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Thunder & Colt

Thunder & Colt was bought by Cameron Balloons in 1995. At that time, the T&C factory in Shropshire was not profitable and production was moved to the Cameron factory in Bristol. T&C now operates as a separate division with its own sales and engineering staff, promotion, and model range. Despite the change in ownership, Thunder & Colt continues to lead a separate existence as an independent balloon manufacturer and has kept producing some of the finest hot air vehicles on the market.

Thunder & Colt was the first company to build a pressurized Hot Air Airship. From the very beginning their designs were well thought out. The four designs currently available are the AS-105 Mk II (105,000 cu. ft.), AS-120 Mk II (120,000 cu. ft.) and the AS-80 GD and AS-105 GD which were developed by GEFA-FLUG in Germany. ("GD" stands for "German Design".) Thunder & Colt also developed the largest hot air airship in the world, the AS-261, to drop an observation platform in the canopy of tropical rainforests. In 1993 the ship was fitted with a larger replacement envelope manufactured by Lindstrand Balloons and has since been known as the AS-300. The main advantage of Thunder & Colt's current airship line is that all models feature internal catenary curtains for load suspension like real helium airships. This improves the aerodynamic shape and stability of the envelope.


A T&C AS 105 Mk II hot air airship at the 1996 Worlds in Italy.

At the 1996 Hot Air Airship World Championships in Aosta, Italy, the first three places were won by Thunder & Colt airships with the fourth place being held by a GEFA-FLUG AS 80 GD which features a standard T&C gondola and is also built at the T&C factory in Bristol, England.

T&C also produced the GA-42 non-rigid helium airship which was capable of carrying two people and featured state of the art fly by wire controls. The rights to the GA-42 design were acquired by the American Blimp Corporation when T&C was acquired by Cameron in 1995.

For more information about Thunder & Colt thermal airships and hot air balloons please visit the official Thunder & Colt Ltd. website or contact Thunder & Colt directly.

Technical Data for Thunder & Colt Airships
AS-80 MkII AS-105 MkII AS-120 MkII
Length overall 31.0 m (101 ft 8.5 in) 34.0 m (111 ft 6.5 in) 35.5 m (116 ft)
Max. diameter 12.40 m (40 ft 8.25 in) 13.87 m (45 ft 6 in) 13 m (43 ft)
Volume 2,123.8 m3 (80,000 cu ft) 2,973.3 m3 (105,000 cu ft) 3,400 m3 (120,000 cu ft)
Max. speed 37 km/h (23 mph) 37 km/h (23 mph) ?
Endurance 2 h 30 min 2 h 30 min ?
Data Sheet for GD-Series Airships see GEFA-FLUG.

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