Balloon Repair Station

News 09.06.13

Ultramagic Flight Manual goes to Edition 04 Revision 21.

In case you missed the News Update on 22.05.13 the Ultramagic Flight Manual went to Edition 04 Revision 21 on 21.05.13.

There is only really one change to Revision 20. The MTOM on the 355 is changed to 3450kg, a corrected typo (page 5.8). The Operation and Service Instructions specific to aircraft registration or constructors number with an issue date prior to 28 September 2003 may continue to be used. So unless your balloon or equipment is later than September 2003 no change is required. In addition Flight Manual Supplement Number. 08 becomes Iss.4 (Special shape ‘Heart’) and Flight Manual Supplement Nr. 38, (Teckno Envelopes) goes to Iss.5

All the relevant documents including changed pages only can be downloaded from the Ultramagic Website. On the front page scroll down and click on Manuals & Technical Support.

Cameron Special Shape update.

Whilst most frown at the paperwork nonsense that surrounds aviation the Type Certification Data Sheets (TCDS) updates are worth keeping an eye on if you want to find out what is being built (sometimes secretly) by the balloon manufacturers. Cameron Special Shape TCDS was updated on 03.06.13 updated to BA012 Issue 23 with the addition of an Apple-120. So who would have ordered such a balloon? There is already an Apple-90 (Sainsbury’s had one) so could this be a Bramley?

Egyptian Balloon Tragedy Report out

Following the tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of 19 tourists in February the official Interior Ministry Report, published on June 5th, blamed human error for the crash. Luxor’s First Prosecutor, Mohamed Fahmi, said the final report by the Criminal Evidence Laboratory concluded that the fire that broke out was caused by ‘grave’ pilot error that resulted in a gas leak from one of the pipes that was installed by an ‘unspecialized worker’. Mohamed Fahmi was quoted as saying that “The pilot and the maintenance engineer did not make necessary technical checks before taking off.” The pilot and the manager of the balloon port have been detained and are facing charges of negligence and lack of precaution. Following the accident flying in Luxor was suspended pending investigations. New and additional regulations were put into place and flying resumed on April 21.

Unexpected inflations at Pidley – nice awayday

Pidley Swatch BalloonTeam Workshop had a fine day out when we all de-camped to that very fine fellow David Hopkin’s Pidley Golf Centre to carry out some random inspections. We weren’t sure what we’d be inspecting when the day was arranged but as we had to get the Flames back to the BBM&L store at David’s so it made logical sense to go to him rather than him come to us and anyway it was a day out. In the end we had a fine assortment of balloons to inspect including a most unexpected heap of special shapes. The weather was great and we managed to inflate them all. A great crowd of helpers turned up including Martyn Turner, Neil Iveson, Andy Kaye and David Tofton. As usual David Hopkins was in the thick of it carting balloons about and helping pack away. Biggest treat was finally finding the ‘lost’ Maxwell House jar and then being shown one of the old Swatch Special Shape Balloons. Article elsewhere coming up. Thanks to everyone involved.

Queen’s Cup – entry fee shock horror

Following the publication in the British Balloon & Airship Club’s magazine Aerostat of the entry form for the Queen’s Cup planned for October 2013 it seems many members are unhappy about the apparently enormous entry fee required. Entry to the event is set on a sliding scale depending how late you leave your entry. Starting at £250 if entries are received by the end of July and rising to £400 for last minute registration it is certainly not a competition for the common man! No official rules or regulations or prizes have yet been published and the event is closed to BBAC members only. The general rules have been published in a short article in the June Aerostat. They are not that specific but it seems that entrants must have held a licence for one year and have a minimum of 50 hours to compete. Only one other person may be carried and they must be over 16. An official observer must also be utilised. Not yet confirmed, but it is understood that a right high profile beano and presentation is planned following the event, which appears to be the primary reason for the extremely high entry cost. The winner of the Competition will be presented (some say possibly by the Queen herself) with the Cup at the reception but as it lives at the Royal Aero Club in London you won’t get to put it on your mantelpiece merely hold it for a few moments and have your piccie taken. Rumour Control has found out that plans are afoot for a bronze medal to be presented to the winner at the very least.

