Balloon Repair Station

Easy News 21.10.12

Felix Baumgartner’s amazing leap
No doubt you like us watched spellbound as Felix Baumgartner broke pretty much every record for a lone human at the edge of space. We set up the laptop on the bar of the Swan and all watched in awe as he leapt from the capsule 24 miles up breaking the sound barrier 30 seconds later and hitting 834mph (Mach 1.24). Breaths were held as he went into a free fall tumble before regaining control deploying his chute and making a text-book landing near a road. What a star. Large ones all round.

But what happened to his balloon and the capsule? Well there was a retrieve crew of course. Did the pilot help pack it away? No, he was talking to the press there being no farmers nearby.

Once Felix took his truly giant dive for mankind Mission Control continued to check the trajectory of the balloon and capsule and once they were certain it was over open country they released the capsule and its parachute from the balloon. The parachute opened in two stages and the whole thing took about 24 minutes to its landing some 88 kilometres from the site. Called the Red Bull Stratos the capsule was as important to the team as Felix’s actual achievement as it carried a vast array of monitors and cameras which recorded all aspects of the amazing flight. According to Red Bulls’ bloggy site the capsule was in good condition, the seven layers crush pads working as predicted.

At the moment the capsule and its parachute separated from the balloon a cable opened a complete gore releasing the helium. It eventually landed 11 kilometres west of the capsule. The crew of twelve were soon on the scene and checked the capsule and shut down the 15 cameras and retrieved the data. A crew from Sage Cheshire Aerospace then shut down the rest of the systems. They then headed off to get the envelope. Packing away into an open truck the 1,682kg, 40 acre balloon took 45 minutes to load. That’s not bad going.

Seven hours after its launch the capsule and balloon crews arrived back at the Roswell launch site where it was all packed up and taken to the mission's technical centre at Sage Cheshire Aerospace, builders of the capsule, in Lancaster, California. I dare say that in true ballooning tradition the crew then went for a beer or three.

Good pictures of the recovery at http://www.redbullstratos.com and http://shinesquad.me/2012/10/18/red-bull-stratos-felix-baumgartner-capsule-and-balloon-recovery/ Pictures courtesy Red Bull and Jon Wells.

Girls and Boys go out to play
Breaking with recent tradition it seems that the Dunningtons pulled it off again ensuring a fair bit of flying for both the 3rd Annual Women’s Meet and the One Man Meet both held in deepest Welshpool. Nice picture of the Ladies taking off from Powis Castle comes courtesy of Floating Sensations. As for the One Man (and Lady) Meet this is now a well established event and even Team Bish managed to make it up. Sadly we didn’t. Sandy Mitchell kindly sent some pics. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.509283239101025.127426.473864249309591&type=1&l=4d84761b54

European Balloon Company Sold
Kim Hull’s Adventure Balloons have bought the European Balloon Company. Started many years ago by Ted Moore and operated from the Black Horse at Great Missenden EBC has remained, throughout, a family run business. With the rapid approach of even more EU nonsense (and the wish to actually retire) Ted has taken the decision to sell while they are still ahead. With the success of their Sri Lankan based business there is more than enough for Chief Pilot Justin Moore to get on with. Justin will continue to fly the EBC balloons on a part time basis when he is back in the UK. EBC ticket holders will be unaffected by the sale and all the advertised launchsites remain. Until further notice all the existing contact numbers and website remains in place.

Welsh Floating Sensations New Website up and running
A new website is up and running for Floating Sensations, Floating over Wales and also on the Face-stuff thingy. Although mainly flying in and around the beautiful Towy valley in Carmarthenshire, taking off from sites near the ancient market town of Llandeilo on the edge of the Brecon Beacons they were spotted flying from Powis Castle as part of the Women’s Meet. Run by Heaven Crawley and Paul Dopson with pilots David and Jonathan Smith they can provide rides for 2 or a maximum of 11 and are based in Llandeillo. For further information go to www.floatingoverwales.co.uk or call 01558 822827.

