How many balloons will it take to lift me

Lifted By balloons over Belfast, Northern Ireland

Being lifted by balloons, over Belfast

A question I am asked a lot, and I mean all the time, is something along the lines of ‘How many balloons will it take to lift me’ or saying to a child in close proximity ‘Careful or you will blow away’.  Now I know this is only joking but a lot of people do seem to be interested in how many balloons it would take to lift someone and float them off into the sky.  So I thought I would do a little calculation 🙂  I have based this on your normal party/promotional type balloon that we normally use, filled to 11″ diameter with helium gas.  They will have a lift ability of about 0.35 oz or 9.2g, or in other words not a lot.

An average child is maybe 6 stone, or 1344 ounces or 38,102 grams (I just love Google convert)

38,102g divided by 9.2g gives about 4141 balloons to lift a child, or for someone of about 12 stone you would need over 8,000 balloons and someone of my size would still have their feet on the ground  if  there was 12,000 balloons attached.

These quantities are based on just the lift excerted by the balloons in an upward direction, however if you add wind into the equation then all bets are off, I don’t know how the maths would work but I do know from experience that holding 200 balloons in the middle of a muddy field in a storm is nearly enough to get you a guest spot on ‘Youve been Framed’ as you slide across the field on your face.  The wind acting on the balloons is like a sail and the force is tremendous.

So if you want to float yourself then you’ll now know how – Good Luck

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