The popular Great British Long Jump (entry £50 with prizes and bound reports) has been cancelled this year in favour of the Queen’s Cup. Robin Batchelor the organiser of this well established event said that the extortionate entry fee would probably put off many entrants. He had hoped that it would be a truly fun event, open to all, and could be the opportunity to promote the sport enormously. It is certainly the case that all the visitors to our workshop have expressed disappointment at the incredible entrance fee and, for the moment, it may well be that only a wealthy few get to enter. Let us hope that the Committee in charge of the event have a bit of a re-think. As members of the BBAC we contacted Hannah and Don Cameron, who seem to be the prime organisers of the event, for an explanation of the high costs but haven’t, as yet, received a response.

Sean Simington completes Lands end to John O’Groats

sean simington and john rigdenIn a personal best time of just over two weeks Eccles Hall’s Sean Simington finally made it to John O’Groats on his trusty bike. The sensational “End to End” bike ride that Sean Simington undertook in memory of his partner Shirley was done to raise funds for the Big C drop in centre in Norwich. The route from Lands End north rather than the other way round was to take advantage of the prevailing wind at this time of year but typically he rode into wind for much of the journey. With stops at John Albury’s school house, Andy Rawson’s Emporium, B&Bs and relatives various the route took in Bodmin, Crediton, Glastonbury, Leamington Spa, Rotherham, Leeds, Brampton, Selkirk, Pitlochry, Inverness and Wick before pedalling enthusiastically in new trainers into the car park at John O’Groats on Thursday 6th June a day ahead of schedule. His arrival was celebrated by John Rigden and his partner Anne who drove up to collect him and return him to deepest Norfolk. We celebrated in the workshop with Thomas Wilson and a bag of Eccles Cakes. Congratulations. To read his brilliant blog go to

To make a donation to The Big C centre go to

Sad News – Geoff Davis, true adventurer

geoff davisSadly we have to report that on Friday 24th May Geoff Davis passed away during a retrieve near Ballymahon in Ireland. Richard Gyselynck sent us the sad news on the Saturday. He wrote, ‘You probably know that we are currently ballooning near Ballymahon in Ireland with friends, Geoff and Carol Davis. Friday evening was a perfect slot and I flew with Carol and two other people in her balloon. Helen retrieved with Geoff in their car. During the retrieve Geoff became ill and collapsed. Helen called an ambulance and gave Geoff CPR under instruction from the emergency controller, but sadly Geoff deteriorated rapidly before the ambulance arrived. Despite the skill of the crew he was pronounced dead when he arrived in Mullingar hospital. As you can imagine we are all shocked by this, but I am incredibly proud of how well Helen coped alone and under extreme pressure. We believe nothing could have saved Geoff despite all the efforts made, but we await the results of the post mortem. Carol is of course traumatised by the suddenness of this but her family are arriving to support her and she is being looked after by ballooning friends too.’ The funeral was held on Thursday 30th May in Co Cavan

Jane Morton’s tribute to Geoff Davis; a true adventurer!

Last week, Geoff Davis passed away suddenly at a small ballooning event. Hot air ballooning, the outdoors and keeping fit were his passions. He was the father of one of my closest friends, Laura Pool, and had very recently been in touch with me in connection with supporting the expedition with anything required as well as venturing out from Co. Cavan well inland in Ireland to come and meet us en route, despite having his broken leg in plaster! When I was young, I adored Laura and Hannah’s Dad, Geoff – he was great fun, always cheerful and enthusiastic. He was extremely sporty and I was already very impressed as a child by his marathon running, ballooning and table tennis skills.

Soon before Laura and I went off to university, I was thrilled to be offered a flight in Geoff’s balloon! Laura offered to retrieve us and we took off from behind a pub beer garden somewhere near Aldermaston. I loved the flight but have to admit to being somewhat alarmed by the speed at which Geoff flew us in to land! (I’ve now learnt that this was probably because the landing field was a pretty tight landing area and the speed reduces bounce.) Shortly after landing I was sent off to find the farmer whose field we’d landed in to seek permission. I set out with another lady who had paid for her flight and had chosen to wear high heels. Shortly after setting out across the field Geoff called out to us “don’t look back!” – of course we did, to see a herd of bullocks racing towards us and I was tasked with warding off the keen bullocks while the well-dressed lady threw herself over the hedge at the edge of the field! It was certainly a memorable flight!

