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Bally Ribbon Mills Provides Textiles for Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer Balloon

Up, Up, and Away …

Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is a Pennsylvania-based designer and manufacturer of highly-specialized, engineered woven-webbing, tapes, specialty fabrics, woven preforms, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional structural fabrics.

In addition to providing civilian, military, and government customers with nylon, Kevlar, Nomex, and other such high-strength engineered fabrics, Bally Ribbon Mills has supplied E-WEBBINGS e-textiles to Best Aviation Services. Inc., the balloon manufacturing and repair company developing a tension system to support the Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer gas balloon’s open basket.

In September 2023, the three-man crew of the Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer will attempt to make history’s first non-stop Atlantic crossing in an open-basket hydrogen balloon.

Comprising balloonists Sir David Hempleman-Adams, a 66-year-old British adventurer; Bert Padelt, a 62-year-old American balloon manufacturer; and Dr Frederik Paulsen, a 72-year-old Swiss scientist, explorer, and entrepreneur, the Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer crew boasts a combined age over two-hundred-years.

The class AM9 Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer balloon incorporates materials conducive to the dissipation of static-electricity. The balloon’s unique design reduced the project’s Bill of Materials and saved Best Aviation hundreds of hours of additional sewing, thereby helping to maintain the endeavor’s tight manufacturing timeline. The aforementioned Mr. Padelt, who owns Best Aviation Services—a Bally, Pennsylvania-based balloon manufacturing and repair concern—stated of Bally Ribbon Mills: “Because of BRM’s design and quick turn-around on this R&D work, we were able to meet our tight deadline and launch window schedule.”

The route by which the trio of balloonists intend to travel will take them from the northeastern U.S. state of Maine; over Newfoundland, Canada; across the Atlantic Ocean; and over Ireland and Northern Scotland before landing on the European mainland. During the four-to-five-day trip, the crew will collect air samples as part of a study seeking to identify novel microbes and natural proteins potentially useful to the synthesis of new pharmaceuticals, biofuels, and bioplastics, as well as the development of new agricultural technologies.

Flying at an altitude of 6,000 to 8,000-feet, weather permitting, the balloonists will attempt to collect samples from a mid-Atlantic location never previously sampled. The team is supported in part by The Explorers Club, and have applied to carry the prestigious Explorers Club Flag aboard the Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer balloon—an honor afforded only those expeditions undertaken to further the causes of exploration and field science.



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