A solar balloon is a hot air balloon that is heated entirely by the sun.
No flame or other external heat source is needed - the balloon gets its heat from
the black material which it is made from. Dark colors absorb heat, so the black
surface of a solar balloon absorbs heat from the sun, which heats the air inside
the balloon. Thus, they can fly all day, without re-heating or re-inflating, as long as the sun is out.
Solar balloons don't get as hot as fire-heated hot air balloons, but they can be, as some are, made
large enough to lift a human plus ballast. This site, however, focuses on smaller-scale balloons - ones
that can be made from black trash bags and tape. A simple, 5-foot tall balloon can
be made with only four trash bags. When released, it can fly over 500 miles in one day!
To make solar balloons, you can use 30-gallon black trash bags. It is very important that they are thin enough, or the balloon will be
too heavy to fly. The best thickness for solar balloons is 0.5 mil or thinner. (One mil = 1/1000 inch.)
Many people who have visited this site couldn't find trash bags that were thin enough; they are often hard to find. Before you go
hunting for super-thin trash bags, consider buying a solar balloon right here on this site.
We manufacture and sell hand-made solar balloons, from 5 to 13 feet tall, with lifting capacities from 1 ounce to nearly
2 pounds! Scroll down to order or go here for more info on shipping, money orders, and more.
Order your solar ballons right here or go to the main store for more info on shipping, money orders and more.
Buy online via PayPal. We ship via USPS Priority Mail for USA orders and USPS First Class International (airmail) for international orders.
Solar balloon returns
List of solar balloons I released, with "if found" tags, that were found after landing. Arranged in order by total distance traveled.
10-foot tetroon broke 700!
I'm a little late in getting the word out, but now the video is done and I am announcing my
longest flight yet...A 10-foot tetroon flew 780 miles in less than 6 hours!
I've confirmed the sender's IP address so this is not a hoax. The balloon was found near
Quinby, Virginia the day after the release.
This particular 10-foot tetroon was over a year and a half old when I released it. As you can see,
it has many patches and some small holes and has been my aerial photography balloon since I built it
in the early spring of 2006.
When I built the 13 foot tetroon, I decided I should get rid of my old
beat-up balloon - and of course, I got a tag ready and turned the old tetroon into the sky.
You can make and fly your own balloon this far! Here are a few links to help you get started.
Yes, a 5-foot tetroon has flown 500 miles, in just 7 hours! It was released in the morning so
it had lots of time to fly. The previous record (230 miles to North Carolina) only had 4 hours
of travel time. This one flew more than twice as far in less than twice as much time! Watch the video to see the
Out of state! 5-foot tetroon makes amazing 230-mile flight in less than 4 hours
February 4, 2007: Another 5-foot tetroon was released around 1:30 PM CST. Two days
later it was found in a creek bed under a canopy of trees! The balloon probably
washed a short distance downstream before it was found on February 6th, in Hayesville,
This is my first out-of-state flight ever that has been recorded. From the time the
balloon was released to the time the sun set was less than 4 hours. The balloon was
traveling at over 60 mph!
On December 27, 2006, I released two 5-foot tall tetroons. Each one had a card attached
to it displaying my Web site address and where/when it was released. That
evening I got a return from one of them. It had flown approximately 40 miles northeast
of the launch site before landing in a pond.
Three days later, I released another tetroon. After the sun had set and I was sure the
balloon had landed, I checked my email.
Sure enough, someone had found my balloon. But as I read the message, I learned
that it was the other balloon I had released 3 days beforeand it was over 170 miles away ...
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Found a balloon?
Have you found a balloon with a tag that led you to this site? If so,
please let me know here.
You do not have to provide your email address (although I would like to get in touch with anyone who finds one of my balloons).
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