A good time to return to drones and tarps, then. Ian Forth is with me but doesn’t want to “enter the Beefy phase of my life and grumble to anyone who’ll listen.” Lucky, then, that we have solutions.
Tor Turner has just travelled from Manchester to London and “can confirm it was raining every place the train passed through,” which is far from ideal. It’s given him time to think, though. “In terms of roofs, inflatable ones would be the way to go. I know it sounds weird but stay with me.” Oh, don’t worry, I’m with you.
“This company reckons it could be manufactured off site and installed in a single night. I’d like to see them manage that for a stadium mind.”
Be right back, off to throw my wallet at them for all the shares they’ll give me.
Elbert Matt Loubser is also into my inbox on the topic, from South Africa. He’s not keen. “I am an engineer, but not of the structural persuasion. Greatest challenges with implementing a temporary roof are matters such as the mechanics required for relatively quick setup or breakdown (rain cover times 20), man-power wouldn’t cut it and the machines required would have to be integrated with the structure of the stadium (including lighting). Cost and inconvenience would lead architects to rather install a permanent roof. But indoor cricket is another matter; how high would the roof have to be? Will grass-care be assured? What will the white-clad Test Match officials have to say about this sudden change? It’s just not on.”
Drones, though. Drones with tarps. With gutters that manage the flow. Et voila!
Last but not least for now, M. B. Anand with his first ever email to the OBO! Welcome to the club. Make sure it is not your last.
“Very interesting ideas – holding up a tarp with drones or balloons,” he begins. “Some quick calculations below to check feasibility:
1) Drones –
Problem is power. Considering most stay aloft for about half hour and the very best, costing around $7500, can last no more than a couple of hours before needing re-juicing, this is likely to be a problem.
Of course, we could arrange a complicated “change of guard” as drones rotate in and out constantly….
2) Hot air balloon –
Representative heavy duty tarp weight = 18 oz. per square yard
With a ground, say a circle of about 80m, the tarp weight is about 12183 kg.
Given that a cubic foot of air lofts about 7 g of weight, this translates to a large spherical balloon of about 150 ft. in diameter. About a third of the size of the ground. Or many smaller ones that add up to the same volume. That seems quite feasible. Balloon wins, I think. Let’s do this!”
This started with a shadecloth in space and has morphed into a hot air balloon. I’m proud of the progression. But I think, for now, I’m going to move this conversation on. Thanks for the many, many emails on it. It’s been fun.