Think of almost any shape and we will build it for you! This balloon will truly feature your product, mascot or logo, and will fly as a fully working aircraft at the same time. To obtain the perfect shape, solidity and stability of a special shaped envelope, there is a complex net of wires and lines inside of the balloon invisible to the spectators from the outside. The only two limitations for such balloon is its volume - big enough to carry the whole system (it is difficult to build a needle-shaped balloon) and your own fantasy!
Kubicek Balloons has years of experience building the beautiful and eye-catching special shapes. Not only gained from building the balloons themselves, but also from having built several thousands of cold inflatables in our affiliated company Reklama Kubíček.
Easier shapes, where the traditional balloon shape is partly kept, are usually built in a shorter time period with easier airworthy certification. So simply said - when we add some special shaping to a classical balloon we call it an additional 3D Graphics. On the other hand, we are able to build something totally different to traditional balloons - a cube, a cathedral, or a character. These balloons, however, require a little bit more time for construction and certification. At the end, you will always receive a fully working and certified balloon, ready for even a commercial use.
Special Shape Operation
Flying s Special Shape will always bring all the attention to you. However, it is important to keep in mind the following facts:
- despite its size, the envelope is usually two or three times heavier than a balloon of similar size
- the operation limitations are usually a little lower - maximum take off wind speed is reduced from 7.5 m/s / 15 kts, down to 5 m/s / 10 kts
- flight preparation takes slightly longer than of a regular shape
- less effective deflation system - not all Special Shapes can be equipped with a regular venting system, this is the reason why a RipPanel is sometimes installed
- on parts of an envelope, which are complicated to deflate, are systems of velcros installed - it is necessary to make sure these are zipped prior to inflatio
- rotation vents are less effective, for some shapes it is not worth it at all
Information about operation limitations and differences to normal shapes are always included in a Flight Manual Supplement, which we give as a standard part of any certified envelope going out.
Designing and manufacturing a Special Shape
Every Special Shape is created with close partnership with our client, usually in the following steps:
1. Task setting from our client and design sheet development
Our client comes with a “rare/medium/well thought” idea about his/her shape. Sometimes it’s s sketch, statue, or a plastic model. Based on the client’s wish, our engineers then come up with a design sheet to talk about every single detail. Once the last detail is settled, the design sheet becomes a part of the final contract.
2. Shaping and cutting the fabric
On the basic and approved design sheet a 3D model is made. Just like in a regular balloon, what’s called a natural curve is then mathematically figured, which sets the demanded shape. Connection between the outer layer and the natural curve is done by supportive ribs. Detail of the final shape are made by formative ribs. Bottom parts of the envelope usually need pressurizing tunnels to bring higher pressure from the top of the balloon.
Afterwards, a 3D model needs to be cut into individual panels by a computer software. Each special shape may even have over 2000 unique panels!
Individual panels are then cut on our NC cutter and sewn together by our brilliant seamstresses.
4. First inflation
The next step is, what we call it, “the moment of truth”. After all the previous steps the envelope can be finally inflated in front of our factory. Everyone involved gathers around the balloon and makes sure it is built as planned. We also keep an eye on pressurizing every part of the balloon, which is very important to keep the shape of the balloon.
5. Test flight and certification
Prior to shipping of the balloon to our customer, we need to make sure the whole system works well and as planned. Sometimes we need to adjust parts of the construction to meet all requirements of our customer or requirements of EASA.