Balloon Repair Station

Easy News 07.01.13

Rumour Control congrats
Congratulations go to Cameron Balloons’ Colin Wolstenholme who swapped his red cap for a top hat and married Julia Bayly on Christmas Eve whilst we all travelled upto Gretna Green for our Mary’s wedding to Farmer Jay. Congratulations to both couples.

And while we’re at it, about weddings US style…
It is, of course, a bit of American news hype that, no doubt, in years to come, will be a ‘feature’ in a ‘how a wedding dream nearly ended in disaster’ featuring the jerky camera shots, lost cell phone and screams from the cast! After missing a couple of landing sites (manicured golf course included) ‘the pilot directed the balloon towards a yard in the 13100 block of Avenida del General in Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego’ and arrived, rather firmly, on a bit of scrub which unfortunately appeared to slope downhill. The ensuing bounce and final touchdown ending in a back garden with the envelope over a tree and roof. No injuries to the 14 passengers were reported (or damage to the house) and it was comforting to see the bride and groom (still holding a rose) smiling at the end. For the owners’ take on the incident check out They blame the ‘urban sprawl’ reducing landing areas! Brilliant, only in America.

Rain stop play
True to form for most events in 2012 Lenny and Helen Vaughan’s Mince Meet got well and truly winded and rained out, not to mention the surrounding area being waterlogged, so sadly no flying but the lunchtime gathering, on Sunday 30th at the recently refurbished Black Horse at Mobwell, was deemed a resounding success. There was a great turnout and much banter and rumour-mongering ensued. As they say ‘if you weren’t there then you were talked about!’ The Black Horse has been very tastefully updated and the beer was most palatable. Outside, although rather academic considering the weather, the garden and facilities have been tied up and fencing put up to prevent dogs and children escaping into the road. The new menu is simple and the food really good. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Black Horse Balloon Club and it is hoped an event or two will be organised to celebrate. Watch this space.

Icicle result – Dante 2 Weather 1
The first meeting we have been to this year seems to have resulted in a respectable victory for the 41st Icicle Balloon Meet in that the Saturday saw 14 flying from Warren Farm in the morning with a few more in the afternoon. Unfortunately low cloud, fog, mist, call it what you will, prevented flying on the Sunday but a few hardy souls tethered or hopped across the new launchfield which, despite the waterlogged fields around about, was remarkably dry. Most of the flights ended up on Hungerford Common on the Saturday and no problems or bogged-in balloons were reported. We were very honoured to provide the speech for the evening meal at the acclaimed Elcot hotel and can report that the food and company were excellent. The trade stands were there as usual with Cameron, Ultramagic and Kubicek showing off their wares and even late Sunday afternoon there were still plenty of visitors about. At the prizegiving on Sunday Pete Bish confirmed that the next briefing would be a 0800 on 4th January 2014 at Warren Farm. Should be a full report elsewhere.

Historic Special Shapes for sale
Two of the most iconic special shapes are up for sale. Registered in Switzerland ‘The Hut’ (Colt Flying Hut cn1828) and ‘Shuttlecock’ (cn1938) are on the market. Both balloons were built by Thunder&Colt in Oswestry. We inspected them some years ago now prior to them flying at Chateau d’Oex and they were like new. Full details on the Zebedee List

Sackville Syndicate launch date confirmed
Tim Wilkinson has now got just about everything into place with regards to his cost cutting bottom end sharing syndicate. He does admit that he may have gone slightly OTT on this idea. This is what he has got together so far. Four baskets, six burners, fifteen tanks (masters and slaves), five fans, two trailers (one more to come), fire extinguishers, altimeters, varios, drop lines and two full tether kits. Insurance has been sorted with Bennetts for three bottoms ends to fly at any time with as many envelopes and pilots as required. So Tim has now sorted the insurance and paperwork and the bottom ends and Easy Balloons will sort all the paper work ready to add the equipment to your balloon envelope. This paper work will allow your envelope to be able to match any of his bottom end equipment. Tim explained,
“Well here it is for the new season flying. When you want to fly you can take any one of the three bottoms ends and fly. There is gas on site with a meter to know how many litres are used. You can store your envelope here or at home. Any bottom end can be taken away at any time to events and maybe with other members to share cost and experience. Anyone is welcome to join in this from new pilots who want to learn, to pilots with lots of experience and were about to pack up because its getting too expensive. Your expertise in particular would be of great help and value to all of us.

Costs are your CofA for your own envelope, £600 this cost includes use of the three complete bottoms ends , Insurance for your balloon to an agreed value with an agreed excess payment on any one accident and passengers, up to pilot plus three. Size of balloons 60 to 120.
The benefits are more people enjoying ballooning, more members getting into ballooning and a chance for new people to start ballooning. Think of it this way, rather than sell your complete balloon just sell the bottom end releasing capital and then join the syndicate. £600 a year is far less than most people pay for their insurance! I have four people so far and ideally need about seven to cover direct costs before repair and maintenance. We will see how it work after twelve month to whether the scheme carries on. If interested please call ask as many questions as you like. We need ground crews as well to join in and be part of the fun. Helping to launch balloons and retrieve, often away at weekends, meeting other balloonists, camping, great locations around the countryside and abroad. You may end up learning to fly, a lot of people just enjoy being with balloons and a great way for a young family on a budget to enjoy the countryside.” 07774 291283(m) 01234 708877(h) Email

Chiltern Region into 2013
Chiltern Region Balloon Club has a new Chairman in John Tyrell who has taken over from Barry Newman. A new post of Training Officer has been created ahead of the growing part the Chiltern Region plays in training up new pilots and crew. Jamie Edwards from Northampton fills the new post already having trained up a number of crew and pilots. Always being ready to help and assist and, of course flying more than some commercial pilots, he will be a great asset to the Club. They are already looking at running a Landowner Seminar on Saturday 23rd March (details tbc) and plans are underway for their popular Maypole Weekend on 17th-19th May. The final details are yet to be confirmed. If you fancy coming along to their next social evening, Sausage and Mash Night, it will be at The Bull in Olney on Tuesday 29th January.
For further details please contact

Grass Roots 2012 CD Video thingy out
KRT Digital Sport (ah ha that’ll be a DVD then!) have justv released their DVD of the Grass Roots Meet 2012. If you were there you will probably be on it. If you inflated your balloon you will be on it. The film (or whatever the electrics are called) quality is exceedingly good and it covers all the slots along with the rusty inflations and the early morning night flight that woke everyone up somewhat prematurely. It is introduced by Ultramagic’s Richard Penney and then is all pretty much set to music of the off-the-shelf DVD type, acceptable but no mind-blowing. Certainly a ‘must have’ historical record. The DVD is available through their website for £9.95 plus postage. KRT have also produced a DVD of the Bristol Balloon Festival 2011 available for the same price. We met up with Kevin te Camera and he told us Bristol 2012 was in progress and should be ready for release pretty soon. They also made one for the Icicle 2013, hopefully the music be be a bit more wacky considering the number of hoppers present. They can be contacted through their website or email

BBAC Inspector returns due
A reminder from the BBAC Chief Technical Officer that renewal fees along with returns for all BBAC Inspectors is due by 31st January. The renewal fee for UK-based Inspectors is £40 plus VAT depending on the privileges of your rating. Contact Graham Hallett at