Energy & Sustainability Science
How many balloons does it take to lift a person?

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Jim writes – “I just wanted to let you know I uploaded a video that almost everyone will find interesting. Have you ever wondered how many helium balloons it would take to lift a human being off the ground? We did it, and the video is the story of what happened. I think almost every human being has wondered at some point in their life what it would be like to be lifted in the air by helium balloons…” Link.

20 thoughts on “How many balloons does it take to lift a person?

  1. this is a real disappointment… maybe they had never heard of cluster ballooning??? (see http://www.clusterballoon.org/). seems strange they would put so much effort into “curiosity” but then not do any research to find out what had already been done in this area, and is being done quite a lot — and to much much greater heights, check out the photos in the clouds — but just chuck huge amounts of money and lots of people’s time into something so anticlimactic. maybe 20 feet off the ground…?

  2. Ravinss: Mythbusters did it, but only managed to lift a five year old a few feet off the ground. Larry did it too, but with huge ugly weather balloons. We did it with party balloons and got an adult a lot higher than 5 feet.

    Chundlebundle: I actually hadn’t heard of cluster ballooning until now! Your link gave me a 404 error, so I found another one:

    http://www.clusterballoon.org/intro/intro.html

    Those balloons are really huge though. Our balloons were 36″. You have an exponentially greater amount of lift with those larger balloons, as you can see they can go higher with fewer balloons. These people in the video also had no idea what they were going to be doing that day, and had never been involved in cluster ballooning. They built everything, including the harness, from scratch.

    Jim

    http://www.humanbeingcurious.com

  3. A childrens’ TV programme in Germany did this some years ago. A large crew of helpers needed many hours to fill hundreds of normal-sized kids’ balloons but they eventually managed to get a guy aloft.

  4. WOW!!! That is so interesting!!!

    I continue to dream of doing that! It would be so much fun floating weightless off the ground with a bunch of those giant balloons! I also want to try doing it with weather balloons too! I understand that I would have to get a FAA certificate degree and become a pilot first then I would do it being tetherless but thats good to keep the person from floating away! I have learned what cluster ballooning is all about when I went to http://www.clusterballoon.org nearly 5 years ago! Thats a very interesting story and a moment to remember! Have fun and I hope you do that again sometime in the future! Keep it real and good luck!

    Your friend,
    Will

  5. WOW!!! That is so interesting!!!

    I continue to dream of doing that! It would be so much fun floating weightless off the ground with a bunch of those giant balloons! I also want to try doing it with weather balloons too! I understand that I would have to get a FAA certificate degree and become a pilot first then I would do it being tetherless but thats good to keep the person from floating away! I have learned what cluster ballooning is all about when I went to http://www.clusterballoon.org nearly 5 years ago! Thats a very interesting story and a moment to remember! Have fun and I hope you do that again sometime in the future! Keep it real and good luck!

    Your friend,
    Will

  6. What a mindless waste. Those balloons could have made so many children happy – they could have gone to creches or kindergardens – better yet, they could have cheered up youngsters confined to hospital. As for kids in hospices… they will never see such lovely things. Shame on you! {O LORD these are a decadent people: smite them with Thy curse!}

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