Camerons go bonkers
As it is now traditionally the quiet season for the balloon manufacturers Cameron Balloons are now offering up to 15% extra off new balloons. Of course this applies only to certain models either built for stock or to your own specification. Camerons seem to be using the Ryanair approach stating that,
‘The number of complete balloons, envelopes and bottom ends (and the level of extra extra discounts) available is controlled by demand. So as our workload increases the available discounts will naturally decrease. We don’t expect to have spare capacity for long with savings of this size on offer, so please don’t delay in giving us a call, or you can e-mail: sales@cameronballoons.co.uk'

Black Horse News
The Black Horse is all singing dancing and hunky dory with good grub and fine ale once again. The ambiance is most pleasant. Meanwhile the Black Horse Ballooning Club has already held its first club night in the re-vamped pub and all the reports were brilliant. Seems the Doombar was very smooth. The Club is holding its AGM on 30th November in the Dining Room at The Chiltern Hospital starting at 8.00pm smart, back to the pub afterwards.

Lindstrand Balloon Twitters
Lindstrand Balloons is now on Twitter (and Face-ache apparently). To join in with all their frivolity and news go to www.lindstrand.co.uk and scroll down to the bottom of the home page where the links are. I’m sure there are other ways to do it! We had a go and lo and behold there is a smashing piccie of the new Rize Up balloon now operating in Timna Park, Israel where the balloon festival of a similar name was recently held. We understand that there are still a few stock balloons available for the private pilot but you’ll need to hurry.

Cameron Ground School Dates Announced
The next Cameron ground school weekend for trainee hot-air balloon pilots will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18, 2012. Their intensive and very comprehensive course features intensive tuition on all written subjects required for the pilot licence followed by examinations.
The cost is £185.00, and a £50 deposit is required to secure one of the few places that remain available. The next course will be in Spring 2013.
For full details please contact Hannah Cameron on 0117 9637216 or by e-mail: hcameron@cameronballoons.co.uk

50 Shades of EASA
Although very unlikely to become a best-seller EASA have now published the revised editions of the critically acclaimed revised editions of Part-M and Part-145 which can be purchased for loads of money to help EASA’s underpaid staff. Fortunately they can be ordered and paid for online from the EU Bookshop (not a patch on Blackwells) on the Technical Publications webpage at http://easa.europa.eu/technical-publications without the need to speak to any EASA personnel.

These updated versions include Amending Regulation 593/2012 as well as the latest Decisions. You will thrilled to hear that the format is consolidated in such a way that each rule paragraph is followed by its Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM), all aimed to confuse. Ever an Organisation whose rules are open to interpretation you may choose between the handbook which comes with a CD attached to its back cover, or the separate CD. The handbook has been adjusted to the standard size of A5 to facilitate the inclusion of potential amendment pages of which there are bound to be plenty. The CD contains the hyperlinked and bookmarked PDF of the publications, as well as the relevant word forms where you will be unable to find any correct information or understand the bollix written there.

We are also informed another sensual Technical Publication, Part-66, has been published since July this year. It is also available as a ringbook with CD attached, or as a standalone CD. This is great as EASA have absolutely no idea how Part 66 will operate. Consider this as a work of fiction and not worth the paper its printed on as by now it will be mainly out of date and it will take a fortnight to update by which time it will be out of date again. Apparently Further Technical Publications are investigated within its pages and may include Part-21. Or it may not. Just depends. EASA state that “We are looking into the possibility of providing amendment pages in the near future”. Well that says it all.

The printed handbook including CD costs 18 €, and the separate CD costs 12 €. The CD works well if hung on a stick over the vegetable plot. Cut in half it makes a good ice scraper for the windscreen. If you have questions about anything EASA, please write to technical_publications@easa.europa.eu as they at least have the reference books. I don’t think they are available through Amazon or on the Kibble. Enjoy.

And for a bit of niceness
It’s not often balloons are able to fly over the centre of an active air port but……. On a recent balloon flight over Hampshire passengers on an Adventure Balloons' hot air balloon flight had their own private Farnborough Air Show as the balloon flew right over the centre of the airfield at about tea time on a September evening. With planes both landing and taking off their balloon had to keep to an accurate height for the aircraft to manoeuvre safely around it. As well as the spectacle of passengers jets close up, their passengers got a bird's eye view the wind tunnel used in the design of Concorde and the Farnborough Aircraft Research Centre on the north west side of the airfield. After an hours flight from their Winchfield launch site the  flight eventually ended just north west of Guildford and the Hogs Back. Nice one Farnborough.

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