by Roland Escher
This page shows which new and used Cloudhopper models you might buy today, directly from one of the major balloon manufacturers, or second hand from a previous owner.
After Colt Balloons unveiled its Cloudhopper by flying it over the Thames River in downtown London under the sponsorship of Smirnoff Vodka in 1979, other balloon manufacturers jumped on the one man balloon bandwagon. Since the 1970s, there have also been numerous experimental Cloudhoppers, ranging from hair raising lawnchair vehicles to sophisticated, record-setting designs. If you are interested in the history of Cloudhoppers before serial production, History of the Small Balloon is a great primer on Cloudhopper history that appeared in Balloon Life some years ago.
Current Cloudhopper Models
Cameron Sky Hopper
Cameron Balloons bought its competitor Thunder & Colt in 1995 and recently started selling their frame-based Cloudhopper under the Cameron brand. This new generation of Cloudhopper is based on a paragliding harness, which makes it very comfortable for long duration flights. In addition, the new steel frame design allows standard propane tanks of all sizes to be used and interchanged without modification. Additional information is available on the Cameron Balloons Ltd. and Cameron Balloons US websites.
When Lindstrand Balloons was founded in 1995, Per Lindstrand and his engineers redesigned the Cloudhopper from ground up. They introduced a new fold-away seat that greatly improved comfort in flight and upon landing and also incorporated a scaled down version of the Lindstrand Jetstream Burner and monobloc valve in its design. Following Thunder & Colt's lead, Lindstrand converted their Cloudhopper to a frame design that accepts all tanks from 40 to 80 liters (10-20 gallons) in late 1999. Today's Lindstrand Cloudhopper offers one main advantage over the Cameron/T&C model: the burner detaches completely from the frame and is thus easier to pack. Additional information is available on the Lindstrand Balloons Ltd. and Lindstrand Balloons US websites.
Older Cloudhopper Models
We have yet to add older Cloudhopper models, like the original Colt Cloudhopper from the early 1980s. Some of those early Cloudhoppers are occasionally available to buy second hand and are a less expensive avenue to Cloudhopper ownership and flying.