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Special Hot Air Balloon & Airship Projects / Consulting Services

Apex Balloons owner Jon Radowski is available for consulting on lighter-than-air projects and beyond. Adding to well over twenty years of experience as a hot air balloon and airship pilot, designer, constructor and repairman, Jon also offers technical expertise in the areas of 3D computer aided design & engineering, fabrication, graphics, illustration, layout & publishing, music and audio production, cinematography, video editing and a wide variety of other minor specializations.

If your special project requires assistance, contact us to see how we can lend a hand towards making your dream a reality. If we aren't the right fit for the job, we'll be happy to recommend the best person or company to handle it.

Here are some examples of the countless lighter-than-air-related ventures we've been a part of:

Artwork & Banner Renditions, 3D Renderings, Illustrations, etc.

Banner Design & Production, Sewing, Contract Manufacturing Services, etc.

In December of 2007, Apex Balloons spearheaded the design and production of two custom 92-foot-long form-fitting banners for a client's short-term lease of a Skyship 600 airship (the Ron Paul Blimp). The normal airship banner supplier could not get the job done, so we assembled a skilled team on short notice to clean up the mess and get the blimp properly dressed before its scheduled launch date. The project's immediate timeline required a round-the-clock labor commitment and allowed no room for error. The job progressed quickly from initial concept to completion and delivery of both banners in six hectic days!

Airship banner design & layout
The flattened banner gores in a format ready for direct inkjet printing on nylon. The printed gores were then trimmed and sewn together to create the uniform curvature of the banners.

Sewing team: (L to R) Jon Radowski, Dan Nachbar, Kevin Herschman, Michelle, (Not pictured: Jenn)

Ron Paul Blimp
Michelle, Dan and Jon at the Airship Management Services facility in Weeksville, NC for the blimp's maiden voyage (after little sleep and a tag-team drive through a terrible snowstorm!)

Ron Paul Blimp Revolution Banner

Ron Paul Blimp

Special thanks to Dan Nachbar at Skyacht Aircraft for collaboration with the use of his sewing workshop and staff to undertake this ambitious rush project.

Click to watch a technical and artistic short film clip showcasing french fell sewing technique as well as the first finished banner installed on the blimp. Enjoy the music!

Technical Drawings, Envelope Gore Pattern Blanks, etc.

In addition to 3D visualizations, we can produce pattern blanks that prove extremely useful when initially brainstorming the colors and design for your hot air balloon envelope. From your chosen design, we can then create realistic 3D renderings in color.

Apex 16-gore 90


Apex ZX-80 Racer

Cameron A-250

Apex ZX-60 Racer

Custom Nine 140

FireFly 7

Apex 24-gore 77 with FireFly 4.0

Lindstrand HS-110 Hot Air Airship

Apex 24-gore 42k with Sky Chariot

Custom Envelope Cable calculations, Scoop & Skirt design

We specialize in custom cable length calculations for homebuilders. If you're not sure how to determine the cable or scoop dimensions for your homebuilt hot air balloon project, provide us the following dimensions and we'll easily be able to take care of the rest:

Gore Width between vertical load tapes (center to center) at bottom of mouth edge
Length of any V-rings or load fittings extending below mouth at cable-to-webbing interface
Load frame dimensions (square, rectangular, triangular, etc.)
Combined length of carabiners or toggle attachments at load frame
• Optional: Describe shape profile of envelope for preferred cable drop angle. Otherwise, the standard natural shape figures will be used which will be sufficient for most any normal envelope.

A custom set of 20-gore cables for a three-point FireFly hookup

Custom scoop design developed from existing cable lengths and load frame dimensions

Nomex scoop cutting patterns

Logo & Artwork Layout, Envelope Construction Diagrams, Panel Dimensioning, etc.

Graphic Design, Logos, Layouts, Brochures, Magazine Ads, T-Shirts, Pins, Trading Cards, Websites, etc.


Inflator Fan design & construction

Model Balloon and Airship design & construction (for prototypes as well as for fun)

Custom Design & Fabrication

Even if the service you need is not showcased on this page, contact us - we may very well be able to handle it, or can put you in touch with the right person or company for the job.


All content and images copyright ©2000- Jon Radowski unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.