FlyDOO may be to balloons what ultralights are to airplanes
For many of us earthbound types, hot air ballooning can be quite intimidating. Italian aviation entrepreneur Leandro Corradini is trying to make it less so, with his relatively simple and compact FlyDOO Light Sport Balloon system.
FlyDOO consists of four main parts – the envelope, basket, burner and vectored thrust unit (VTU) – all of which can reportedly be transported in a car and stored in an apartment.
Known as the WeDOO1600, the envelope is claimed to be the world's lightest of its size, along with the most compact when folded (it can be carried in an included backpack). Designed to lift the weight of two passengers when it's filled with hot air, it tips the scales at 34 kg (75 lb) and is made from an existing ripstop material by the name of Skytex.
The 45-kg (99-lb) two-person ECO XL basket features a folding titanium frame, a nylon skin, and four walls plus a non-slip floor that are composed of a lightweight honeycomb sandwich composite material. It contains pockets for various accessories, is capable of carrying up to four gas tanks along with passengers, can reportedly be assembled onsite by one person in 5 to 10 minutes, and can even have wheels put on it and then towed behind a bicycle.
The PockJET burner is said to be the world's smallest and lightest, weighing in at less than 7 kg (15 lb) with two fuel hoses. It can be quickly disconnected from the frame via a spring-assisted mounting system.
Finally, there's the VTU. Described by Corradini as a "gamechanger device," it's basically a battery-powered propeller mounted on the side of the basket. The pilot can point it in different directions like a rudder, both to pivot the balloon on the spot, and to steer it horizontally through the air. Intended to only be used when needed, it weighs 25 kg (55 lb) including the battery pack.
It's demonstrated in the video at the bottom of the page.
Plans call for FlyDOO to be the subject of an upcoming Kickstarter campaign, which interested parties can access via the link below once it launches. Leandro tells us that the complete system should sell for €30,000 (US$35,000).