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Sky Lanterns (Are they *safe* ?)


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18 replies to this topic

#1 dbryceman

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 01:58 PM

Hello!

This might not necessarily warrant a topic, but I didn't see a better way to ask about this. Several pyro vendors sell these sky lanterns that I am sure you've all seen at some point. I have only seen ads, and I have not had the opportunity to handle one or see it first-person.

It appears that you basically have a miniature hot air balloon with Sterno or some fuel to fire it.

I am interested in having a few of these at a party as a novelty, but are they safe? My concern is where they land, how far they go, and whether they will still be burning when they land. Obviously, it's about as controllable as releasing a helium balloon with a note card attached, but I do not want to be the guy who becomes famous for starting The Great North American Wildfire of 2010.

I was hoping some of you have tried these things and could tell me. If not, I think the only thing I could do is buy one, tie it off to a stake with about 100' of very light line, and see how long it burns and if it completely burns out before it descends. I'm assuming it would lift a lightweight fishing line or something similar like a fine wire.
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#2 Fly

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 02:14 PM

I have always wondered the same?I live in a very wooded area & there is no way I would take
a chance here.

But they do seem neat & maybe in a desert?:blush:
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#3 Updup

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 02:21 PM

I have always wondered the same?I live in a very wooded area & there is no way I would take
a chance here.

But they do seem neat & maybe in a desert?Posted Image
Fly


I've shot one off, it accually went over into Mexico Posted Image . But IMHO these are very safe, so long as you dont have any holes in the tissue, as the fire burns out, the balloon acually keeps rising due to the hot air thats still in the balloon my guess would be that it dosn't start going down until ~10-20 minutes after you light it, and thay would be plenty of time for any embers to burn out.

Any more questions?

Edited by Updup, 22 September 2010 - 02:21 PM.

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#4 dagabu

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:24 PM

They are illegal in most states, I will use them only at NYE only if there is snow covering the ground.

#5 NightHawkInLight

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:39 PM

They are released in the thousands during various Asian holidays. The ones commonly sold from places such as Skylighter are quite safe. However, they MUST be made of fire retardant paper. Here is an example of a lantern made of non fire retardant paper:


The lanterns made with the proper paper if used on a night with little to no wind will work every time, and quite safely. Many people will attach strobes or other small effects to the lantern, which looks very nice.

#6 Fly

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:43 PM

Yours went over the border into Mexico??????????Maybe ICE could light the the night sky so they could
watch who is coming over.Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Now that something to think about:whistle:

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#7 Updup

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:47 PM

That was quite an awesome video NightHawk, quite epic! Wouldn't want to recreate it though.

And I'm go to to make some cool effect to go with my other skylantern I got for free from skylighter. Has some holes in it though, and so im going to need to patch those a little... Though I shot one with some holes and it flew just fine < Not a good idea though, any patching ideas?

EDIT: Hehe, yes it ended up going over, and I'll bet it had some patrol officers stumpt. we also shot quite a few potatos over the border from Terlingua. I love that place.

Edited by Updup, 22 September 2010 - 03:49 PM.

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#8 Twotails

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:10 PM

My family likes the skylanterns, Not bad when i cant shoot anything off. I did however make one from the ground up(i got bord!) we launched it (wax fuel pad, very thin tissue paper, copper wire support ring+ cross hairs) it flew up, and kinda landed in a oak tree(still burning) had the hose ready just in case, but the fule bruned out without burinign the paper, or tree(it had just rained, and the tree was green) we didnt expect it to fly that way(should have launched it from the OTHER side of the tree!) its on my youtube. all-in all, there amusing.

Oh, and to patch them, take a small square of paper(very thin tissue paper, like sold in walmart got gift wrapping) take a little bit of wood glue(elmers works) and apply a very thin line/drop/light coat to the ripped area and attach the patch. it works pretty well. and if your fule tab thing breaks/dosent work/missing. a paper towl folded into a square, is soaked in melted wax(roughly 1/2-1oz) then you punch 2-4 holes in the center when cool, trim the "square" of fule into an octagon, and attach. This does take longer to light, and i need to work on the exact composition(add stuff to it, ect) it will lift the lantern. just some idead of quick fix's. i prefer to let mine loose over a lake(paper desolves) i do it only with homade, as i know the paper/spent fuel has no added fireproofing chemicals.


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#9 lugnuts

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:26 PM

I ave only used one of these sky laterns before, Ours turned side ways and caught on fire last i say it it was burning but still going up in to the sky, I hope for the sake of the guy that lit that one it burned out before coming down.

