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Aerocene Istanbul

Maristella Svampa

It was a super sunny and hot day in Istanbul. We took a taxi with Aerocene Explorer to the Moda Shores. The man on the radio was telling that those days were the hottest days of last 90 years.

We arrived Moda. Emre and Bihter were waiting for us, and then Hakan joined us. We were five: me, Elif, Emre, Bihter and Hakan. We are all part of Herkes İçin Mimarlik (Architecture for All). I gave all the information to the group; actually, it is a non-profit organisation, which is looking for the democratic design process. When we opened the explorer, we were so excited. Bihter read and watched materials last night. We were next to the sea; because of the mist islands are not so visible.

We started to fill the air inside, we were running on the shore. People are looking at us, a black object sounds like a trash bag. What is this? We tried once, twice… And we did the knot. Now we are waiting for floating. Hakan has lots of experiences with the kites, he took over the control. And we all trusted him, Elif and Emre were documenting all the progress. Bihter and I were trying to help to Hakan to be a guide for him.

Then it started to float. Bikers, runners, they were coming to us and asking what this is: Why are you flying this? I explained all of them all the concept, this is floating without any fuel, only air and sun. There was a security guy, he came to me. Actually, there is a state of emergency now, and we are floating a big black balloon. I did not think about it, he asked to same questions, and I explained to him like all the others. And then he asked that “Is there no hydrogen right?” “No, no hydrogen” “Are you doing an experiment?” “Not a real one, it seems like.” He was ok in the end, even he came and joined us.

There was another man when we were getting higher and higher. He came and started to ask questions about the material, balloon, wind loads etc. He is a sailor, that’s why he knows the wind. He really liked the Aerocene, he took pictures of the newspaper. He joined us for a while.

The thing we did not think before is the direction of the wind. I was thinking it is going to fly on the water. But it did not, it went to the trees and apartments. I cannot imagine what those people think. Could you imagine that you wake up in the morning to sunny day, you walked into your living room to watch the Bosphorus, the sea. And there is a black object on the air.

The rope sticks on the tree, we tried a couple of things to get it over from this.

“Ok let’s wait to get higher.”

“Tight! Tight!”

“Loose, loose.”

“Ok now it is sunny it is getting higher.”

I went to the up to see whats going on here, and I met with an old lady. She also asked the same questions, I explained to her again. Her face is natural and she said to me “You should not fly this here”. I was trying to understand she is nervous or not but then she completed “you can try a bit further, there is stadium maybe you can make it there” The stadium, which she said one of the biggest football stadium in the Istanbul. I said “yes, sure. ”

Finally, the explorer was on the earth again, now is the packaging part. We packaged everything, it is getting a bit long to understand how to fold, where is the middle where is the corner, but in the end, it was done.

Our first tethered flight experience was excellent. We were five, but we became 10-15 people during the flight. It was a sunny day, and we were with the friends thinking about the future, being part of the big community around the world. We are looking forward the future flight to Istanbul, maybe free flight next time!