Frequently Asked Questions
What is KoalaCoat #25?
Koala #25 Balloon Fabric Coating is a product that was developed over a decade ago in response to the question, “Why can’t a balloon envelope be recoated?”. KoalaCoat #25 is one of those products that seems too good to be true, but it is. A balloon that has porosity can be returned to its original tight, non-porous condition with our product when applied properly.
How does KoalaCoat #25 work?
KoalaCoat #25 is a recommended 2 stage process. First, using the Fabric wash, this wipes down the balloon fabric and inserts a special molecule into the yarn making a normally non-absorbent material extremely receptive to our coating. Only a light amount is used. Then the KoalaCoat #25 is applied, usually in 2 medium coats. It seals the thread completely. Then, the coating bridges the gaps in the weave, filling all of the little square holes, each of which are pinhole leaks in the balloon envelope. If applied properly and thoroughly, the fabric will become 100% non-porous.
How long can KoalaCoat #25 be expected to last?
The life of the fabric. When using the Fabric Wash, the coating grip is enhanced because the coating gets drawn into the twist of the yarn making it very difficult to release. Factory coatings typically have very little in the way of bond with the fabric. The coatings will just lay on or surround the thread but are not truly impregnated into it. Therefore, the coatings will crack, chip and shear off over time.
What does KoalaCoat #25 look like?
KoalaCoat #25 has an appearance visually to that of regularly coated fabric. Note the pictures below. The picture on the left is porous fabric. Notice how it is possible to see the light through the weave? The picture on the right is the fabric after it has been coated. No defined light (like the lightbulb being used) can be seen through the fabric. That is because all the little holes have been closed up. New balloon fabric looks the same. Click each picture for a higher resolution image.
This picture has a halogen light behind it. The light passing through the fabric is showing all of the leaks from porosity. This fabric is 100% porous.
This is the same halogen light at the edge between coated an coated fabric. Notice the areas where the coating had been installed and where there is none.
This picture is the same halogen bulb shining on coated fabric. If Koala keeps out light, imagine how it work on your porosity.
What does KoalaCoat #25 feel like after it is applied to the fabric?
After KoalaCoat #25 cures, it has a slightly crispy, very springy feeling. In fact, it is difficult to pack away the envelope after it is freshly coated because it wants to spring out. The envelope will also hold air like a new balloon. After about 20 or so flights, that feeling will start to diminish. The balloon will start to get a very nice soft, well worn, favorite old shirt feel. The coating is now broken in. That doesn’t mean that the coating is breaking down. The balloon will continue to be non-porous for at least 100 hours. In fact, we have never seen KoalaCoat #25 treated fabric that ever became porous again, and there are balloons that have had the coating for well over 200 hours.
Does KoalaCoat #25 weaken fabric?
No. Certified tests which are published on our website show that there are no negative effects on either nylon or polyester materials.
Will KoalaCoat #25 lower the operation temperature of the balloon?
No, in fact, there is no melting temperature for KoalaCoat #25. In fact, when testing KoalaCoat #25, our oven temperature regulator failed and the temperature skyrocketed until the heating element failed. Our best estimate is the temperature in the oven exceeded 700 degrees F. The fabric samples charred but the coating held the burned material together and the now very fragile fabric was still completely non-porous.
Will KoalaCoat #25 affect the airworthiness of the aircraft?
Does water affect KoalaCoat #25?
Yes. Moisture will accelerate the cure. On humid summer days, the coating cures much faster. After it cures, the coating repels water (hydrophobic). It will also not support life such as mold or mildew.
Is KoalaCoat #25 flammable?
You betcha! Do not expose the uncured materials to sparks or flame, PERIOD! After it cures, the flammability drops dramatically and is about as flammable as the fabric itself.
Why does the Limitations Sheet state that you can only coat the top 2/3’s of the balloon?
The bottom third of the balloon really does very little for lift. Furthermore, the lower part of the balloon is exposed to flame and for the first few hours of cure, it would be a risk to fly if it was freshly recoated to the mouth.
How much fuel can I expect to save if I use KoalaCoat #25?
It all depends on how much the balloon is using now. Whatever amount the balloon consumed new is how it should perform again. But, most importantly, is not how much fuel you will save in order to save money, rather, the length of time in air time you will be afforded. There is nothing worse than flying and constantly monitoring the fuel gauges because your balloon is sucking down propane at a rapid rate. Fuel management is one of the most important parts of flying. When you run out of fuel, you will stop flying, whether you want to or not.
Can my repair station do the work for me?
No. The approval requires that KoalaCoat #25 be applied by the Owner/Operator of the aircraft. The concept is that it is less expensive to do the work yourself and the owner/operator is responsible for his work.
What is the average cost to coat a balloon with KoalaCoat #25?
For a 77-105 envelope, a good guess would be around $1500-$1800.
Interested in finding out more? Click here to go to the Koala #25 Webpage.