Today there are a few notable hot air balloon designers and manufacturers that are found in the UK and the United States. Apex Balloons is located in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States. This company has been designing and manufacturing hot air balloons since 1998. They design very lightweight balloons and enjoy experimentation. They not only build entire balloons but also have pre-cut kits that a person can purchase and put together themselves. They do customize balloons for individual customers and also offer the option for customers to come and help build their balloons in the shop. Kits do come with a plan and instructions on how to build the balloon.
They offer various shapes and styles of the envelope (bag that hangs above the basket) to accommodate a variety of needs. They do artwork for the envelope in the form of both inlaid or overlaid (appliqué type) and have various fabric types that can be used depending on what the customer wants.
Cameron Balloons is a balloon designer and manufacturer that is located in the United States. They are known for producing good quality balloons, and in fact they even designed and constructed two famous balloons: The Spirit of Freedom balloon that was the first balloon to achieve a solo flight around the world, and the Breitling Orbiter III. The Breitling Orbiter III was also built to circumnavigate the world. They also offer ultra-light and lightweight balloons and also offer a collapsible Nano basket in their Nano balloons. They use special Kevron load tapes to further reduce the overall weight of the balloon.
About 20 years ago, Cameron Balloons invented the special shape balloon envelope. Today they still design such balloons especially for business people since often advertisers want or require a special shape to advertise their product. Cameron designs lightweight and efficient balloons with fabric that is specially treated with a biocidal agent. This treatment is done so as to resist bacterial breakdown of the fabric over time.
Cameron Balloons also designs captive balloons which unlike free floating hot air balloons, remain attached to the ground by a winch and cable system. They have designed several of these captive balloons for various different countries around the world.
Flying Enterprises is a company that is based in the United Kingdom. Flying Enterprises is a company that both designs and constructs various types and sizes of hot air balloons. They can design and build various sizes of balloons from a small size of up to 105,000 cubic feet to a large size of about 400,000 cubic feet. The smaller balloons they usually build are built for advertisers while the larger balloons are built to carry passengers.
Flying Enterprises is a company that also designs artwork. They either print the artwork directly onto the fabric before the envelope fabric is sewn together, or else they add fabric patches separately onto the envelope. They, similar to Cameron Balloons do also design and make balloons with special shaped envelopes, also primarily for advertising purposes.