Balloon Repair Station

News 15.04.13

Important Technical bit – CBL Special Shapes update.

The Cameron Special Shape (SS HAB) TCDS BA.012 was updated on 04/04/13 to BA 012. revision 21. This is the addition of, interestingly, an AX56-Series 1 1/SP1 from 1978 and something called Skywhale-110. This comes shortly after the Lindstrand Special Shape TCDS BA.120 SS went to issue 03 on 21/03/13 with the addition of the ‘LBL Triangle’(G-EKES), or a pair of 110,000 cubic foot kacks to you and me, possibly the most unappealing special shape for years. For those who have no idea what we are on about the TCDS is the EASA Type Certificate Data Sheet and for the keen spotter can reveal new special shaped balloons that have been built. For us inspectors it basically is the lists the balloons of all makes and types that are EASA Annex1 so require a certificate of airworthiness.

I was going to stick the pants picture under a separate headingpaddypants G-EKES and make some appropriate comments (like where did they stick the registration?) But hey, may as well go in this bit. This is the aforementioned ‘Paddy Power Lucky Pants’ balloon which made its debut at the Cheltenham Festival.

Even less Go Ballooning from Cameron Flights Southern Limited – update.

The fallout from the collapse of Go Ballooning rumbles on with a fair number of press and media reports having come out during the past week or so, fortunately not at too high a level. It appears that the reassurances given by BABO seem to have worked. Prices for a balloon ride would seem to have risen by an average £20 making the cheapest around the £95 mark which is a welcome result for the operators who now feel that the business is rather more sustainable. The biggest question requiring an answer seems to be, just how did they allegedly manage to lose loads of dosh (some reports indicate £1m) over the winter period when flying is shut down so outgoings are minimised but sales of flights are at their peak over the Christmas period? With a fair few Go Ballooning passengers having booked through a credit card their money may have been protected however many thousands are expected to have used Debit cards so they will have to see what their fate is once the company is formally wound up.

There has been a mixed response from the industry with some Ride Operators offering a discount for ex-Go Ballooning customers. Things are also looking increasingly distressing for the former pilots and crews of Go Ballooning who now find themselves out of work for the season and having to budget for unpaid fees and wages. As the season is now under way most vacancies for crew and pilots have now been filled so it is unlikely all of them will find work.

It is confirmed that Joe Sadler Ltd which is sort of the Nottingham branch of Elwell Watchorn and Saxton LLP (EWS), have been appointed to handle the firms affairs. EWS’s reference number is JGMS.CAR.CAM03 and they can be contacted on 0115 988 6035 or through their website There will be a creditors meeting on the 24th April at The Four Pillars Hotel, Abingdon, at 2.30pm.

The creditors list will be published and available for inspection, free of charge, from EWS, two business days prior to the meeting. Following, or at the meeting, it is anticipated that a date will be set for the assets to fall under the hammer but nothing has been confirmed yet. Approaches are known to have been made to the liquidators to tender offers for some of the equipment but to no avail.

On April 9th the Go Ballooning website was updated with the message;

CAMERON FLIGHTS SOUTHERN LIMITED formerly trading as ‘Go Ballooning’ The above named company ceased trading on 4 April 2013 for reasons of insolvency. The directors have approached Mr Joe Sadler (licensed Insolvency Practitioner) of Elwell Watchorn & Saxton LLP to convene meetings of members and creditors for 24 April 2013 with a view to placing the company into creditors voluntary liquidation.

The directors are currently assisting in preparing a statement of company affairs to be presented to the meetings and no further detailed information is available at the present time. However, all creditors are encouraged to monitor the ‘Go Ballooning’ website at where current information will continue to be posted.

Any creditor who has made payment by credit card or similar is advised to contact their issuing cardholder in the first instance to establish whether payment may be refunded under the ‘chargeback’ scheme. Further details of the scheme may be obtained by typing ‘how do I use chargeback’ into your search engine and following the link to the ‘Which?’ Consumer Rights website.

