Ultramagic Airworthiness Update TCDS BA.014 to Rev 15
Just in case you missed the News Update please be advised that the Ultramagic HAB’ TCDS BA.014 has gone Revision 15 and has just been issued by EASA. This latest issue introduces the combinations of Ultramagic equipment approved by the Agency the 12th June 2012, concerning C-4 baskets with size 77 envelopes and C-1 baskets with size 42 and 56 envelopes. It increases the range of various baskets that can be used with existing envelopes. This information is more important to inspectors carrying out Reviews. If you need to file it somewhere download it from.
The full updated list of EASA TCDSs are at: http://easa.europa.eu/certification/type-certificates/balloons.php
Go Ballooning – No Ballooning
After months of rumours and speculation, Wiltshire-based, Go Ballooning called in the receivers on Thursday 4th April and have now, along with Cameron Balloon Flights (Southern), ceased trading. Several other trade names are operated by the company, including Horizon Ballooning and High Adventure Balloons. In a statement on its website Go Ballooning said that ‘it was deeply saddened with the decision’ and that ‘it was working with its liquidator to formulate a solution for customers’. The British Association of Balloon Operators (BABO), the UK trade body for commercial hot air balloon operators, said, ‘it had received an unacceptably high number of complaints about Go Ballooning’ and that it had been of the opinion that ‘for some considerable time’ that the company’s business model was ‘seriously flawed’. Neither Go Ballooning nor Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd is a member of BABO.
Over the past couple of years Go Ballooning have repeatedly lowered their prices for balloon rides to an extent that many in the industry regarded as unsustainable. In an attempt to maintain sales other Ride Operators were forced into dropping their prices accordingly eventually forcing many to sell out or retire. This resulted in the UK having some of the lowest prices for a balloon flight in the World. It is understood that Go Balloonings’ Terms and Conditions had already received the attention of Trading Standards and that as a result changes were ordered however, it now appears that, allegedly, a very large part of their business model was based on non-redemption of vouchers. Discussions had been ongoing between Go Ballooning and a number of other Ride Operators in an attempt to sell the business but all attempts fell through. It is thought that Go Ballooning currently have in excess of 20,000 unflown passengers and there may be more holding vouchers in their sister company Go Vouchers, formed last year and which has now stopped offering Balloon Flight Vouchers. Meanwhile balloon manufacturer Cameron Balloons are reported as currently having four new envelopes in build for PSH Skypower, another of the Hossack companies which is also still trading. For the past week the Go Ballooning website has had the following message displayed, ‘We are currently upgrading our systems and reservation portal. Please visit us back on Friday 5th April. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused.’ It appears that the site is now closed. It seems likely that many voucher holders and those that have booked flights through Go Ballooning will lose their flights.
The latest statement from Go Ballooning reads,
‘The Company is deeply saddened to advise that after successfully trading for over 25 years and flying many tens of thousands of customers we have had to take the very difficult decision to cease trading. The company has been and will continue to work with the liquidator to attempt to formulate a solution for customers. This site will be updated on Tuesday 9th April with further information http://www.goballooning.co.uk/.’
Aside from all those that have booked with Go Ballooning we extend our sympathies to all those formally employed by Go Ballooning and those in the industry who will now no doubt suffer as a result of the collapse of Go Ballooning and Cameron Balloon Flights (Southern). Although the companies pilots and crews received high accolade from the passengers they did fly, complaints against the company itself and its practises were numerous and even resulted in a Facebook site being set up last year, http://www.facebook.com/ididntgoballooning, which makes for interesting reading.
Cameron Balloon Flights (Southern) have no connection with Bristol-based balloon manufacturers Cameron Balloons Ltd.
British Association of Balloon Operators (BABO) Statement
News has been released confirming that Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd, trading primarily as Go Ballooning (www.goballooning.co.uk), has ceased trading and has entered voluntary liquidation.
Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd is not a member of the BABO which is the UK trade body representing the interests of commercial hot air balloon operators, and it has a strict code of conduct to which members must adhere.
For some considerable time, the BABO committee has been of the opinion that Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd’s business model was seriously flawed, and drew to the directors’ attention as far back as November 2010 the unacceptably high number of passenger complaints BABO was receiving with regard to their operation. Furthermore, since mid-July 2011 BABO have had several conversations and correspondence with Wiltshire Trading Standards regarding concerns over the level of customer complaints pertaining to Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd, however Wiltshire Trading Standards felt there was no further action required on their behalf.
We deeply regret the distress and financial penalty suffered by customers, staff and suppliers who may have lost money with Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd, but can only emphasise that this company was not a member of our association and therefore operated outside of our trade body’s control. We would always urge members of the public to ensure that they only book a balloon flight with companies who are members of BABO. Please visit www.babo.org.uk for details of member companies.
