After months of bad publicity, the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games kicked off in spectacular style. Seen by over 1 billion people, a huge aerostat emerged from the darkness of the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium to tumultuous applause and a shower of camera flashes on Sunday 3rd October. As it rose effortlessly towards the open, clear skies of an Indian evening, the spectators marvelled at the projected images, showcasing the rich culture and history that India has to offer.
The helium filled aerostat was the brain child of Mark Fisher, the genius designer behind some of the world's most spectacular entertainment events – Cirque du Soleil, the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony and international rock concerts. Lindstrand Technologies Ltd turned the conceptual design into reality.
LTL was approached back in January 2010 about the feasibility of making a helium filled structure which would 'float' above a stadium in New Delhi as part of the Opening Ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games to be held in October 2010. At the time, no-one could foresee how simply stunning this creation would become.
The aerostat became known as the 'AeroTorus' and was designed and built in 4 sections by using advanced fabric welding methods, perfected by Lindstrand Technologies in many of its applications. At 80 meters long by 40 meters wide and with a height of 12 meters, the 'AeroTorus' is the largest tethered aerostat built to date. Six kilometres of fabric were required to make the structure, whose geometry is based on the 'torus' – a product of two circles – and which can be seen in many common every day items such as ring doughnuts, life buoys, inner tubes of bicycles etc.
Each section was designed to be joined together using zips and Dutch lacing which would ensure no separation of the sections and protect the air ballonets. A digitally printed 'skirt', produced by MediaCo in Manchester, depicting Indian symbolism completed the fabric creation.
The aerostat pressure was maintained using traditional methods adopted in lighter-than-air technology, i.e. the use of helium valves, pressure relief valves and ballonet fans. Over 5 kms of wiring controlled the aerostat with each torus section having its own dedicated valves and fans to regulate pressure.