## Can a house fly??? Can you fly???

April 7, 2010

Thanks to Jason studying maths & physics at University of Minnesota for this suggestion.

Unless you have seen the animated movie UP ‘Can a house fly?’ is a funny question. The movie with the Boy Scout, Carl, and the grumpy old guy had quite a few people asking could a house fly?

We can do the maths, mathspigs! But why do the maths if someone has already done the hard work for you?

The X Change Files blog and Wired magazine have put together some fab calculations.

Unfortunately, all of their calculations are in American units but we can use their calculations as a guide. We will not include the weight of the balloons or string and we will assume the balloons are spherical so the answers are approximations and add a few more balloons to make the house & balloons more buoyant than air. Here is the information you need:

Can you fly?

We know humans can fly using helium balloons as 2nd July 1982 Larry Walters tied 45 weather balloons to a garden chair and flew to an altitude of 4,600m (15,000 ft). He carried a bbgun to shoot balloons for his descent but only hit a couple and dropped the gun. He flew for over 45 mins and was arrested on landing. Larry Walters link.

While I would advise mathspigs against such a stunt it is interesting to calculate how many balloons you would need to fly: