DESERT STAR HELIKITE AEROSTATS

Desert Star Helikite in Flight

MILITARY TOUGH

The Desert Star Helikite is designed for rough or sand-blown conditions. The helium holding inner polyurethane balloon is completely contained within a protective outer shell made from tough lightweight, maximum strength "Ultra" material, which protects the balloon from most abrasions or knocks. Desert Star Helikites fly superbly to many thousands of feet altitude and deploy and operate in appalling conditions that defeat all other aerostats of any size. They have no fragile electronics to break or ballonets to puncture. Desert Star Helikites are beautifully designed and made in to allow perfect performance without the need for fragile electronic aids. Worldwide use has confirmed the superior strength and weather capability of Helikites against all other aerostats.

BATTLE TESTED

Originally designed for the British and US Armies, the Desert Star Helikite is simply the toughest aerostat in the world. During weeks of US Army comparative trials in the Arizona desert, the Desert Star Helikite proved to be by far the most robust aerostat represented. All the rest were destroyed by the difficult conditions, whereas the Helikites were undamaged. Many Desert Star Helikites have been made since they were first introduced in 2005. So far none have worn out. All those used by the US and British Armies in Afghanistan are still in service, as are all those in other combat zones. Desert Star Helikites are not easy to destroy. Helikites are very small targets compared to all other aerostats and they can fly high above RPG's and even most rifle fire. If the Helikite is unlucky and does get bullet damage there is no rapid loss of gas and the Helikite flies as normal for a long time. When convenient, the Helikite will be winched down, the damage quickly repaired and the Helikite sent up again. If necessary the disposable inner balloon can be completely replaced within minutes. Being small and uncomplicated, means Helikite repairs are quick and simple. Repairing a hole in a Helikite is a lot easier than repairing a hole in a soldier.

SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE

Desert Star Helikites outperform all other similar-sized aerostats for altitude, payload weight, stability, and adverse weather survivability. Every long-term, comparative test ever undertaken has always ended up with the Helikites significantly outperforming the competition. Also, Helikites are the only practical, reliable, maritime aerostat. When they have experienced the difference, people choose Helikites.
 

VERSATILE

Although originally designed for the military, Desert Star Helikites have proved to be very popular with all types of commercial and scientific customers. They carry any shape, size and type of payload very steadily, with little or no modifications. They can be made any size to suit the customer's payload weight altitude requirements. The most popular sizes are between 15m3 and 100m3, but sizes of 150m3, 200m3, or even larger, are also available.

45m3 Desert Star Helikite lifting a radio

EASY TO OPERATE

Only one or two people are ever required to operate any size of Desert Star Helikite from any platform, anywhere, in any weather. Custom fitting for all equipment is included in the price, as is flight testing and one days training.

Features

Desert Star Helikites have numerous special features that allow them to lift more payload in a stable manner, fly in higher winds and fly to a greater altitude. No other aerostat has this combination of advanced features. 

 

Zoom over each number for more information

desertstar-features.jpg

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1. Oblate spheroid balloon

Surrounded by 'Ultra' outer protective cover. This balloon shape is the least affected by changes in temperature, pressure or altitude. The tough outer cover protects the balloon from damage in adverse circumstances and provides robust structure against high winds. Unlike any other aerostat in the world, the balloon is an integral part of the aerodynamic structure of the Helikite. It contributes to wind lift as well as providing helium lift.

2. Large rip-stop nylon kite-sail

 

Provides extra wind lift that gives the high flying angle in wind. It also contributes greatly towards stability and damping.

3. Large, stiff keel

 

This provides stability in high winds and also damping for the payloads. The keel can fold up out of the way when the Helikite is at rest on the ground, or stored in building or a vehicle.

4. Variable Length Bridle

Unique system that allows the balloon volume to vary without causing the balloon to lose structure in wind. This allows a Helikite to fly to great altitudes where there is reduced air pressure, without the need for a complex, heavy and unreliable ballonet. It also allows for the change in helium pressure caused by changes in temperature between night and day, or dull and sunny conditions. It also ensures that the outer balloon cover is never put under strain by expanding gas pressure.

5. Carbon-Fibre Main Spar

 

Provides the main structure of the Helikite. It runs almost the full length of the Helikite making the Helikite a 'semi-rigid' aerostat design and so capable of withstanding high winds and turbulent airs.

6. Carbon-Fibre Central Keel Spar

 

Adds to the stiffness of the keel and reduces vibration enabling cameras to be kept very steady.

7. Carbon-Fibre Lower Keel Spar 

 

Adds to keel stiffness and increases high wind capability. It also supports the camera mounting system.

8. Front Attachment Point

 

Immensely strong kite/balloon bond over a large area at the place most strain is encountered. Helikites are far more stable in high winds than any other aerostats, and so are regularly flown in these higher winds, it means they must be able to withstand the extra strain involved.

9. Handling Line

 

This facilitates easy and safe launch and recovery by just one person in any weather.

10. Central Tie-Down Point

 

The Handling Line is tied to this strong point.

11. Stern Payload Bay 

 

Normally for electronics such as radios. It is sheltered from the wind and rain. There are reinforced ports in the kite sail to allow cables to be lead between the payload bays.