When Laura and I went off to separate Universities, I managed to stay abreast of Geoff’s adventures. I heard that he’d moved down from Reading to Devon (very close to where Andy and I have now settled). Then I heard that he’d met Carol – a life-loving Irish lady, and the next I heard he’d gone to live in Ireland with her and was continuing to fly his balloons out there. Although I had no direct contact with him over these years, I was delighted to see Geoff again after such a long time last year at Laura and Oli’s wonderful wedding. He hadn’t changed a bit and was just so proud and happy. I finally got to meet Carol too. I got lost in one of the dances and ended up trapped in the middle of a circle comprising all the wedding guests which Geoff thought was brilliant!!

Much more recently, having made it safely across to Ireland on our expedition, I made contact with Geoff through Laura in the hope that I might be able to meet up with him further round the coast. I was informed that he lived a long way inland and had also just badly broken his leg during karate training. He was hip to toe in plaster, yet Geoff was really keen to take on the challenge of getting out to the coast to see us! He loved the idea of our expedition. Apparently he had taken to following us quite closely through this website, laid up with the leg in plaster and was keenly drumming up support for us among his equally adventurous friends! I was touched and very impressed that Geoff actually intended to “come and hunt us down” despite his predicament. When I arrived in Co. Cavan the evening before the funeral service on Thursday 30 May, this was evident as I already seemed to be known as ‘the canoeing lady’ and was welcomed with wide arms! It was wonderful to meet so many of Geoff’s friends and relatives. Geoff must have touched the lives of so many and from father of my friend Laura, he certainly became a personal friend too. I spent yesterday paddling along quietly singing Eric Idle’s Always look on the bright side of life which so fittingly culminated Geoff’s funeral service.

Kubicek appoints new UK dealer

Czech Republic balloon manufacturer Kubicek have announced that Worcestershire-based Rick Vale will join Crispen and Sara Williams as Kubicek Dealers in the UK. Crispen and Sara have promoted Kubicek Balloons for many years and are delighted to welcome Rick to the dealership and believe that by working together the number of Kubicek balloons gracing the skies of the UK will expand rapidly.

They kept this quiet – Ireland celebrates its first aeronaut

Crosbie Park near Baltinglass , Co. Wicklow was the birthplace of Ireland’s first aeronaut Richard Crosbie and there is to be a special “Gathering” event which will be held from 21st to 23rd June to celebrate the event.

Baltinglass is steeped in aviation history. The eccentric and reclusive Benjamin O’Neill-Stratford, the Earl of Aldborough who lived at Stratford Lodge spent almost 20 years building a huge hangar and what may have been a navigable airship. He had even bought a landing strip by the river Seine in France for it’s maiden flight. Unfortunately his theories were never tested because in 1856 when all the work was completed Stratford Lodge, the hangar and airship were totally destroyed by fire. Following the disaster Benjamin O’Neill-Stratford retired to Spain where he died in Alicante in 1875. Granite from the ruins was subsequently used in the construction of a bell tower at St. Joseph’s Church, Baltinglass which was completed in 1887 and the ruins of Stratford Lodge is now the home of Baltinglass Golf Club.

Auction fever ends Go Ballooning

The online auction for the assets of Go Ballooning raised around £190,000. Prices were peanuts for some of the stuff but surprisingly high for others especially if the purchasers were not able to claim the VAT back. All the sale prices were subject to VAT and a 15% buyers’ premium adding around 38% to the bid price. In an attempt to prevent ‘sniping’ the auctioneers only closed bidding after the finish time when a period of ten minutes between bids occurred. This caught some out and there were a few disappointed bidders but some equally happy ones!

No details are available yet on the final outcome of the sale or how the money raised will be apportioned but at the moment, going on the figures available, it doesn’t look like there will be much hope for the creditors. The liquidation committee and insolvency practitioners have not met since the sale, although they have spoken by telephone and have a meeting scheduled for 13th June in Northampton where they hope to get a better understanding of how the funds might be used, and whether the creditors might see any benefit. The Hossacks are unsecured creditors, so get no preferential treatment.

