Balloon Repair Station

EB News 03.01.12

New UK Ultramagic Representative

Shock horror, that very nice Tim Revel (35) has decided that after 28 years of involvement in ballooning is retiring from the sport but, commented his wife, not from his building business. Tim started flying with Norman Apsley’s lot back in 1984 where he met Hilary, Norman’s daughter, who became his wife shortly after. In no time he managed to get his licence and quickly moved on to get a sponsor (Computeraid) and start his own Passenger Rides Business, Humbug Balloons, which they ran for 12 years. Not content with that he then started working with Ultramagic Balloons and with help from his missus became their highly respected UK representative.

Tim is officially handing over to Richard Penney, who hails from Basingstoke, at the Icicle Meet on January 7th. He is an experienced pilot and holds a PPL and CPL Group B licence flying privately and for the European Balloon Company. He is also the proud owner of a couple of Ultramagic balloons, including a Racer.

Contact details for Richard are to follow but in the meantime Tim and Hilary wish to thank all their valued customers for their support over the years and assure them that Richard is more than up to the job. It is rumoured that Tim will be pursuing his long term passion for abseiling and Hilary will be spending more time with her treasured bonsai trees.

Cameron Balloons Issue New Maintenance Manual
Cameron Hot Air Balloons have issued Maintenance Manual Issue 10-Amendment 3. This became effective on 21st December 2011. It has been comprehensively rewritten amongst which the cylinder lifing bit has been removed and the PRV lifing revised. There are a lot of subtle changes so it does need reading.

As Road Transportation of flight cylinders and flight cylinders in aircraft are two very different fields Camerons have put a pretty straightforward bit of advice in which, with the removal of lifing in respect to airworthiness, must be noted.

Note: The use, including handling, transportation and filling, of transportable gas cylinders manufactured prior to 2004 could be prohibited by legislation (e.g. ADR, RID, ADN) in many countries unless the cylinder has been reassessed for conformity against accepted design/manufacturing standards (e.g. pi‐marked).

The owner/operator of the cylinder is responsible for establishing if compliance is required and ensuring that compliance is maintained. Cameron Balloons Ltd. is unable to provide advice on this matter and local guidance should be sought in the country of operation.

This new amendment includes the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for all Cameron, Thunder & Colt and Sky hot air balloons and Cameron Balloons recommend it should be adopted as soon as practicable.

It can be downloaded from Cameron Balloons in two forms;

As a complete Manual

Updated Pages only:

If that doesn’t work then go to Cameron’s website ( and click on Technical followed by Balloons then Flight and Maintenance Manuals where you can select what you need.

Updated Supplements and an Omnibus Flight Manual amendment will follow in 2012.

For further information contact Cameron Balloons tel: +44 (0) 117 963 7216

Indian Balloon Accident in Kutch India
Report just in of a balloon accident in India that occurred on the 1st January 2012. The Times of India reckoned that initial reports ‘suggested that eight persons were injured when a hot air balloon, a new attraction at the annual Desert Festival this year, burst soon after take off in Dhordo village here. The incident occurred when the balloon was a few meters above the ground, police said. As the balloon burst, the people travelling in it came crashing down.

Eight persons were injured in the incident and have been admitted to the G K General hospital in district headquarters Bhuj, they said. An Inquiry has been initiated into the reasons behind the mishap, police said.

A slightly contradictory version of the report comes from Desh Gujarat.

Bhuj, 1 January 2012
A hot air balloon today crashed while landing at Dhordo tent city in Kutch. The accident happened at around 8.00 in the morning on Sunday and caused minor injuries to 10 tourists, including some ladies.

When contacted, district Collector M.Thennarasan told DeshGujarat that the incident happened at the time of landing of one of the balloons in the morning at around 8.00. He said the tourists faced minor injuries and were given medical treatment.

According to sources, the balloon crashed while landing due to over weight.

Some of those injured are taken to a hospital in Bhuj for further treatment.

It should be mentioned here that Gujarat’s Kutch district is witnessing a 38-day long Rann Utsav near Dhordo village just next to the white rann of Kutch. Gujarat Tourism has introduced hot air balloon ride this year during the Rann utsav. There are total nine balloons active here, operated by Delhi based Tiger Balloon Safaris.

