By Andrew Liszewski
Here’s a simple weekend project for anyone who’s ever dreamt of piloting a blimp, but miserably failed out of Goodyear University. You can easily build your own miniature version and all you need is some tape, a few binder clips, 2 24 inch dowels, 2 miniature RC helicopters and a helium balloon that’s large enough to keep the rest of the materials afloat. (And of course enough helium to fill said balloon.) The most expensive part of the build is the RC helicopters, but these days you can get a couple of the PicooZ or AirHog varieties for under $60. And what’s even better is that the project doesn’t require you to dismantle or destroy the helicopters in any way.
Basically the dowels are attached to the underside of the balloon with the choppers mounted on each end serving as propulsion. Since binder clips and tape are used to hold it all together, when the balloon inevitably runs out of helium you can easily disassemble it and swap in a new one. When it comes to controlling the blimp you need to use both remotes at the same time, but you only need to move one joystick on each which apparently makes it feel like steering a flying tank. As an added bonus the blimp is a lot easier to fly than the helicopters themselves, and crashing it into the wall or a piece of furniture probably won’t cause that much damage.