Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All In

All In -- meaning that all of my energy, mental and physical, all of my resources, financial and personal, are in the project now. I'm working at a high level of intensity, building lists and then knocking them down one item at a time. In the coming year I'll bring the suit to flight-worthy status, earn my balloon pilot license, and build the gondola, replacing all of the wood of the mockup with aircraft aluminum.

Above, the newly-reconfigured cockpit: suit pressurization gas and breathing gas are controlled on the left panel (completely rebuilt since 9am today!); all electrics and the balloon burner levers are on the right panel; all flight monitors (e.g. altimeters, vertical speed indicator etc) are up above. The front is unobstructed so that in emergency I can disconnect from the various hoses and go right out the... front of this sucker! Everything is still in wood and zip-ties, with exposed wiring etc, as I dial in the final arrangement. Everything must be in easy range of my hands when I'm fully pressurized, yet clear enough to bail in the event of emergency. The suit determines the size of the seat, the seat determines the size of the gondola/cockpit, the gondola/cockpit determines the size of the balloon, the size of the balloon determines the n and volume of fuel tanks...So 'hard wiring' anything into place at this time would be foolish.

Also a photo of PVC fittings now being replaced with beautiful, shining stainless steel! The center fitting is coming out soon; not sure that I actually need it.

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