It would seem then to be a bit of an arrival rather than landing. There are very few ride balloons operating in India, in fact there are very few balloons in India, so any balloon related news is big news. The video of the Police Chief would suggest they are not too worried!

Actually there is a brilliant bit on YouTube from 2009 about an Indian chair balloonist with a write up that makes brilliant reading. Well worth a look. India looks like the place to go for that odd one-off ballooning project then. Hmmmmmm!!

I was inspired by the Larry Walters, who did the ballooning on July 2nd, 1982 with 45 helium filled balloons. He took along water, a parachute and a portable CB radio to alert air traffic to his presence. I wanted to do something like him from last 9 years with an aim in my mind to help our society. I have not any professional training in flying but I always dreamed to fly in blue sky. I studied by myself on Google and managed everything which was required for flying.

On Nov 14th, 2009, crew stated preparation in an open ground around midnight. All my friends and family members were encouraging me and were helping me to create my homemade aircraft. On Nov 15th 2009, everything was ready by 8.00 am. It was really cold with a dense fog all over the ground. Wind speed was about 13 km/h. I had planned to fly around 8.30 am but it was delayed due to bad weather. I was waiting for the clear weather with good visibility. I was too desperate to fly. Every min was passing like an hour. I was surrounded by the village peoples and news channels crew. All villagers were wondered to see huge balloons. I had chat with them. They had also arranged tea and cookies for us. By passing time, sky was going to clear enough. I again checked gas level and other arrangements. Two 16 ft. balloons were needed to refill again to carry enough weight. Around 12.00 noon, weather was clear enough but wind speed was still around 8-10 km/h. At last, I decided to fly with the current conditions.

On Nov 15th, 2009 I took flight on homemade stuff. That consist a chair which I took from my dads office with five PVC made hydrogen filled balloons attached with a rope, which keep them straight up length wise. It was about 90 feet. I was using different sizes of balloons, all of them were able to carry different amount of weight. Two 16 feet balloons, two 14 feet balloons and one 12 feet balloon were able to pick up my weight, parachute, chair, GPS, CB radio, ropes, water bottles etc., in short all necessary equipments required for flying. I was sitting on the chair. Crew took me to the other end of the ground to save me from the close power cables. They had loosened the rope with big cheer to let me fly. After waiting such a long, I was flying in the sky. That was my life time achievement.

I had no control on the directions and was flying uncontrollable with the wind. All I could do was to use the gas valves attached with the balloons to decrease altitude. I checked altitude meter at 500 m of height. I was going upward slowly. I relaxed for a while. Everything under and above my chair was beautiful. I have no words to express by feelings. I tried to check heading direction but failed because my chair was moving slowly anti clock wise. I rose up to an altitude of 1200 meters (around 3937 feet). Here, I decided to decrease the altitude to pull the cable which can open the gas valve. I was finding difficult to open the gas valve because the cables were twisted around the ropes and made it harder to pull. I opened one gas valve to reduce the speed. I was going down slowly. After few minutes, I had an accident. I noticed that something comes off from the balloon. I turned off the gas valve. I took a while to know that the hook used to tie up the rope with balloon comes off because ropes get stretched while revolving. Gas started leaking due to the open space. I closed the gas valve and read altitude. It was less than 200m. I could not take the risk of jumping from the chair. I was worried that parachute may not deploy at this height. I saw people running towards my direction. I dropped 200 ft long rope towards ground for the people on ground to hold. I didnt want wind to drag me to another place. I had passed the power cables and hit the ground during landing. Wind dragged me towards the gate of one of the villager house. I hit the gate and hold it tightly until the villagers came to help. Someone tied up the rope with the tree. All the surrounding people helped me to manage everything after landing. I was amazed to see that one of the chair legs was broken and another one was bending towards one side. Emergency landing was due to accident but I had some scratches instead of serious injury. THANK GOD.

I am really thankful to my family members, friends and close ones, who helped me a lot to turn my dream into reality. I wanted to collect and donate money through this adventure for HIV/AIDS patients. I wish to do something new again to help HIV/AIDS patients.