The HiFlyer system consists of the following components:
- Envelope and Net
- Gondola and Control System
- Main Electric Winch
- Inner and Outer Mooring Winches
Envelope and Net
The HiFlyer envelope has a volume of around 6,200 cubic meters and a diameter of 23 metres. It is manufactured from a material which has exceptionally low helium permeation with a typical life of at least 3-5 years. The normal envelope colour is white but customised colours are available at client’s request. Advertising is either digitally printed or applied directly to the envelope by self-adhesive vinyl. It can also be applied using banners, which are inter-changeable and can be installed in one night. The envelope can also be used as a backdrop for video projection and laser advertising. The envelope net carries the entire structural load from the envelope to the winch cable. It is manufactured from high tenacity polyester yarn and each element can carry a load of more than one tonne.
Gondola and Control System
The HiFlyer gondola is manufactured from aircraft quality stainless steel and has an indefinite life. It has an octagonal shape with a main winch cable in the middle so that the gondola remains horizontal at all times. The exterior panels are made either from PVC panels or from wicker giving a traditional appearance to the gondola. The non-slip floorboards are made from marine plywood. There is one entry and one exit door, both opening inwards and secured by a twin locking mechanism. If the doors are not properly closed and secured, a red warning light illuminates on the control panel. The gondola has a fully-automated control system, which controls the operation of the winch. The control system also displays strobe and navigational lamps, helium and ballonet pressure.
Main Electric Winch
The HiFlyer winch is massively over-engineered and weighs approximately 10 tonnes. It is electrically operated and therefore noiseless. It requires minimum maintenance and has an indefinite life. The HiFlyer can have either an underground winch system or a surface mounted winch system. The surface mounted winch system lends itself to sites where there might be archaeological restrictions on digging and can be used as an integral part of the visitor experience. The winch cable is a 22mm diameter wire strand core rope that has a minimum-breaking load of 45 tonnes. The cable is held by a large drum, which has a single layer design which reduces the bending stress in the cable. The winch can be controlled from the control panel in the gondola or from a local hard-wired control station on the ground.
Inner and Outer Mooring Winches
The mooring winches enable the balloon to be lowered down on to the gondola, and stabilise the balloon during breaks in flying. The balloon is held in place by 16 electric inner mooring winches, 4 electric outer mooring winches and 12 outer anchor points. The inner mooring circle is 23 metres (75 feet) in diameter and the outer mooring circle is a maximum of 50 metres (164 feet) in diameter. The landing platform must be exclusive to the HiFlyer but the general public can access any of the area outside of the landing platform.