1987 THUNDER & COLT LTD COLT AS-56


  • For Sale
  • 1987
  • THUNDER & COLT LTD COLT AS-56
  • N493JM
  • 899
  • Tucson, AZ USA

85000 $85,000 USD
LEARN TO FLY A BLIMP & MAKE $$

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  • For Sale
  • 1987
  • THUNDER & COLT LTD COLT AS-56
  • N493JM
  • 899
  • Tucson, AZ USA

Ron K Miller

Ron K Miller

General Specs (cont.)

44

44 SNEW

44 SNEW

44 SNEW

0 SNEW

250 lb

Used

1987

1987

BTH

1

Additional Classifications

Detailed Description

LEARN TO FLY A BLIMP and MAKE MONEY ADVERTISING.  Training included this fall or winter in Tucson, AZ,  USA from an FAA flight instructor at a private club.

Avionics / Equipment

What can I do with this blimp in the Experimental Exhibition category?  A lot more than you would think!

The following are some of the restrictions to the Exhibition category:

 1. The pilot needs to hold an appropriate certificate. (In this instance a balloon pilot's license, either private or commercial) 

2. The aircraft must be inspected each year in accordance with the scope and detail of FAR 43 appendix-D. The inspection must be carried out by ANY A&P in accordance with the factory maintenance manual as specified in the operating limitations of the aircraft. The OWNER can do routine maintenance and minor modifications - but no major changes - like installing a new engine. I have an A&P here in Arizona that is familiar with thermal blimps - he has flown them before. He is willing to travel for an inspection or you can bring it to him or find an A&P locally. A condition inspection for all intents and purposes is identical to an annual inspection. The difference is you can't do an annual inspection on an aircraft with a special airworthiness certificate like this blimp. You can only do an annual inspection on an aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate. 

3. You may not fly over densely populated areas except for the purpose of takeoff and landing . There is no limit to how fast you can climb or descend or a time limitation.  As long as you continually climb during takeoff to a desired altitude and then a continual descent for landing you are 100% legal. Your takeoff can be 45 minutes long OVER a densely populated area. Your landing can be 45 minutes long OVER a densely populated area. Since blimps typically climb and descend very slowly this is not unreasonable.

 4. The aircraft may only be operated for the purpose of exhibition, maintenance and proficiency . 

5. Exhibition is defined as: attending a school or shopping mall exhibition, fly-in, rally, airshow, aerobatic competition, organized practice session or film production. The film production provision opens up flying just about any place or any time you want.   All you need is a ground person "filming" your documentary movie with a smart phone or a GoPro mounted on board.  It would make sense to print a narrative of the documentary and keep it on board in your flying documents. 

6. In other words, NO RESTRICTIONS WHERE YOU CAN FLY, EXCEPT FOR CLASS B AIRSPACE and only in the US. To fly in another country will most likely require the equivalent of a Letter of Authorization from the aviation authority and possibly other permissions. Generally speaking, other countries respect a US airworthiness certificate which will be their main concern: Is it safe to fly? 

7. At the beginning of each year, the operator must submit a list of the events he/she intends to attend that year.  This is known as a program letter. The time and place you wish to fly can be changed at ANY time during the year. If you do not fly at an event you do not need to notify the FAA.  I have included a sample program letter as the last PDF document in the documents section of this ad.

8. For any flights not listed in the program letter, the FAA must be informed in advance (even 5 minutes!) by E-mail from your smart phone, FAX or phone call.  Inform, NOT ask permission . If you decide at the last minute it's a great day for your film production you're in the air with a quick E-mail to the FAA, right from your smart phone.  

9. Can I fly advertising on the sides?  Absolutely, and be compensated as long as you have your commercial LTA rating.  The only commercial activities that are disallowed in the specific operating limitations for this aircraft are carrying skydivers (no problem since this is pilot only) glider towing or towing banners. 

As you can see from the above there really isn't much restriction.  So aside from the extra notification - that is mostly just telling the FAA in advance where you plan to go have fun - the Experimental Exhibition category is a way to fly this blimp in a legal way, make money with it and have a unique skill.

Airframe

I AM NOT INTERESTED in training you to fly this blimp unless you purchase.  Minimum LTA balloon private rating required and included in purchase.

One owner,  purchased  directly from the factory in England in 1987.  It came with a standard airworthiness certificate in the "Aerial Work" category from the CAA - the British equivalent to the FAA.  For years I flew under British registration with my British thermal airship pilot's license.  Due to changes in the European aviation world in order to get a British annual inspection - now that it is based in the US - was almost impossible, and prohibitively expensive.  On April 1, 2014 it passed a condition inspection and on April 12 was assigned an FAA Special Airworthiness certificate in the Experimental Exhibition category.  It could not be assigned a Standard Airworthiness certificate since it was never type certified in the US.  N493JM now has 44 hours total time.  Stored in bone dry 
Arizona with NO corrosion.  Looks like new!

Engines / Mods / Prop

Instead of using helium for lift it uses low pressure (3 psi) hot air to provide static lift.  The hot air is supplied by a hot air balloon burner located above the pilot's head inside the hull.  Directly beneath the burner is a modified 2 stroke engine that drives a small fan that provides constant pressure in order to provide rigidity to the hull.  Behind the pilot is a 24 horsepower 3 cylinder 2 stroke German Konig radial engine that swings a 52" pusher propeller  The pilot climbs by raising the temperature inside the hull.  He descends by allowing it to cool.  There is a small amount (20%) of dynamic lift that increases with speed.  Rudder only.   It is incredibly fun to fly, and takes quite a bit of focus.  Every time I fly it I get a HUGE grin since it is SO unique.  Top speed is 20 knots with a 1.5 hour flight duration before reserve.  Extra tank included for another 1.5 hrs. of flight time.

Interior / Exterior

Red and white with 55' X 22' banner sections each side for advertising.

4 blank white banners.

This blimp CAN be flown at night with proper position lighting - easy to do. 

Extra prop and extra 20 gal. stainless steel fuel tank for 3 hours flight time.

David Clark headset and helmet.

Remarks

I will not train anyone to fly this UNLESS you purchase it. 

Once again, you MUST have a private or commercial balloon pilot's license/endorsement issued by the FAA.  There is no other way it can be legally flown.  Included in the sales price is a 10 day private rating LTA balloon flying course with me here in Tucson, AZ this fall or winter.  I've been instructing and flying balloons for 36 years.  The course includes everything you need in order to get your rating - and walk away with your certificate and/or LTA endorsement.  I will include a balloon, chase vehicle and trailer.  You will pay for fuel, insurance and two crew members. Once you have your certificate I will teach you how to fly the airship.  I have access to a perfect training facility (a large private polo field).  I estimate it will take an additional 5 days to learn to fly the blimp.  There is no  endorsement or rating required to do this, just practical instruction to the point where you can safely fly it.  I've been a commercial balloon pilot and instructor for 36 years and have *done it all* in the lighter than air world, including flying 12 passenger balloons across the Continental Divide in Colorado at 16K feet.  If you already have your balloon rating the price will be $10K less, and I'll need to see a copy of your certificate before I start training you.  If you have other ratings it will be a big help obtaining your LTA rating since you are familiar with FAR's and aviation in general.

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