#10 Bonny

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:48 AM

And I'm go to to make some cool effect to go with my other skylantern I got for free from skylighter. Has some holes in it though, and so im going to need to patch those a little... Though I shot one with some holes and it flew just fine < Not a good idea though, any patching ideas?


I've launched dozens of these over the last few years. If the hole is not too big (maybe an inch or so) they will fly just fine. For patching, I've always used a pc of duct tape...works every time. i guess if the hole or tear is really big, I'd simply throw the lantern away and get another.

#11 Updup

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:06 AM

I've launched dozens of these over the last few years. If the hole is not too big (maybe an inch or so) they will fly just fine. For patching, I've always used a pc of duct tape...works every time. i guess if the hole or tear is really big, I'd simply throw the lantern away and get another.


Naw its not too big, ad TBH the other one I lit (The one that flew into Mexico) had sme holes in it and it worked fine.
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#12 Pyropow3r

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 05:08 PM

Sky lanterns are great fun you can make them your self too..... I make them out of 240 liter trolley bin liners and an X type frame made from split in halves skewers. For the burner i use 2 layers of aluminum foil made into a pie tin shape put cotton in it (the one you find in the cosmetics section) and load up with a fuel of your choice i methanol/ethanol works best around about 50-100 milliliters of it. these ones are huge 240 liters in size !!! they have loads of lift i am able to lift 50 grams really easily the balloon shoots straight up with 50 grams weight strapped to it .... This allows me to Lift payloads i use around 2 inch ball salutes suspended under the ballon via a long string to when it goes off it doesn't affect the balloon put a couple minutes worth of fuse and ure done just light her up.... These put on a great show the salutes go off about 2-3 kilometers up (depends on how much fuse you put ) all you see is a flash and a loud rumble in the background about 10-12 seconds later kinda like thunder..... you can also use flares lances or torches as payloads too white flare mixes look great as they go sky wards you can put a fuse delay if you want to as well.

Tips:

Make sure you only launch during ideal whether conditions. e.g Just after it has rained a lot and there is no wind. Don't launch during rain because the water weighs the balloon down.....

Edited by Pyropow3r, 09 October 2010 - 05:12 PM.


#13 Invogue

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 01:37 PM

Some kid was burnt by one of these. The fuel managed to fall out and hit him in the face while still alight. Really bad burns to the face.
I do like these things but I do get worried that something will happen and will get the blame. Much better fire off a few rockets!

#14 dagabu

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 02:13 PM

Some kid was burnt by one of these. The fuel managed to fall out and hit him in the face while still alight. Really bad burns to the face.
I do like these things but I do get worried that something will happen and will get the blame. Much better fire off a few rockets!


It was modified by the user, not an off the shelf sky lantern.

How about we shoot rockets AT the sky lantern? :lol:

Edited by dagabu, 15 December 2010 - 02:14 PM.


#15 NightHawkInLight

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 02:52 PM

It was modified by the user, not an off the shelf sky lantern.

How about we shoot rockets AT the sky lantern? :lol:

I offered 10 points to anyone who could knock one down from the C line at pgi this year. No luck.

#16 Mumbles

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 03:26 PM

The wind sometimes carries the skylanterns from the C line over the top of the B and rocket lines at the WPAG. I've seen them get hit by stars on at least one occasion, but never a rocket, though they've gotten close typically without trying. The more common thing is for people at the C line to shoot roman candles at them, which are more accurate than you'd think.
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#17 dagabu

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 04:16 PM

The wind sometimes carries the skylanterns from the C line over the top of the B and rocket lines at the WPAG. I've seen them get hit by stars on at least one occasion, but never a rocket, though they've gotten close typically without trying. The more common thing is for people at the C line to shoot roman candles at them, which are more accurate than you'd think.


I have video of the July shoot, there were 8 lanterns that were let go that night I think and I saw two roman candle hits, my son and I were laughing so hard!!

#18 nater

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 05:39 PM

Pyro skeet shooting, sounds like a good time. I might have to pick up a case of candles and some lanterns before the spring shoots start.

I'm hesitant with sky lanterns, I was at a demo where a bunch were set off and drifted towards town. An officer showed up with the remains of one and was very unhappy. The shoot was permitted and wasn't the issue, the threat of littering fines were too real though.
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#19 dagabu

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:18 PM

The WPAG has roman candle holders that look like gun stocks. You can hold and aim like a rifle.




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