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Spotlight on the Shadow Burner

Cameron Balloons have now made more than 2800 Shadow Burners and have supplied balloonists all around the globe with this iconic, incredibly robust and reliable hot-air balloon burner.

by Hannah Cameron

Spotlight on the Shadow Burner

The powerful and dependable Cameron Balloons Shadow Burner was first introduced in May 1994

The Shadow is ideal for use in all Cameron Balloons from sea-level up to all levels of normal operation, with no special modifications.

Of course, if you would like to undertake extreme altitude flights or attempt records please contact us - as either with burner modifications or an additional specialised burner unit we can offer all the specific equipment, help and advice you could need.

Main Elements of The Cameron Balloons Shadow Burner Include:

The pilot light (gold handle) dispenses propane which is ignited by the piezo to produce a small, strong flame that stays on during flight. This readily ignites fuel as it is controlled either via the jet-ring, main valve or the whisper jet via control of the whisper valve. The pilot light valve lever has been designed to need to be, slightly depressed when deployed, which prevents accidental switching off in flight. Available in a liquid or vapour self-regulating pilot light option. Later and current models have a two-level filter-system to protect the minuscule jet hole from any fuel debris which enhances long term functionality.

The Main blast valve (red handle) operates the ‘pencil’ like powerful blue main burner flame which when on, is over 5 metres in length, this is ideal for inflating the balloon as well for use during flight. The liquid fuel is drawn from the tank via the hose, vaporised around the burner coil and forced through the precision jets and ignited by the pilot light – this process produces the stunning, powerful, controllable, streamlined flame.

The Whisper valve (blue handle) operates the high-pressure ball-valve, delivering the classic golden flame, ideal for night-glowing and for flying over animals. Despite being the quiet burner option, it delivers over two-thirds of the power of the main burner.

In units with more than 2 burners a ‘crossflow’ central valve (yellow flat handle labelled crossflow) enables fuel from one source to be used for both burners – which provides an extra fuel management option which can be used as required.

With an inbuilt, push-button piezo igniter, which is covered when the pilot light valve is in the off position to prevent accidental sparking.

Simple and fast maintenance, most usually required at 100hours service or annual service.

Leak protection tube, so should your double protection o-rings wear or fail, the leak will not end up in your hand but rather in a controlled small flame at the top of the leak tube indicating the need for some maintenance.

The Shadow burner uses a jet ring where multihole jets have been specifically designed to produce a powerful, slim, high-speed flame.

The pressure gauge fitted to each liquid supply shows fuel pressure at the burner.

Available with a robust, lightweight ‘mono-block’ gimbal system.

No pilot likes hot, dirty condensed water dripping from a burner and the Shadow Burner has a simple, yet very effective system to ensure that that never happens – the ‘slurper’ siphons up any stray moisture and puts it back into the burn area where it is evaporated away.

Also available with pneumatic adjustable height frame with the great advantage that it is safely adjustable with ease, during flight on single or double burners.

Larger models have 8 karabiner attachment points which doubles the safety factor when comparing with some competitor systems.

Pilot choice of squeeze or toggle main burner control valves.

Single, double, triple or quad options – providing suitability for all applications

Available in fixed (welded) corner sockets or flexible corner sockets (these have a further degree of articulation using a jointed system which some prefer or need depending on equipment set-up)

Easily identifiable with the classic cubic shape and the red, blue and gold valve handles.

Great, long-lasting, reliable and fantastic value-for-money, when taking into consideration the cost-per-flight, longevity and resale value.

The Cameron Shadow / Stealth Combination

A shining example of great Cameron Balloons engineering quality

The average 'SINGLE' shadow burner weighs 17kgs and has an output power of 21.6million Btu at 100psi / 6.3Mw using the main and whisper burner and is 99dBA measured at 45cm below the burner

The average 'DOUBLE' shadow burner weighs 24kgs and has an output power of 24million Btu at 100psi / 7.0Mw using the two main burners and is 99dBA measured at 45cm below the burner

Shadow ‘multihole’ Whisper Burner which is incorporated into each Shadow burner has an output power of 9.6million Btu / 2.8Mw at 100psi using the main and whisper burner and is 88dBA measured at 45cm below the burner

*Note these weights are typical but may vary depending on particular product specification or selection of frame

More Top Tips

In flight the burner is connected to two separate cylinders full of liquid propane – which should have been connected, tested immediately before take-off and remained turned on for the duration of the flight.

The pilot light is automatically regulated to keep a constant pilot light flame size regardless of fuel pressure or altitude and has two filters to remove any fuel impurities. ~
~ If you notice a reduction of the pilot light, impurities from the fuel known as ‘heavy ends’ may have got into the pilot light jet - it will need dismantling, cleaning and possibly a pilot light jet replacement – this is a job that needs a formal sign off by an BBAC / CAA or equivalent Inspector.

To improve life of the seals in the blast valve (red handle) and whisper valve (blue handle) lubricate with 0.5ml annually or after every 100hours of service with Cameron KPS125 grease. This is a unique and specialist formula that Cameron Balloons has specifically designed for optimum burner performance.
Please do NOT use any silicone grease or ordinary car or domestic lubricants as they crystallise at high temperatures causing partial or complete fuel blockages.

Use one fuel supply first (this ensures that fuel supplies are not exhausted and require changing at the same time).

3% of cylinder contents will fuel a Shadow vapour pilot light for an hour.

It is therefore usual if you have ‘master’ cylinders to use them after you have used other supplies liquid only supplies*
*In very cold conditions or long duration flights it can be more advantageous to use your master cylinders first, as cylinder pressure is reduced when drawing off vapour over time.

Useful note: The cylinder for a fuel supply should not be used below 25% - so that in an emergency – you have multiple burns at full power should you need them.

Caution – most burners are designed to use liquid propane if vapour propane is used for periods it is likely to overheat and damage the burner.

If you wish to use all the fuel in the tank – once at 5% only use the whisper burner until liquid fuel stops emerging – this also is an attempt not to block any of the tiny jet holes in the jet ring.

Note any vapour fuel left in the tank after that time will not be enough to maintain height.

Please contact for further information or a product trial of the Cameron Balloons Shadow Burner.