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Aerostat 0803indd


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									                                                                               The Voyager and
                                                                               the Alkro Bylight
                                                                               (the what?)
                                                                                                                    by Glen Everett

                                                                                                                                                             Captions for
                                                                                                                                                             pics on the

The guaranteed way to ensure
you have a full crew is prepare to
go ballooning without any…
    So off we went trailerless;
with the envelope in the boot,
Voyager basket on the specially-
                                        in use and due to the slightly
                                        lighter all-up weight of pilot and
                                        one passenger and two tanks
                                        (approx 120kg less than usual
                                        take-off weight), no practical
                                        power output difference was
                                                                               prevent potential ankle/foot
                                                                               injury to us.
                                                                                   We flew with two standard
                                                                               60-litre tanks. Two tall 60s
                                                                               would fit better widthwards,
                                                                               but the tank rim of these would
                                                                                                                        It’s a great piece of kit, even
                                                                                                                    for everyday ballooning, and it
                                                                                                                    doesn’t take up much space in
                                                                                                                    the garage either. Due to the
                                                                                                                    cut-down burner and slightly
                                                                                                                    padded corduroy sides it’s not
                                                                                                                                                          at night, and can be legally be driven on
                                                                                                                                                          a car licence with no CBT motorcycle
                                                                                                                                                          requirements, as it has pedals, and can
                                                                                                                                                          be also ridden as a bicycle.
                                                                                                                                                              The fuel tank is actually the inside of
                                                                                                                                                          the frame, but it is totally sealed wih a
built tray on the back of the           noticeable between the Sky or          protrude 1cm above the height        for on-the-limit flying; however,     manual bleed screw to let air in but which
Discovery (see last issue) and          Magnum burners normally used           of the basket rim. I would pre-      if you seek travelling or inde-       can be shut for transportation, so there are
crewless; the Alkro Bylight in a        under this envelope and, to be         fer that to strapping extra tanks    pendence, or if lifting heavy gear    no leaks should you turn it upside down
holdall, only to find lots of willing   honest, I was more impressed           on the outside of the basket.        is not for you, then this is.         — as long as you remember to run the
crew on the launch site! How-           than I thought I would be from         Worthingtons fit better, but my          Our crew for the flight was       carburettor dry. On the shopping list is a
ever in the spirit of adventure we      the diminutive burner. As there        opinion is you can never fly         our Alkro Bylight — a folding         decent leather-bottomed bag to prevent
carried on with Plan A.                 are two hoses, the main and            with too much gas, especially        moped, no less. It weighs 22kg        the hot exhaust burning a hole in it!
    The Cameron Voyager is              the whisper burners can be             pre-harvest time! As the basket      and folds into a holdall about            It was a few hundred pounds to buy,
a collapsible basket that folds         used at the same time from             rim slides up the basket wires,      2x2x1ft. We strapped it outside       £15 a year to tax and £100 to insure.
down to 480mm high, 1010mm              alternate fuel supplies for any        the better solution might be to      the basket to the rim of the Voy-     Amazingly (scarily!) enough it does
long and 750mm wide. The bot-           double burn sit u a tions. My          lengthen the poles holding up        ager, which means you need            30mph, which proved fast enough after
tom quarter is made of tradi-           only complaint would be that           the sides by 3cm and shorten         turning vents on the envelope         a long flight to get back to the car left
tional wicker with the rest being       he burner controls and pilot           the burner poles by the same         to ensure you don’t land on it.       on the launch field and return with it to
zip-up, lightly padded cordura          lights are smaller and more fid-       amount.                              However, it is small enough to        find our editor had just finished packing
sides. Power is provided by a           dly to operate with gloves than            Pockets sewn on the inside of    easily fit inside any conventional    the balloon away… How much better
‘single that thinks it a double’        the chunky no nonsense handles         the cordura basket sides would       wicker basket should you not          can you get?!
that has been cut down in size          I personally prefer.                   be an improvement as the bas-        have turning vents. The saddle            Where can you get one? Well, when
to save weight and room. The                It all goes together very ingen-   ket is tall but not spacious, and    and handlebars are removed            we were looking they were as rare as
basket and burner together are          iously and is well thought out and     bending down to get anything         by flipping cam levers, and the       hen’s teeth, ours being chassis 69 (made in
17kg lighter than our conven-           constructed, even to the burner        out of a bag can be difficult with   chassis folds in half with a lever    Italy, sold around Europe and now out of
tional basket. However this was         which can be independently re-         two on board, although it does       and a thumbscrew.                     production) although the retired caravan-
offset by taking our ‘crew’ with        moved from the burner frame by         ensure a snug fit for landing.           It’s driven by a 48cc two-        ner we bought ours from has one other
us strapped to the outside.             removing two pins. The wicker          As a matter of interest, under       stroke engine via a centrifugal       for sale. We’ve only found one current
    Due to the reduction in the         floor has basket runners inside as     a 200-hour T&C77A at 26˚C it         clutch and a gear on the rear rim     manufacturer of folding mopeds and
number of coils, the main burner        well as underneath, so we used         used 10 litres to inflate and 60     of the decent sized wheels. You       that’s di Blaisi, who sell their smart but
is noticeably more noisy than           some cushion floor to seat the         l/h. I would guess its ideal size    just twist the throttle and go… It    10kg heavier (30kg) version for around
its grown-up cousins; however,          tanks without wobbles and to           envelope is a 65.                    has lights and so can be driven       £1000; see <www.diblasi.com>.

16    AEROSTAT      •   AUGUST 2003                                                                                                                                                                      AUGUST 2003   •   AEROSTAT   17

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