instead of lifeboat, how about Helium balloon?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Squidly-Diddly, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I figure it would have a few advantages(in certain situations).

    1)if you are able to launch it in a storm, once you get up in the air it should be 'smooth sailing' as you will have ZeroAirspeed. I believe most "bumpy air" results from the airliner traveling through zones at 500MPH.

    2)A balloon with a few radar reflecting strips should be easier for Search and Rescue to find. I believe airliner's radar would pick it up once you get to about 10,000ft.

    3)You would have the OPTION of getting blow in the Right Direction, or putting down on the surface and deploying a sea anchor(or staying 100' up and deploying sea anchor.

    4)Sharks don't fly.

    5)the big bottle of Helium could double as Fire Suppression.
  2. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    In this I disagree some... it can be very bumpy below 50MPH too.. been there.. hitting my head ;) How about a sub instead?
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    That would be a great way to escape a sinking boat, but I'm afraid the part I quoted above would prevent you from being able to use it.
  4. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Ahhh, Squidy...first step into the fresh air and take a few deep breaths until you no longer sound like Donald Duck...;).

    Have you calculated how many SCF of Helium you would need to lift 1 person in a lawn chair...and how much the gas flasks or cryro tanks will weigh and volume they would take up and how much it would cost with a minimal bleed loss? And compared that to the cost, weight and space of a lifeboat? A few minutes of googling should turn most of that up.
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Sounds nice, as so many things..........

    If there is some wind, strong wind, the balloon will make its way, but without you, and in parts and pieces.
  6. wardd
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    wardd Senior Member

    Sure, and 5,000 of those things all over to hell and back from a cruise ship
  7. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Perhaps a tiny bit off topic.... but it's worth mentioning that helium as a lifting gas may not be a viable option for much longer. It's getting to be in rather scarce supply, and the scientific community is starting to get very scared about helium shortages and price hikes as the US reserves are rapidly being emptied at fire-sale prices. (He-3 is already getting hard to find, and the more common He-4 is reportedly heading for a major supply crisis by 2020.)
  8. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Baloons and storms don't go well together.
    It would be such an unsafe way of escaping a boat in the storm that I'd rather remain grasped to a capsized boat, if I had to choose between the two. ;)
  9. ecflyer
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    ecflyer Junior Member

    Balloons---I don't think so!

    I am a commercial pilot and you couldn't get me in a balloon even in good weather. In a bad storm, I would rather drown in a dingy than be subject to the violent air of a storm. You think seas get rough----well the air is 10 times worse. A 5000 ft/minute down draft will slam a balloon into the sea in a New York minute. And now you know the rest of the story as Walter Cronkite would say!

    Have a Great Day!
    1 person likes this.
  10. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Rather than all the cost, weight and risk associated with getting off your boat into some dubious alternative you should put the resources into making your boat as seaworthy and as durable as possible. Then so long as you navigate with prudence you get to keep your life and your boat.
  11. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    it seems to me trying to stay alive in helium balloon in a bad storm would be questionable, and you could not control where you go. you could deploy it 3 miles from the California cost and end up many months (long after you food and water gave out) later in Australia. What about lightning? Get a leak in it and you now are far worse off than staying with the wreck.

    This seems like a VERY bad idea to me. How about a life raft that inflates into a sphere filled with air, and the people safe in a pod suspended inside of it?
  12. HardWare
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    HardWare New Member

    Awesome ideas can also be horrible ones.

    If you wanted something safe you'd best be under the surface.
    A small submarine that could jettison from the vessel and dive below rough seas with a radio beacon buoy tethered to it. With several hours of air onboard you could ride out severe storms and then surface.

    Although, I'd prefer making a boat obscenely strong so I'd never need a lifeboat.
  13. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Air is approx 1.2kg/m3 while Helium is 0.2?

    So you need 100m3 per crew + some for the gear?

    Or a balloon with 3m radius(!) for one crew?

    Not so bad?
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  14. Scott Carter
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    Scott Carter Senior Member

    Flying sharks do.

  15. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

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