How much helium do I need to put in my balloon?
The amount of helium necessary for each launch is dependent on the payload weight and the desired diameter of the balloon. The actual type of the balloon is what limits the payload weight and the possible diameter, but it does not affect the amount of helium needed. For a balloon inflation guide detailing the amount of helium necessary for each payload and diameter, click here.
How do I use the balloon inflation tube and scale?
The balloon inflation tube keeps the balloon neck open and provides a sturdy nozzle to push helium through. Using the inflation tube doesn't need to be an exact science, especially since it is designed for ease of use. Similarly the scale is there to ensure you know roughly how much lift the balloon will provide.
To read the scale, leave the balloon taped to the inflation tube and let the balloon lift both the tube and one end of the scale. The PVC tube weighs about 1 lb (), so you should read the Neck Lift (how much the inflated balloon will lift) as 1 lb plus what the scale indicates.
The greatest amount of success for most flights is when the neck lift is plus the weight of the payload. To see the inflation tube and scale in action, check out our video here: (coming soon!)
How do I inflate the balloon without using an inflation tube and scale?
Inflating large high altitude weather balloons without the use of an inflation tube is not recommended. However, for smaller balloons such as our 150g balloons ( burst diameter), a nozzle compatible with CGA-580 tank valves can be used. These can be found at most party stores and are commonly referred to as “helium tank regulator fill valves”.
I'm thinking of adding my own hardware to the payload. Is there anything I need to know before I strap my own equipment to the lunchbox/carbon fiber payload?
Yes. Modifying our kits is common for experienced ballooners, but requires knowledge of the laws regarding unmanned free balloon flight.
We strongly advise keeping payloads as light as possible (under 6 lb), and always consult the laws of your country before attempting to fly any modified payload. For those in the U.S., see the FAA's guidelines for moored balloons and unmanned free balloons here.
Another common addition to ballooning kits is radios to relay information to the ground. Please be aware of FCC regulations and the appropriate radio operator licenses needed.
My balloon popped while I was inflating it! What happened?
Our latex balloons are designed to be capable for long duration and high altitude flight. Unfortunately their ability to stretch to extreme sizes makes them much more susceptible for popping.
Some tips to avoid accidentally popping a balloon on the ground include:
- Remove any jewelry or apparel with sharp edges (glasses, rings, watches, etc.)
- Always use a tarp to cover the ground around the balloon during inflation - twigs, stones, and debris will pop balloons
- Do not inflate near trees or in highly windy conditions
Larger balloons can be especially difficult to control in windy environments. It is often handy to have addition people around to stabilize the balloons during inflation, especially for the 1200g or 2000g balloons.
My balloon landed or popped at a much lower altitude than I expected. What happened?
Balloons can pop at lower altitudes for a number of reasons. Some common causes of low altitude bursts include:
- Oil or dirt contaminating the latex balloon on the ground - touch the balloon only with clean gloves on to ensure the best performance
- Too little helium in the balloon - this can cause the balloon to become a 'floater', a balloon that flies up to a lower altitude and remains there for a long time without popping
- Too small of a balloon for the payload - the bursting altitude of a balloon depends on how much the balloon is able to expand as it rises
- Drop in temperature – if there is a major drop in the temperature, most commonly occurring for night launches, it can cause the helium to contract and the balloon to fall. Oddly enough, when daylight hits and the helium heats up, the balloons will sometimes re-launch themselves!
Our balloons are made with a uniquely customized formula and manufactured by PAWAN specifically to perform better than any other weather balloons on the market. Unfortunately with almost any modern manufacturing process there will be occasional defects. Our balloons are reliable and we test them frequently to make sure the quality is consistent.
Where can I buy helium for my balloon?
We do not sell helium or helium containers. However, for a list of recommended distributers in the U.S, as well as contact information, click here.