A DIFFERENT WAY FORWARD – The Ultimate balloon Syndicate - Tim ‘Sackville’ Wilkinson
The costs of ballooning going up by the day and the complications of keeping the things in the air are just two reasons the numbers taking up the sport are dwindling. Sackville Tim has put his thinking cap on and come up with a rather clever but obvious idea. He has already purchased a fair amount of equipment and got detailed costs from the insurers. Have a read through and you never know this may be exactly the solution we need. If you want to join or help please let him know.
Just have a look around and we see clubs struggling and membership taking a big hit. Far from the good old days when life was easy and before mass commutation destroyed our fragile social structure. There is always a silver lining to every cloud just need to have a good look and a very large imagination and some lateral thinking, so here goes;
The cost of running a balloon has got expensive, lots of balloons left in garages neglected, mainly bottoms ends along with trailers and all the ancillary equipment to go with it. Members getting older and failing medicals but still with that sparkle of life and a vast experience level, and surprise, a very enthusiastic younger Group who cannot support a private balloon. For young families with other commitments ballooning is a great chance for them to get those young kids out in the fresh air, cheap weekend breaks out in the countryside. What a fantastic opportunity we have but no one can see it
Get at least three complete bottom ends and all ancillary bits , my thoughts are there are many older ex or current members out there will happily lend this gear out for the Group free or even better join in the Group. Now CofA these bottoms end and have a three balloon flying at once insurance policy to cover the Group and all the envelopes. That is where the cost savings come from. Now those wishing to fly in the Group say six or eight purchase their own envelope their own pride and joy and get the envelope CofA to have the three bottom end matched up to the envelope . Now when you want to fly just put the envelope in your car collect one of the trailers within the Group, some members who will crew, all join in and have a great time. There would be very little access problems as not everyone can have time off, family commitment, work etcetera. If one wants to go to Metz still there would still be two others at home to fly. If two or three want to go say Metz or anywhere else, one bottom end and two to four can take their own envelopes and all join in. The Group could have an old balloon to let PUT’s learn on until they buy their own envelope also, if someone damages their own they can still carry on flying the old one. This would be better run by one member not a committee. While I sit here typing with two fingers (it’s quicker), this ideas throws up many more possibilities, in fact it’s just brilliant. If you live in the city, you would only have to store your envelope or maybe the Group has storage. Only need to get in the car wiz out and fly.
I sat down and went through the cost, the what if! I went through cost of running a new balloon and a cheap older balloon. Group member cost at £600 a year and bring your own envelope plus gas the ten hours a year average private pilots fly the pilot gets his flying at less than half price. You would have to fly over 40 hours to get the same value as a private operated balloon. So low hour per annum or PUT this Group idea may well be your answer. Keep the older members flying, encourage more flying, more members, more PUT’s, better club attendance and a good way to introduce new balloonists to this sport. Chiltern cClub have new members joining and a fresh enthusiasm and with the knowledge of the past are now looking to the future, you have to reinvent your selves just like a caterpillar.
Well that’s my idea. Place your comments on the BBAC forum if you are a member or contact me directly and we can work on the fine detail. If you want to join Sackville Group I am nearly there to put this idea into action. I have the equipment gas and ability to store everything. There is also a van for those without a trailer ticket. It can take two balloons in it and a trailer behind. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say, the ingredients are very tasty and a good chef cooking it may just make it work. Mustn’t leave it in the oven to long or it will get burnt.
Those interested please contact me now by email or phone. No actual commitment yet as we need to get enough together to make it viable. If you have more ideas and advantages to input let’s have them. Think this is a good idea want more detail for your own Group? Call me. Tel;01234708877 or firstname.lastname@example.org