Following on from our earlier post, people have been asking how a hot air balloon is constructed.
The fabric part of the balloon is called the envelope. The envelope is, in simple terms, a very strong spider’s web. This is the framework which is under, and joins together, the panels of special nylon material that make up the envelope. All of the strength to support the basket when the balloon is in flight is carried by the spiders web and the material literally holds the hot air inside.
Here you can see the final version of the production sheet which is a one-dimensional representation of the envelope. There are 24 vertical panel rows and 15 horizontal panel rows. All this means a lot of very careful cutting of the material to the exact sizes and then lots of needlework to stitch the panels together to form the envelope. Even with modern technology it’s still a very labour intensive and time consuming process. Generally it takes around 12 weeks to build an average size balloon envelope.
If you see us at an event, come and take a closer look to see what exactly is inside the envelope.