Coming up, a Grand Day Out – Benson Bike Rally

benson bikesFancy something truly brilliant then the Benson Bike Rally on Sunday July 7th is highly recommended. A period bicycle ride featuring pre-1928 machines only and vintage costume this is hard core cycling. You’ll see every conceivable old bike here all being enthusiastically ridden. Its great fun and usually has a couple of pub stops where you can get a chance to have a closer look at the machinery. There is also an excellent cycle jumble but that usually packs up after the riders leave. The ride stets off from Benson Village Hall in the middle of Benson, Oxfordshire at 10.30 for a jolly 14 mile jaunt around the lanes of Oxfordshire, taking in the villages of Roke, Berrick Salome, Chalgrove and Ewelme. Simply brilliant. Another opportunity to see the bikes and riders is when they stagger and wobble back to the Village Hall for prize giving from about three o’clock onwards. Its organised by the Benson Veteran Cycle Club and the money raised goes toward the Village Hall. The day usually turns up some unexpected wotsits. Last year the Vulcan flew over and the year before the Tiger Moth wobbled over in loose formation en-route to somewhere or other. Unfortunately my Claud Butler is about 40 years too young!

For a taste of the day have a look at If you fancy entering (Robin Batchelor has been seen there) contact is via The National Association of Veteran Cycle Clubs

Good grief Health & Safety meets aviation (again!)

The idiocy that is EASA crashes ever onwards with the latest EU nonsense to be published as an Information Notice IN-2013/080 ‘Accidents at Work Reporting to the Health & Safety Executive: Aircrew’. This Information Notice is to inform AOC Holders, AOC Holders and Aerial Work Pilots of EU requirements to report aircrew accidents at work to the HSE via the CAA. This is applicable to all AOC (Balloons) holders and contracted organisations. If you are an AOC holder then this useful bit of paper must to be placed in AOC holders’ “physical” copy of CAP 611, in the “Balloon Notices” area to the rear. It should also be brought to the attention of employees and contractors.

The reasoning behind it is that the CAA has decided to assist rather than resist the Health and Safety Executive to collect data on accidents involving aircrew while operating aircraft. This data is required by EU legislation on statistics for public health and health & safety at work. Apparently under European law, the UK is committed to submit annual data on accidents at work to the Statistical Office for the European Communities (Eurostat). Until recently the supply of this data has been voluntary and restricted to data collected in Great Britain from the injury notifications made under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). To give some bureacrat a job and ensure their pension another new European law has been introduced by Commission Regulation (EC) 1338/2008 which places the transmission of this data on a formal footing (see Annex IV of above Regulation), and Commission Regulation (EU) No 349/2011. It also significantly expands the scope of data collection beyond that of RIDDOR, to include data on work-related injuries from Northern Ireland, data on work-related road traffic accidents, and accidents involving aircrew and sailors. To enable the UK to meet the new requirements, derogations have been granted in respect of the timing to supply this data. For data on accidents to aircrew, the UK is required to make the first delivery to Eurostat in June 2016 (data in respect of 2014). Great that money has been spent so wisely by the idiots. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is acting as the UK representative, and is in discussion with the appropriate UK authorities to agree the best sources and methods of collection. The plan is to consolidate all data in a single return to Eurostat (sounds like a broken down Eurostar train), transmitted annually by the HSE. What a load of cods (which are becoming sustainable in the North Sea). This will have to be funded, obviously, and who will end up paying!!!

