My burners

Shown above is an example of the first type of burners I made around 1977. This one is actually the third out of a total of 5 made to this design. The output from each coil at 80lbs pressure is around 6 million BTU's. There are 4 jets under each coil each with an adjustable baffle. The idea of the baffles is that they stir up the flow of propane from the jets, slowing it down and allowing it to burn lower thus passing more heat on to the coils. If the pressure was high, you could bend them in more, producing more stirring, if the pressure was low you could bend them out. In practice I found that it was only at great extremes of pressure when it was necessary to adjust the baffles. However, I retained their use on later designs. A couple of burners like this were sent to Terry Adams in South Africa, one was certainly still in use in 2001 when it was used in the South African Championships.

This is actually my first burner, made in 1977, which was later modified by the addition of an electric valve and third main fuel line (as seen above) to accommodate my autopilot and was used for all my later Alpine flying. I made almost 50 high Alpine flights using this burner initially under a Cameron 105 later a Cameron 120. I believe this was the first time a link valve was used on a burner. The link valve connects the two coils and allows almost the full power of the two coils to be used from either one of the fuel lines. This burner is now with the British Balloon Museum.

In 1980 I put 2 of the doubles in a big frame, to make a quad burner to use for Alpine flights.

I used it for 4 seconds in my 105 to stop a sudden descent. Frightened myself with the rate of climb obtained and even more frightened at the possible effect if I had used it for say 6 seconds. Never used it again.

This is the prototype for my Mk 2 double burner. It was made as a single because I was having some difficulty visualizing my ideas in 3 dimensions! I was fanatical about lightness. There are no jets, just 4 holes drilled in the ring that can be seen under the coil. The valves I used were Smith's valves, about half the weight of Regos. The frame was initially made very small, in copy of some Cameron burners of the period, but I very soon realized this was impracticable, since you kept hitting the support poles and wires with your head, and the sections inserted to increase the size can be clearly seen. Output is about 9 million BTU at 80 lbs pressure. It is not coincidence that this burner looks very similar to the Thunder Mk 2. Dick Wirth (of Thunder) and I exchanged ideas at the time. His ideas were commercial, mine were private. However the Thunder Mk2 had leakage problems, mine did not.

So this is my Mk 2 double built about 1980. It weighs in at around 11 Kg including fuel lines and produces total around 18 million BTU at 80 lbs pressure. There is a quiet burner that can be seen on the left hand coil. It does not look as sophisticated as some of the 25 Kg models that are around but is much easier to carry. It is the burner I used on all except mountain flights for around 20 years. I never had any wish to make a Mk 3. It is now donated to the British Balloon Museum.  Maybe now is a good time to mention, that I did not do the actual welding on theses burners, I made the design, and did a lot of the other stuff, but for the stainless welding I found one of the best welders on this earth. Ted Laessing is his name……


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