Interesting piece with comment from Jon Rudoni of Wickers World on the BBC website broadcast on 8th April is at

Whoops – now its No Vouchers

They’ve only gone and done it again. Go Ballooning’s sister company Go Vouchers has also gone west. Its probably not come as much of a surprise as questions were being asked of Go Vouchers and its possible connections to Go Ballooning, not least sharing a couple of the same directors. Go Vouchers provided a range of experience-type vouchers from helicopter rides to driver days. Once again a huge number of voucher holders are going to be disappointed. As of today, Monday 15th April the Go Vouchers’ site has posted the following notice;

GO Vouchers regrets to inform its customers and suppliers that following the impact of the recent collapse of its sister company GO Ballooning it has now also been forced to suspend trading. The company is currently seeking advice and will update this website with further information as soon as possible.

Eyes are now turning to PSH Skypower Ltd, another related company and who had been advertising sponsorship opportunities through and had new balloons being built by Cameron Balloons Ltd of Bristol (no relation!).

Welcome to our new Inspectors in the field.

A big welcome to David Barker, Pete Donkin and Dave Such who have now joined the Easy Balloons Team. They are now all able to offer inspections and issue Air Worthiness Review Certificates under the Easy Balloons Part M Organisation.

David Barker is based in France, towards the Pyrenees, and can also inspect and issue ARCs for F-reg balloons. His experience in all aspects of ballooning is vast. He gained his licence in 1972 in a Western 65 called Carousel and the following year promply won the Air Britain Trophy! From 1978 to 1983 he was the Chairman of the BBAC Technical Committee then responsible to CAA for all certifications (new types, new issues, and C of A renewals) on all UK balloons. Its thanks to him that he persuaded CAA to issue a non expiring CofA subject to annual inspection instead of a £60 annual C of A. Over the next 30 years this saved balloonists a total some £1 million in fees. He then pointed out to CAA that we would incur costs for the annual inspection so to compensate the CAA quadrupled the BBAC ‘take’ on new issue CofAs. This increased BBAC income by around £40,000 per year, and over the 30 years, by a total of again, around £1 million. Over the years he has entered and won countless trophies and competitions, designed and built his own baskets and burners and even developed an auto pilot that he still uses today. David has a great little website at where you can catch up on his many adventures and have a look at some of the amazing equipment he has built. He is authorised to inspect private balloons and lives in St Michel, France and can be contacted by email or telephone +33 (0) 562 673 925. He is happy to travel.

Pete Donkin is at Ulveston in Cumbria, and is well-known to the more northern pilots. He declines to tell us quite exactly what he does for a living but allegedly it involves engineering large guns for BAE. Pete is cleared to inspect Regular, Special Shape and Public Transport balloons and can be contacted on 01299 581763, 07753 867271 or email He is quite happy to inspect balloons almost anywhere!

Dave Such has been around balloons for many years and is based in Hertfordshire, near Royston. He is now approved to inspect Regular and Special Shaped Balloons and prepared to travel anywhere within reason. Dave can be contacted on 01763 849287, 07989 988082 or email

Steak, Train and Balloon Day in posh Hampshire

Peter Gooch FlowerpotsWe look forward to our days out and the first of the year is usually a visit to check over Peter Gooch’s fine collection of balloonabelia. Initial interest in going to him rather than vicky-verky was the mention that we could always inspect them at The Flowerpots, a historic ballooning and beer venue near New Alresford home of the Bluebell Railway (you see where we are coming from here!!). Well The Flowerpots has its own brewery next door and serves one of the very best steak baps known to man. We thought about it for a very short time and for the past few years has been firmly on the calendar. Spooky thing is, Mr Gooch always gets the weather right? He’s a motorcyclist you see. Article on its way I’m sure. Train? It was Cheltenham a Maunsell in Southern Region colours.

CAA Charity Flight status updates

The fantastically titled publication ‘ORS4 No. 958: Charity Flights’ has just been published outlining the permission that allows a Charity Flight to be conducted as a Private Flight rather than Public Transport, in accordance with Article 266(1)(c) of the Air Navigation Order 2009. This supersedes ORS4 No. 793. Miraculously its a single sheet of paper and straightforward. In brief it states the following;

It permits any flight in respect of which the only valuable consideration is given or promised to a Registered Charity to be conducted as a private flight and any such flight pursuant to the permission shall comply with the provisions relevant to the circumstances of the particular flight contained in the Annexes to the UK Aeronautical Information Circular ‘Charity Flights’.