12. Upper Keel Payload Bay

 

Easy access, so perfect for batteries or experimental electronics. Custom made pouches are added as required, into which payload can be safely placed

13. Kite Front Attachment

 

The kite is secured to the outer protective balloon cover over a very large area, to spread the strain evenly and ensure the Helikite remains sound in even the highest winds.

14. Side Tie-Down Point

Very strong, ensuring the Helikite can be tied securely down onto its launch pad in all conditions when it is not flying.

15. Rapid Inflation Helium Input Valves

 

Bayonet mount for rapid and secure connection to the helium filling hose. Inflates Helikite within minutes.

16. Rapid Deflation Plugs

 

Accessible through Velcro pockets in the outer balloon cover.

17. Balloon Service Access

 

Allows the inner balloon to be taken in and out of the balloon cover if required. Firmly secured by toggles.

18. Stern Antenna Mounting Position

Damped pendulum mounts can be attached onto the stern of the balloon cover allowing antennas to be kept perfectly vertical. This is one reason why Helikites have proved to be such good radio communications platforms.

19. Large Velcro Spar Closure

 

Makes spar insertion and removal a matter of seconds.

20. OPTIONAL - Universal Camera Mount (UCM)

 

This is only required for cameras and wind-meters. It is a solid flat plate onto which cameras can be securely bolted. Other types of aerostat attach cameras by dangling them from loose lines, which is obviously very unstable. The unique UCM keeps cameras exceptionally steady even in high winds and can also accommodate the Helikite 'Damped Pendulum Mount' to keep cameras level with the horizon. Cameras positioned on the UCM have a 360 degree, uninterrupted view. During launch the keel plus UCM is automatically folded against the balloon to protect the camera. When the Helikite is clear of the launch pad the camera is lowered for use. Just before landing the camera is folded up again.

21. OPTIONAL - Auto Emergency-Cut Down Device

 

The first of its kind to be made in the world. It measures the GPS signal or barometric pressure and cuts a slit in the balloon if the Helikite escapes. It can also be remote-controlled if desired by coded digital radio signal. It has a sophisticated test sequence to ensure reliability. This device has ensured that no Desert Star Helikites has ever been lost during operations.

22. OPTIONAL - Steady Cam Rod

 

Provides stiffness below camera payloads to increase stability of both the Helikite and camera. It is not needed for any other payloads and can be removed easily when not in use.

23. OPTIONAL - Night-Time Warning Lights

 

Only required for operations at night. The battery powered LED lights can operate uninterrupted for many days or weeks, and are held securely in special pouches

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

250
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

4

114

220

60

11000*

50

40

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

175
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

4

87

160

60

11000*

40

30

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

100
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

4

52

100

60

11000*

32

22

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

75
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

4

35

75

60

10000*

28

20

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

64
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

3.5

32

70

60

9000*

26

19

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

45
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

3.5

22

40

50

7000*

24

18

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

34
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

3.5

14

30

50

6000*

22

15

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

24
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

10

23

50

4500

20

13

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

20
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

8

16

48

4000

16

11

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

15
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

5.5

12

46

3500

14

10

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

10
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

3

10

45

3000

12

9

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

8
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

2.5

10

42

2500

11

8

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

6
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

1.5

9

40

2100

10.5

7.5

Desert Star Helikite

Desert Star

5
Cubic Metres

Material

Thickness

Lift in No WInd (kg)

Lift in 15mph Wind (kg)

Max Wind Speed (mph)

Max Unloaded Alt (ft)

Length (ft)

Width (ft)

2

1

9

40

2000

10

7

POA - Price on application (Contact us for Details)
* Denotes estimated performance, based on net helium lift and tether weight.

Lift Performance figures are based on base-station dry conditions at sea-level “Standard Temperature and Pressure (STP)” WITHOUT TETHER and so will be predictably different in situations where STP does not apply. i.e. In hot, high, humid places or wet conditions, rain, snow, etc.

Larger Helikites can be made that will lift considerably more, Please contact us for performance details if required.

Note 1. All figures are for performance are for Imperial Standard Temperature & Pressure.

Visit The  Engineering Toolbox for details.

 

Note 2. Extra heat, humidity, and height reduce lift. So does simply being nearer the equator. This can be reasonably reliably calculated for the particular environmental conditions of a particular region. If in doubt, choose a Helikite with a little extra helium lift.

Note 3. These figures are based on dry Helikites. Rain, snow, dew and mist all add the weight of significantly dense water over the entire surface of a Helikite. Small Helikites may lose over 50% of their net lift. The largest Helikites may only lose 20% of their net lift due to their better surface-area-to-volume-ratio.

Note 4. These lift figures do not take into account the weight of flying line. Obviously this will be greater for longer flying lines than shorter ones, however modern Dyneema flying line is 10 times lighter than steel cable of the same strength, so flying line weight normally only becomes a significant issue for altitudes over 500ft. 

Note 5. Figures with an asterisk next to them are calculated estimates. We have never gone over 6000ft because nobody has ever asked us to, however due to the unique aerodynamic design of Helikites, it is relatively simple to reliably calculate their maximum potential altitudes.