Tom Scott Learns to Pilot a Single Person Helium Blimp

The adventurous Tom Scott, who’s always up for a new experience, visited Aéroplume in Écausseville, France, to pilot a single-person helium blimp inside a giant warehouse. Scott was particularly surprised that he’d never heard of this before.

The Aéroplume, in France, is a helium blimp sized for one person. €60 gets you half an hour’s flight. I had to try it. … This isn’t sponsored: I paid for my flight at the normal price, I was the one to contact them asking permission, and Aéroplume had no editorial control. I am, however, amazed that in the ten years this has been going, no-one’s ever told me about it before!

Instructor Antoine Sibué explained who invented this mode of recreational transportation, the mechanics of the blimp, and the various balloon sizes. He also showed Scott how to navigate his helium balloon.

We have three aéroplumes here and they are different by their volumes. We have a bigger one that can carry up to 90 kilograms, we have one that can carry up to 70 kilograms, and one that can carry up to 45. Now you can take the wings by the black handle. Everything you will do, you do it really slowly. That’s the same as if you were swimming.

Scott found it very easy to work the controls and compared the experience to that of a kayak.

Like paddling a kayak. … And if I want to turn, it’s with one? ….I didn’t feel like I was turning at all and then suddenly I was.