Balloon Repair Station

News 18.05.13

Cameron Flight Manual goes to Issue 10 Amendment 12

In case you missed the News Update news is that Cameron Balloons have just issued Hot Air Balloon Flight Manual Issue 10 Amendment 12. There seem to be quite a lot of changes at first glance but some refer to earlier updates.

Checking the front page list of amendments most are small changes but worthy of note. In Section 2 the Windspeed limitations are reworded for clarity, the Minimum equipment list is amended and pilot qualification deleted, Rates of climb and descent amended (relative wind limit restored from issue 7), 2.13 concerning Velcro rip panels has been deleted and is now in Supplement 8.3, 2.14 Tethering limits revised for large balloons, In Section 3 Fire in the air has been amended The big change comes in Section 4 which has been completely revised and laid out in a whole new way making it easier and clearer to understand and amongst other small changes includes a damage check on launch restraint as part of the pre-flight checklist. At last, in Section 6, reference to the Parachute edge tempilabel has been deleted.

It is not necessarily the case that you must use the updated manual, it just depends on the age of your balloon. Referring to the TCDS B.A.013 it states that the required Flight Manual is the Cameron Balloons Flight Manual and Supplements Issue 9 or later approved EASA revision, however if you have a Manual covering the ‘Operation and Service Instructions specific to the aircraft registration or constructors number with an issue date prior to 28 September 2003’ that may continue to be used.

The complete Manual or updated pages can be downloaded free of charge from the Cameron Website.

Updated pages are at

In addition to the Flight Manual the following Supplements have also been updated

Lindstrand Bottom Ends (Issue 5):

Ultramagic Bottom Ends (Issue 4):

Schroeder Fire Bottom Ends (Issue 5):

Kubicek Bottom Ends (Issue 6):

Cameron Cylinder Periodic Testing dates

We have had a few cylinders in recently and enquiries concerning the period of the Proof pressure Test and PRV replacement. In the case of Cameron Balloons the Proof Pressure Test is 10 years from the date of the last one. This period can be extended by a maximum of 3 months not to the end of the year! If the PRV was fitted at the same time as the pressure test and was less than five years old at the time of fitting it then it will be valid until the next pressure test is carried out. Pressure relief valves have a maximum storage life (prior to installation) of 5 years. Where the date of installation is not known the maximum service life is ten years from the date marked on the valve.

There are permitted variations to all the Cameron scheduled inspection periods which can be useful in extreme circumstances but they shouldn’t be treated as the norm. For the full details you need to look at your Maintenance Manual which naturally will be the current one Issue 10 Amendment 3 and check out Section 6.2. Don’t forget that if you opt to take advantage of the extended period the details must be entered in the logbook.

Go Ballooning Auction goes online

The auction of all the Go Ballooning stuff is now running as an online auction run by Eddisons. The list of bits and bobs and alive and dead balloons is quite extensive. There is even a fair amount of bubbly on offer. champagne auctionViewing is at Nursery Farm, Woodborough, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5PF on Tuesday 21 May 2013 between 10.00am and 3.30pm with bidding ending sometime after 10.00am on Thursday 23 May 2013. There is a 15% buyer’s premium plus VAT added at the current rate. Collection is by appointment on 28-29 May. To download the extensive catalogue and register to bid go to

Skywhale surfaces in Aussieland

skywhalePictures and a video of the mysterious Skywhale special shape are now out. It seems that when top Australian artist and hyperrealist sculptor Patricia Piccinini was commissioned to produce a piece to mark the centenary of the city of Canberra she decided not to work in more traditional stone or bronze but instead chose to design a giant hot air balloon reports Cameron Balloons.

“Its a Marmite balloon,” said Cameron Sales Director Nick Purvis, who worked closely with Patricia in the commissioning of the project. “You either love-it or hate-it. Its probably the most complicated special shape balloon we have ever produced and certainly in the running to be the most controversial. Whether it’s a work-of-art is a matter of personal opinion, I think it is, but what can’t be denied is that it is a work of aeronautical engineering that borders on genius.”

Absolute secrecy had to be maintained at the Bristol factory during the six month design and build. “The most worrying moment from the confidentiality point-of-view was the test inflation,” says Nick. “You can’t hide a balloon that stands nearly 23m in height, is more than 34m in length and has a girth of 28.6m. But somehow nobody noticed.”

On being sent images taken at the test inflation Patricia was well-impressed by how wonderful it looks. Nick added, “We are always pleased when our customers are pleased. However it is obvious from the press and TV coverage, even some cartoons, that not everybody in Australia has been thrilled by Skywhale. It will be a pity if, while arguing about the artistic merit of the balloon, its engineering merit is overlooked.”

