Building the Balloon EGO


I was science teaching at Naremburn Boys High (a small suburb of Sydney).
School holidays were coming up, and my headmaster allowed us to use the assembly hall and science lab as a balloon factory. 
   The new balloons' size was dictated simply by the amount of film we had on that single roll at the rear of the bench. It was laid against marks on the table. We cut 32 identical strips, one for each gore. We used 3/4 mile, i.e. about 1.2 kms of material.

L to R. Garry Smith, Ros Breillat, John Holmes.


My wife Pat lining up

tape along a seam. These seams required tape on both sides.
   That added up to 1.75 miles, or 2.7 kms of tape. We then had 0.75 of a mile of ironing, to cure the tape.

There were no such things as Personal Computers then to assist with the various aspects of design.

Even electronic calculators had not appeared.



After the strips were laid and taped on both sides, they became longitudinal gores.  At this stage each gore could be neatly rolled up.

From left:- Keith Wilcox, Pat Wilson, Tony Walsh, Peter Vizzard.

Left to Right.
  Robert Lee, his younger brother Ted, Garry Isaacs and Alan Powell.

These four students (now men with families) made a large difference to the speed of construction.


The author finishing of the cap. It was 18ft in diameter.

This disc of fabric was held in place by 16 break threads. They had to be replaced for each flight.
On final deflation the cap was pulled right down to empty the balloon.


Finally, when the 16 gores were being joined the situation became very confusing as nothing would lay flat.

There are at least 3 people in this view, and it was easy to get lost. Even conversation was difficult with the constant crackling as the material moved.

We built the envelope in 3.5 weeks.


EGO has its first flights.....