Greetings (almost Christmas outside) and a very warm welcome if this is your first visit to our rather eclectic site and thanks for returning if you have been here before. The site is fast turning into a bi-weekly magazine these days but none the less this is primarily all about hot air balloon airworthiness matters with a lot of, we like to think, useful information here and there but, despite being a Part M Subpart F & G Organisation we do have other interests, as do our friends. We are currently in the process of adding another section relating to training which should be up and running in the next few weeks to make finding an instructor or examiner easier. On the article front we are just completing a couple of new ones which we hope will be of interest and should be up as soon as Barry the Boffin returns from delivering chaise-longues to Italy. This editions piccie is Alice’s Charlie being tutored by our John on the finer points of packing away. Now he’s getting too big to send up chimneys we’ve had to find something else for him to do. We’ll soon have on 410s.
It seems the weather is still taking its toll and already we have had to postpone the inspections of a few large ride balloons as a result of freshly waterlogged ground and now strong winds. Snow still lingers on the Chiltern Hills and an attempt to drill the field with spring barley had to be abandoned after about 30 yards. Still the winds should start drying the ground out enough for another attempt to be made this weekend. Very sadly we heard the news that Sean Simmington’s wife Shirley passed away on Saturday. Shirley was the driving force behind organising all the Eccles Hall Balloon Meets and was much loved by us all. The funeral is to be held on Monday 15th April at Norwich Crematorium. Our deepest sympathies go out to Sean and his family. She will be greatly missed.
We have been flat out just recently, not least in the workshop where an influx of cylinders has kept the proof pressure department in full swing. Doesn’t seem like it was ten years ago we started testing cylinders. We usually need a couple of days to turn cylinders round but, by arrangement, we can often do it while you go and walk the route of HS2, enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Black Horse or poke about the antiquey shoppes in Wendover. As a result we haven’t had quite the time we would have liked to put stuff on the website but by the time Barry returns with a trailer load of Limoncello next weekend he’ll have a very full in-tray. Top of the news should have been David Usil and my flight from a very successful Black Horse All Fools Meet but we have been overshadowed by events surrounding the demise of Go Ballooning. Sadly it means many in the industry, including their pilots and crew, and of course those now left with worthless vouchers, will now suffer. Our commiserations to them. Elsewhere P&O ferries have announced a deal for both North Sea and Channel Crossings but their stance on gas in cylinders leaves DFDS ahead of the game. So hopefully we’ll have plenty to go on in a week or so but in the meantime please have a wander round and enjoy the site. Happy flying Chris, Jane and Alice.