For a film of the first secret Australian flight go to the Cameron Website click on News and scroll down.

Southend airport applies for Controlled Airspace.

Worryingly the all too familiar temporary airspace restriction is set once again to become permanent. Stealth tactics at their best. The London Region Balloon Club learnt that after being told that all airspace restrictions put in place last year for the Olympics were temporary, it now transpires that an application is due to be lodged later this year by Southend Airport to increase its Controlled Airspace. This will affect all those that fly in Essex and, no doubt, North Kent. Here is a quote from the Airport Managing Director:-

“Temporary Controlled Airspace around London Southend Airport was operated very successfully during the London 2012 Games, and we are now seeking to have this reinstated as a permanent feature.”

“Great, just what we need! Discussions are just beginning and no formal application has been lodged from what I can see at the moment,” reports London Region’s Jeff Roberts, “however the airport’s website announced, ‘So, from late 2013, London Southend Airport will be consulting airlines, private fliers, local communities and other interested parties. All the details will be published on our website and publicised locally, so watch this space”.

The London Region are on the case but if you fly in the area you are strongly advised to write to Southend Airport sooner rather than later. applies-for-controlled-airspace/

CAA re-issue Exemption

Just re-issued is the Balloon AOC–Required Crew Training document, the exemption relating to periods that AOC balloon flight crews require training. The above General Exemption has been re-issued in the Official Record Series 4, as No.965. Officially it is described as the ‘Exemption to extend the periods given in the Air Navigation Order during which balloon flight crew must have had training, experience, practice and periodical tests.’ It can be downloaded from

Cameron Balloons set to run Maintenance Course 2-4 July

In response to the huge demand Cameron Balloons is launching a third maintenance course this year. The Cameron Balloons Maintenance Course is ideal and beneficial for existing or trainee pilots, Civil Aviation Authority personnel, Cameron Balloons representatives and for experienced balloonists who would like to refresh their balloon maintenance skills. The course is run by Cameron Balloons staff, overseen by Lindsay Sadler, Director of Production at the Bristol-based factory. On completion attendees will receive a certificate which lists the level and skills attained but this does not permit any certificate holders to be an approved inspector nor an approved repair station. The course covers basic permitted maintenance, using a practical hands-on approach to topics in the Cameron Balloons Maintenance Manual. Course study materials and practice equipment and pieces will be provided by Cameron Balloons and, importantly, buffet lunches each day are included in the course fee.

The course runs from the 2nd to the 4th July 2013 inclusive (09.00 to 16.30 with 1 hour lunch-break) and costs £384.00 payable in full by the 3rd June 2013. To book onto the course, please contact Richard Bradley at

or telephone +(0)117 963 7216. Please note the places are limited.

G-CGIS Action Man retires

Action ManFollowing our latest trip to Germany, and after taking a very long hard look at Action Man, we sadly have to announce his service days are over. Originally registered G-RIPS in April 1997 and then later G-CGIS porosity and the start of stress in the fabric surrounding the top of the rip panel are amongst the reasons he is being retired. Somewhat surprisingly it still passed a pretty exhaustive set of grab testing but really porosity has finally claimed this adventurer. Owners Karle and Gaby Gruenauer have offered him to the British Balloon Museum & Library who have promised to treat the old chap right. We’ll be putting together a briefly of his service career in due course but for now Action Man is off to enjoy his retirement.

More Shapes

Nick Langley, Managing Director of Airship & Balloon Company, has just taken delivery of these Minionsstrange things built by Cameron Balloons for Universal Pictures to celebrate the release of the latest film in the Despicable Me range. Both balloons are called ‘Stuart’ and are apparently hugely popular mischievous little yellow workers who spend time bumbling about doing work for the main character ‘Gru’ as well as being obsessed by bananas! I asked the grandchildren about them and they didn’t have a clue, still, with a large number of days booked they will be working in the UK and abroad so best keep an eye out for them along with the rigs. Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide movie Despicable Me 2 will be in cinema from 3rd July 2013. Can’t wait if its anything like Sponge blooming Bob.

John gorn fishing

John Yarrow bivvy bagWhen our old mucker PD turned up with the rather sorry remains of his bivvy bag and asked John if he would knit him a new one we all took one step back. Now there are only a few (dozen) things that wind John up and top of the list is asking him if he’ll make a set of curtains for you. Not advisable. So it was with a bit of relief, not in any small part to his interest in fishing and the fact that PD is a bit of a bruiser, that he decided to rummage round the General Stores and set about converting an old Thermal Aircraft cylinder jacket to a rather neat Velcro closed Bivvy Bag. So pleased was the Dolby that he immediately got the thing out in the workshop and demonstrated how quickly it could be put up and packed away.