Airship and Blimp Resources 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 ultralight Cloudhopper 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!

[5 Years of Airships and Blimps]
 - About
 - Contact
 - Map/Search
 - Airship FAQ
 - News
 - Hot Airships
 - Solo Balloons
 - Homebuilding
 - RC Blimps
 - Directory
 - Manufacturers
 - Organizations
 - References
 - Links


[Airship Resources]

Copyright © 1995-2003 by Roland Escher - All Rights Reserved.