What was the smallest manned lighter-than-air craft?

Well, this question’s pretty straight forward, and doesn’t involve existential debating or technical trivia only known by a half dozen dead Soviet scientists. I’m sorry if that disappoints.

That said, I was wondering…what was the smallest MANNED lighter-than-air craft ever built? And were there any designed that would have been smaller?
Well, thanks for your time,

I’d guess the lawn-chair-cluster of balloons gizmo would almost certainly have to be the smallest. Its payload was a human and about 5 lbs of chair. Oh, and a couple of pounds for the .BB Gun used for altitude control. Which the dumb idiot dropped.

Are we including the lifting bag or just whats suspended underneath ?

Lawnchair Larry used waaaay too many balloons, which is why he got into such probs in the first place.

If you’re gonna design a lighter-than-air craft to be as small as possible, then you would obviously want to build it for a pilot who was very light and didnt need much lifting volume.

I’m sure one-man hot air balloons exist (cant think of a cite OTTOMH)

Here’s one of many sites concerning one-man balloons.


Including the lifting bag, if that’s practical.

Thanks for the one-man balloon site, Chalkpit. Do you happen to have a bead on the smallest airship (i.e., a Blimp or Dirigible), by any chance?

I have seen a small one man pedal-powered blimp on TV but I don’t know of any sites on it. It was pretty cool though, looked about 50 feet long.

I saw a program recently about a human powered blimp, but it had at least 3 guys in it. It was pretty small though - 40 ft maybe.

“Lawnchair Larry” was the subject of one of Cecil’s columns: Did somebody once go aloft in a lawn chair tied to a bunch of helium balloons?

Didn’t Gallagher (the prop comic) have a special that started with him flying a pedal powered dirigable (or blimp)? I think he crashed and broke his arm while filming it.

I do recall that Gallagher bit, though I think he crashed and broke his arm while roller-waterskiing behind a watermelon-mobile.

That crazy Gallagher!

Yep, the Gallagher bit was where I saw the pedal-blimp.
I think he was being pulled behind a car made to look like a boat when he broke his elbow roller-waterskiing.

Well, air has about a thousandth the density of water (or person), so your envelope would need at least a thousand times the volume of a person. For a very lightweight person, I make that about 2m by 4m by 5m.

In a blow a few weeks ago my kite (two 10’x2’ parafoils) carried me a few feet off the ground for about a hundred yards.