because before the lever arm was too small, and the motors couldn't do it. the nacelles are mixed so I can control them with one stick.

blimp2

the envelope is made out of super thin aluminum coated plastic which is usually used as thermal protection covers in first aid kits.( I used four of them) It is the lightest plastic film I could find, and it is metal coated which reduces the gas leakage through the material. the film weighs about 17gr/sq.meter. The dumb thing about it is that there is no glue that sticks to it.!, And I mean none!! I know it because I tried them all. It is the super smooth aluminum side that doesn't stick, the other side is OK (or does anybody know a glue that stays flexible and can glue polished aluminum to plastic???) So I used tape inside and outside and in between I used some Industrial rubber glue to fill out some holes, it sort of sticks .Next time I'm going to try some silicone. (oh boy did that glue ever make me high, even with a gasmask)

blimp3

The whole thing is rather cheap, it only cost me about 1200 Lux francs (just the material) .It is the gas that makes it expensive, because you lose it all after flying.

I like Blimps, and I certainly hope they become more popular soon, just look at the Zeppelin NT project, it is about ready to fly, in spring 98 was the maiden flight I think. Or check out the cargolifter project.

Luxembourg used to be one of the main stops for the European Goodyear Blimp, until they took it apart for spare pieces. That was always so cool when the blimp flew over my house.

(This was the page that started me on WebPages )

Also check out Blimps In Luxembourg

Download the 15s divx avi film of the maiden voyage 600k