Hi, I've been lurking long enough and want to build myself one of these blimps. First step is buying the envelope and gondola. I saw that earlier versions used the Plantraco but the newer version uses the Tri-Turbo model off the shark.

The shark seems to be sold out at the linked place, I've googled around a bit and mostly found envelopes for the Tri-Turbo, but no gondolas or complete setups. Has anyone found them anywhere? Should I just get a Plantraco, why was it not used in the recent version?

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Neither the SkyTec Shark or the Plantraco Tri Turbofan are made anymore, unfortunately (if you google around you can find a few in remainder sales, but they won't last long). As a result, we've switching to the Mach III (http://www.rctoys.com/rc-toys-and-parts/MACH-3Z-GOODYEAR/RC-BLIMPS-...), which is a more expensive ($54) but comes with a usable 52" envelope with fins. The only downside (aside from the price) is the that the thrusters aren't ducted, so they're a bit less efficient.

Stay away from the Megatech blimps, as their envelopes are too small to carry any extra weight (they're also more expensive than the Mach IIIs and have more silly lights and other unnecessary electronics to remove.
The only blimp Plantraco currently sell is the MicroBlimp

http://www.microflight.com/Online-Catalog/R-C-Toys/MicroBlimp-RTF-Set

which is a lot smaller than their Tri-Turbo Fan model used to be, so my guess is that their current design just won't carry the weight of the extra payload..?
I did a quick search and found that all of the earlier sources I'd seen for the Tri-Turbofan blimp are now sold out. I bought 2 of these kits and have no need for them, so send me a PM if you want to buy them from me.

I have one of the Plantraco MicroBlimps - as discussed in this thread. It's cool, but the envelope is quite small and the rotors are not powerful. Also, one of my motors died after a few days and I had to send the "gondola" back to Plantraco for repair.
Yes, confirming what Howard said, the Plantraco MicroBlimp is a lovely bit of design but totally inappropriate for modding. The envelope is too small and the motors are built into the RC circuit board.

For modding, you want the motors and mechanical assembly to remain after you remove the RC board.

Of course it's always possible to build your own gondola from scratch, but unless you want to do something fancy like vectoring thrusters it's not worth the hassle, especially when the toy industry has already done a pretty good job of light plastic and motor integration ;-)
PM is the little envelope icon at the top left of your screen. Or just click the little envelope ("Send message") icon below his name in the message above.
Here is a place you can buy RC blimps, but I do not know how much they can carry.
Yes, those are the same Megatech blimps I described above. Not recommended, for reasons stated there, including weight carrying capacity.
See Chris' comment above about Megatech blimps. Easiest place to go if you're in the US for gondolas and envelopes is rctoys.com,

http://www.rctoys.com/rc-products-catalog/RC-BLIMPS.html

while in the UK otherlandtoys.co.uk carry some of the same stock,

http://www.otherlandtoys.co.uk/rc-toys-rc-blimps-c-80_96.html

although not the high lift envelope unfortunately.
As I have noted in other threads, the envelope from rctoys.com is nice. That's what I use with http://www.surveyor.com/YARB.html , and if you purchase without the motor control, cost is a bit over $200 with gondola and motors.
Just a thought, but has anyone ever tried one of those large party balloons as an envelope? You could suspend a small PCB gondola underneath with light netting, or string and double-sided tape.
You can make your own balloons for this purpose - check out http://www.balloonkits.com
I found a site with hoverblimps. (hoverblimps)
Maybe this has an interesting gondola as well. Does anyone have experience with this thing? I can't find any specs or reviews.

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