Other trading names and website addresses used by Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd include:
Horizon Ballooning (www.horizonballooning.co.uk)
Grange Air Balloon Flights (www.hotairballoonflights.co.uk)
High Adventure Balloons (www.high-adventure.co.uk)
Devon & Somerset Balloons (www.devonandsomersetballoons.co.uk)
Espiritu Balloon Flights (www.espiritu-balloonflights.co.uk)
Dragon Balloon Company (www.dragonballoon.co.uk)
Diving helmet sunk without trace
Does anyone remember the Coastal Challenge trophy? Once seen never forgotten as this coveted trophy was a rather spectacular brass divers helmet and was awarded to the pilot landing closest to the tidal high water mark. Somewhere in the mists of time this has become a missing item, reports the Pennine Region Balloon Association, and they would like it back please. Also disappeared is the original Trans-Pennine Challenge Trophy. “Is it sitting in pride of place on your mantelpiece, or on the cistern of the downstairs loo?” asks Elaine Smith, adding “If anyone knows the whereabouts of either or both of these two items, please drop me a line, anonymously on the back of a postcard if preferred!”
We won the Helmet some years ago by accident not knowing that we’d landed on the high tide mark of a river but have checked the potting shed and its not there. The PRBA have stated that they may choose not to repatriate these items if found to the Club, especially if the current keeper can give a good enough reason not to give it or them back, but, whatever, deep down they would love to know what happened to them.
Bad weather wipes out Events (again!)
Snow wind and general weather has once again put the kibosh on a couple of events. Not a good start we fear. The Chiltern Region Landowner Relations Seminar was postponed as Olney in Bucks vanished under snowdrifts whilst further north heavy rain and threats of five inches of snow put paid to the Ripon Primrose Fly out from Ripon Racecourse 24th March. Elaine Smith of the Pennine Region told us, “Thanks to all those who were considering joining us on Sunday. We may consider another one day fly out later in the year but for now please check out our other meets.”
Chiltern Regions’ John Tyrrell added, “Unfortunately due to the snow we had to postpone the LR Seminar but we will advise a new date as soon as we can and just hope for better weather”.
If words aren’t enough Richard ‘kipper’ Gyslynck from the Isle of Man sent this piccie of the local Police speed camera van practising for TT Week!
Hastings Flyout – 21st July
Mark Neal writes that the hastings Flyout is all set to go from a massive field on top of a cliff in Hastings, Sussex. This friendly flyout to coincide with Hastings Pirate Day which sees over 15,000 flock to the town, so this is ideal if you have a sponsored balloon. This is a great area to fly albeit close to the sea so wind direction (unless you’ve got a wish to fly to France making it a reverse 1066 then) will be the governing factor. If you would like to attend please email Mark at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
P&O Ferry Discount
News in from P&O Ferries that they are offering a 10% discount on all Short Sea Routes with no cancellation fees or amendment fees applying. If you turn up for the sailing before or after the sailing on which you are booked booked there is no additional charge however, if the price is higher then you will need to pay the difference.
Additionally on North Sea Routes a 15% discount is offered (Vans under 6m in length and 2.4m in height sailing on Hull- Rotterdam book via support team 08716 648005 for the same price as a car). Cancellation fees do apply depending when they cancel but again there are no amendment fees unless the price is higher you when will need to pay the difference.
Both offers are bookable until 21st September 2013 with travel between 1st July 2013 and 6th October 2013.
Account number for Short Sea Route is 94028
Account number for North Sea Route is 96027
The offers are ONLY bookable via the P&O Call Centre telephone number 08716 646464 (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras. Calls from mobiles will be higher).
Customers travelling with VANS (under 6.5m) on P&Os HULL-ROTTERDAM route need to contact our customer support department on 08716 648005. All vans on North Sea, irrespective their dimensions, will be charged at approx £220 per vehicle each way, on all days of week, however, on their Hull-Rotterdam route only, they will allow, exclusively for AIR BALLOON CLUBS, any VAN under 2.4m high and 6.0m long to travel at our normal car prices (plus payment of normal applicable overlength/overheight surcharges) representing a saving of up to 60% (depending travel date)! Customers wishing to make use of this special VAN Offer on the Hull-Rotterdam route need to phone their customer support department at 08716 648005 (Monday to Friday 09:00-17:30hrs – Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras. Calls from mobiles will be higher).
VANS on HULL-Zeebrugge and Short Sea do not qualify for this offer and can be booked through our CALL CENTRE (08716 646464). Vans over 6.5m length These vans will be charged the applicable freight rate and can only be booked by our freight department.
P&O’s policy on the carriage of gas states that as Hot Air Balloons with up to 47kg of gas are now exempt from IMDG regulations can travel under a tourist ticket. A gas cylinder for Hot Air Balloons generally has a capacity of 45/60 ltr so in practice they would be allowed to take one cylinder. This must be declared at the time of booking and also at check-in. Partially full or empty cylinders which have not been purged will be treated as full. If they are travelling with more than 47kg then they are classed as freight. So, in jolly simple English, one cylinder and everything else purged.