On any flight pursuant to this permission, any passengers carried shall be informed before flight that the flight does not fully comply with Public Transport or Commercial Air Transport regulations.

For the purposes of the permission, a Registered Charity includes Exempt and Excepted charities as defined by the Charity Commission. Small Charities as defined by the Charity Commission are not included in the permission.

This permission supersedes Official Record Series 4 No. 793 and shall have effect from the 9 April 2013 until 30 April 2014, unless previously revoked. Attention is drawn to the rule that The Registered Charity to which payment is being made must not be the operator of the balloon.

The full permission is at;

The AIC W104/2012 – Charity Flights is at;

European Balloon Festival – Ultramagic treat.

Fancy going somewhere where it won’t be wet and windy well Ultramagic are hosting the European Balloon Festival from July 11th – 14th, a very laid back meet held very close to the Ultramagic factory in Igualada, Spain. The weather is great, the flying is varied and fun and there are competitions if you like that sort of thing, but no pressure. If you have not been before, try it! Click on the link below to see the report of last year’s event.–19-07-2012:-16TH-Igualada-European-Balloon-Festival-2012–s38_132_178.html

Entry is €250 which includes half board for pilot plus one, gas, maps and tickets for the social events. There will also be factory tours during the week and the region also has many varied and interesting sightseeing opportunities just in case you need a break form the flying. Entries close on the 31st May. If you are in need of advice or have any questions about the event please contact Richard Penney at

Might be Amazing News and its no longer April the First

Recently spotted by the Gliding Boys news is out that following representations from the General Aviation (GA) community, the UK Government has launched a Red Tape Challenge to help inform them about how they can cut red tape relating to the GA sector. The Red Tape Challenge is a Government-wide programme to tackle unnecessary, over-complicated regulation with the default that regulation should go unless it can be well defended. The first phase of the Aviation Red Tape Challenge, launched last year, looked at regulations across the wider aviation sector, of which 58% will now be scrapped or improved. Based on the feedback, they are hoping that the Government will work with the DfT and the CAA to bring in reforms that will have a real impact on the GA community. The challenge will be open for comments on the Red Tape Challenge website for five weeks from 11 April to 15 May 2013; alternatively private submissions can be sent to Anyone with a gripe about the nonsense of the CAA and their yearning to adhere to every word of EASA rather than interpret is urged to respond as part of the GA Alliance/RAeC effort that has brought this challenge about. Having checked the website,, it appears red tape has lead to confusion and it is closed. Blinding.

Digging further at it does state;

We also recognised through the theme that regulatory issues in the sector can disproportionately affect smaller operators and businesses that work in general aviation. So a new General Aviation Red Tape Challenge will launch on 11 April, to gather more detailed evidence on the specific regulatory issues faced by businesses working in the general aviation sector.

Now I may not wear a watch and cut notches in trees as the sun rises and sets but I do think April 11th was a few days ago?

Tiverton Balloon Festival Confirmed

Pleased to see that Aerosuarus balloons have confirmed that this popular meet (for those that can’t afford the trip to Igualada) will be held over the weekend 12th – 14th July at, appropriately, Tiverton. The emphasis, they say, will be on balloons, balloonists & their families with a large dose of warm West Country hospitality. Gas, camping, showers, bar, catering, fun and hospitality all available on site. For entry details & information contact Aerosaurus Balloons 01404 823102. Now why is it that on the weather, and just about every other, site I look at there is an advert for Aerosaurus?

Oranges and Lemons

Guess what we came across in our local rag? Its only ‘be a market trader fortnight’ across Britain from 15-29 May, details from your local market or go to the Nationwide Love your Local Market Fortnight celebration of the market. Take a stand, sell some stuff or just go along and buy some local veg. We’ll get John knocking up some curtains special-like (o:

Culinary delights – more bribery

Sue Kidd's cakesOnce more we have fallen victim to the kindness of those wishing for a positive result at inspection time. Sue Kidd came along with co-owner Ed Lubbock the other day with G-SUED for its annual and profferred the most astonishingly good box of homemade orange Viennese Whirly biscuits. To say they melted in the mouth was an understatement. For our part we discovered that all the cylinders were imminently due proof pressure testing and that the basket hide and a runner needed some love. The fan was in need of a drink of oil, the trailer brakes needed adjustment and the cables re-instating. Apart from that everything was OK. Just think what we would have discovered without the biccies! Thanks Sue, they were lovely and yes we did save some for Jane!