The CAA suggest that individual operators may wish to discuss this matter with BABO or the BBAC. However, all must introduce an action plan for its implementation. Company Operations Manuals may be amended as required. The two page vague Information Notice can be downloaded from Having studied it at length and filed it if you have any queries (like ‘Why?’) or require further guidance drop a note to

Social day at the Workshop declared

Robin TrojanThursday saw an unexpected gathering at HS2 (Wendover Parkway) when amongst the mayhem Thomas Wilson turned up with his lovely old Thunder ’56 for an inspection followed by Robin Birdman Batchelor in his recently acquired old and rusty 1926 Trojan two-stroker. Fortunately for everyone involved the nice Dave Johnson and his lovely missus Sue were already there with a box of rather splendid cream and strawberry mini-cakes. I don’t know if they were actually called mini-cakes but they were lovely anyway (thanks). Dinging and pinging with the odd cloud of smoke Robin had completed his first journey in it over from Towersey in an amazing 45 minutes. Top speed (when it got there) was 35mph. Suitably parked on the ramp the greasy rag condition thing was admired by all. Typically for a Robin-mobile it wouldn’t start on its crank handle so the gathered throng pushed it down the hill until quietly rattling and clinkering away it emerged from the smoke running. Sadly the parachute on Thomas’s balloon failed and as repair will be about as much as a new one that’s what its going to get but the drawings are long lost now so Cameron balloons are going to design a new one for it. Dave and Sue’s balloon passed with flying colours as you would expect the cakes being so fine. After everyone had left John decided we should set one day every other week aside for socialising. Good idea.

Yorkshire Hot Air Balloon Festival – Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Just announced is the Yorkshire Hot Air Balloon Festival to be held over the long weekend of 2nd, 3rd & 4th August 2013 at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Oliver’s Mount is two miles south of Scarborough just off the A170 and A165 (YO11 2UG). Attendance figures are around 20,000. The organisers report that there will be free gas and balloon tethering, races and evening glows will form the centerpiece of this event. As well as this, the event will offer all the fun of the fair, a wide variety of food and beverages plus market stalls. This festival will also host a fun packed 3 days of attractions ranging from arena displays to staged music and entertainment for all the family. The Festival is being organised by Showcase Events Limited. For further information see their website or go to (coming soon). Email Paul at Tel 0845 299 7557 or Mobile 07866649207

EASA ADs explained – but you’ll have to go to Cologne

You are too late to apply if you hadn’t heard and want to go but just to help us all out the EASA Safety Information Section is organising their first AD (Airworthiness Directives) Reading Workshop on 26 and 27 June 2013 in Cologne, which is addressed to all interested stakeholders such as operators, CAMO, maintenance organisations, design approval holders, who want to have a better understanding of EASA processes related to safety publications.

The workshop is addressed to all interested stakeholders such as operators, CAMO, maintenance organisations, design approval holders, who want to have a better understanding of EASA processes related to the publication and/or adoption of Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI), i.e. Airworthiness Directives and non-MCAI, i.e. Safety Information Bulletins (SIB).

In true EASA speak. ‘For reaching this objective, during the two-day Workshop, some general presentations will be provided by EASA AD experts (e.g. on the EASA web publishing tool and the AD/PAD process). In addition, typical AD content is to be presented and analysed, to ensure that AD requirements are understood as intended by EASA. The workshop programme also includes an AD reading exercise, an extensive Q&A session, as well as explanations on the typical content of EASA SIB. A more detailed programme will be published shortly.’

Last time we asked EASA representatives questions they shrugged and wandered off. Anyway if your minded

Lockheed Electra goes to Canada

Atlantic Airlines ElectraThe last British-registered Lockheed Electra L188, G-LOFC now with 54 years service under her belt left Coventry Airport on 20th May to start a new life flying for Buffalo Airlines in Canada. Developed in the US in 1950s following the success of the Vickers Viscount it was most often confused with the Vickers Vanguard, the Viscounts bigger brother. Sadly the advent of the pure jets soon saw the turboprops falling out of favour and most ended up on charter or cargo duties. There was a great story that BEA changed from Vanguards to Tridents on their London to Glasgow service following electrification of the Euston line as the train was faster! A total of 170 civil versions of the Electra were built but only the cargo version ever operated in the UK. With a freight capacity much the same as the Boeing 737-200 series Air Atlantique (later West Atlantic) had been operating them since 1994, one of the biggest customers being DHL. Over 750 of its military derivative, the Lockheed Orion, were built and many still remain in service today throughout the world. The Orion is a sister aircraft to the extremely successful Lockheed Hercules and originally shared much of the technology and engines.