May 19, 2017

Be a balloon maker

The Hot Air Balloon Book: Build and Launch Kongming Lanterns, Solar Tetroons, and More
by Clive Catterall

Inventor and author Clive Catterall provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for making eight different hot air balloons out of trash bags, wire, tissue paper, tea candles, cotton balls, and cardboard. Since open flames are often appropriate for many of the balloons, important safety guidelines preface the launching directions.

The how-to parts of the book seem easy enough, if done with care and in a space large enough to accommodate oversized trash bags. After all, the larger the balloon, the better it flies! Catterall explains why this is so, as well as the science behind lift and flight. He even shows you how to make a solar power meter and a balloon that measures air density. The book begins with an interesting history of ballooning and its uses. 

Catterall's writing can be a bit dry, but those who are into math and physics will find it very adequate. A good book for any aspiring maker.

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