Then just when we couldn’t get any fatter Sue Johnson, Sue Johnson cakesNice Dave Johnson’s missus, cooked up a mighty fine coffee cake as a thankyou for the loan of the hopper. It got consumed rather rapidly. Thankyou ladies, you are always welcome.

Sad times ahead for Filton’s Concorde

Since the closure and abandonment of Bristol Filton the ‘Bristol Concorde’, as its fondly known, remains rather neglected with no firm plans or dates set for getting her under cover. There had been talk about getting it airworthy again but the costs would be pretty phenomenal and as the Vulcan has shown it isn’t easy keeping such a big aeroplane in the air. It was on 26 November 2003 that Concorde G-BOAF, the last to remain flying and the last to fly supersonically, made her final journey home to Filton. During her flying career, Alpha Foxtrot clocked up 18,257 hours, made 5,639 supersonic flights and completed 6,045 landings.

Hope is at hand though with the recent announcement by the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, that he publicly backs plans to build a new aviation museum on the site.

Bristol newspaper The Post recently reported that the final Concorde to fly into Bristol has all but secured a new home after BAE, the landlords at Filton, promised £2.4 million towards a new museum. The funding has now been given to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust to boost plans for a £13 million Bristol Aerospace Centre on the northern fringe of Filton Airfield. Lets hope it doesn’t end up like the one in New York before the museum is completed.

Pobjoy article feedback

We get loads of hits on the Pobjoy article we ran and amazingly a link all about the introduction of a new Pobjoy engine was kindly sent in to us. It comes from the Flight Archive website’s copy of Flight Magazine June 5th 1931 and is just brill. I can see me wasting a lot of time on this site. What is rather coincidental is an article in the same edition on the US Navy airship ZMC2 and a picture of it prior to its first trial flight on August 19th 1929. A well funky airship if ever there was one we reckon.

Team Wellwick pick up the pace

Team Wellwick beachOn the Team Wellwick front the start of the season has been very eventful with Frank the Lorry having performed remarkably well with nothing major falling off. The cab is adorned with rosettes following each and every outing but on the down side a trip to Skegness to gallop flat out down the beach resulted in my horse somersaulting and pulling a few ligaments here and there. Bummer. Mind you she has had a head on for a while now. Mary escaped unhurt and we are all waiting for the Headcam film. They took two lorry loads of horses up on the weekend it snowed but Bracing Skeggie lived up to its name and although it was reported as well-freezing the sun glimmered and they all had a great time.

HS2 and the art of wastage

You cannot believe how much money HS2 are spending on pointless exercises. Talk about jobs for the boys. This last week we’ve had yet another sound recording system installed presumably so they can compare the sound of the countryside before and after. Whoa sounds like a fast train that wasn’t there before, a bird watcher to count the buzzards, kestrels and kites. There he was being told we have crossbills and stating that they don’t come this far south when six obligingly flew into the larch. That shut him up. I suppose most of the kites will end up on the front of a Birmingham bound express it’ll definitely get the hovering kestrel! Then a couple of girls walked the fields counting insects. Blimey it’s the wettest its ever been shame they didn’t get midged and mossied. The most bizarre was the climbing team to assess the state of the trees. The mind is done. Quite what all this is for when a couple of large bulldozers will demolish the countryside and its inhabitants in a couple of hours and an insect count.

Now call me old-fashioned but they are going to drive a bulldozer through the landscape so what difference will all that information make? We even had blokes climb the trees in the spinney to see what sort of state they were in. Meanwhile we are chopping them down for firewood. Oh and they’ve just realised that the farmhouse is full of bats. Hope they knock the place down at night then when they are all down the pub.