Balloon Arrow

Seldom seen today, the Balloon Arrow was surprisingly common in the Golden Age and into the Silver Age.  It probably has the most appearances for a bizarre category arrow.

This versatile trick had numerous uses. The shaft produced a balloon which could be shaped into virtually anything. The helium variety could float gently to send messages or attract help. The larger ones were powerful enough to lift an adult human into the air, while just two were required to lift a gorilla.

Data

  • Type: Utility Arrow, Bizarre Arrow
  • Frequency: Rare
  • Effects: Contains a compact balloon that can be shaped as needed.
  • Variations: Helium Balloon Arrow, Airbag Arrow
  • First Appearance: Adventure Comics #158 (1950)

Reality Check

Helium has a lifting force of 1 gram per liter. A normal party balloon is about one foot in diameter, which would hold roughly 14 liters of helium. That’s just 14 grams of lift. You would need roughly 8,000 balloons to lift a 200 lb. human in the air, including the weight of the balloons and strings.

Insane as it sounds, it has been done. In 1982, Larry Walters attached 45 three-foot diameter balloons to a lawn chair and rose to an altitude of 16,000 feet. He was promptly arrested upon landing.

 

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