Keith Sproul's 48K "LimeLight" - First Test Inflation, East Brunswick, NJ - 12/18/02

What follows here is a culmination of a few months of balloon work for Keith, and a day of non-stop, sweatshop action by yours truly (and Keith did a little when he got home from work, too). I worked from 3PM all through the night till 6:30AM the morning of this first inflation (thankfully, Keith got some sleep), and we managed to get everything done just in time for sunrise. A Photo Finish indeed!

Bob Mueller, Mark Sproul and Brian Boccardi also joined in to help with this momentous occasion (a roaring fiasco!), and here's the incriminating evidence. Photos with "Img_XXXX.jpg" filenames are courtesy of Bob Mueller.

First frozen dirt on the nomex

First crown line

First steps inside

The top tapes are in place securely, but intentionally left long in case we needed to make any changes.

Mark gives it a good look

Inflation continues

Perfect seams all around

16 gores, 48,000 cubic feet, 12.5-foot parachute

The pilot briefing

Checking out the parachute from the inside... Nice fit!

Turning vent from the outside

Mark acting as PIC for now

Turning vents, before tying the lines in

1.7 oz green urethane nylon, 1.9 oz yellow with silicone coating

Sunlight through Nomex

Deflating to add the vent lines

"Pilot Summit" at the "Apex"

Vent line surgery

I ain't no Boy Scout, but I know a knot or two.

Mark at the helm again

Voila! Now, we have turning vents! Now, let's see how they work.

Protagonist Keith. BTW, where's Bob??? (off taking these pictures)

Every plot needs an evil villain... In most cases, it's usually me.

Brian, smiling inside but too cold to show it.

Aurora Basket

Vent in use

Snug fit of the turning vents

In Use... They work!

"Natural Shape"... a.k.a.
"Smalley design"... a.k.a.
"Sigma Zero"

Not bad for a first-ever attempt!

The money shot

The patented "Stupid Vent" (1 / 4)

(2 / 4)

(3 / 4)

(4 / 4)

It really lets air out, but it doesn't quite know how to reseat itself yet.