Balloon Repair Station

News 11.09.13

The Grass Roots ROLL OVER (and over!)
8 Grass Roots mistyThe hugely popular Grass Roots Balloon Meet 2013 has been rolled over twice now despite early indications of favourable weather. For the first time in its history it was cancelled an earlier announcement that the 6th-8th September, the first date for the meet, was going ahead. All early indications suggested that the weather forecast was looking good but as the days moved on by Thursday things were looking decidedly unpredictable so, following an in-depth discussion with the main sponsors Ultramagic, the decision to reverse the earlier decision was taken. This was a brave move and fair play to them for electing to move the next possible date to 13th to the 15th September which is now forecast to be bad so, the next slot will 20-22 September. Next announcement will be on the 18th September. Lenny Vaughan, former Budweiser pilot, was distraught with the news stating that he had been all geared up to experience camping for the very first time in his life and had even invested in a 6×4 two-man tent for £12 from Poundsaver so that he could enjoy the Meet’s beer long into the night. To keep updated visit the Grass Root’s website at

A very fond Farewell to Joe Philp
1 Joe Philp serviceFollowing the sad death of Joe Philp on Friday 16th August 2013 his funeral was held at St Paul’s Church, Upton Cross at 2.30pm on Wednesday September 4th 2013. The church was overflowing to the extent that the Village Hall across the road was pressed into use and the service transmitted by the marvels of modern technology. His son Joss read a very moving piece on his dad and later John Armstrong, a long standing friend of Joes’, read a most entertaining and moving Eulogy which must have been extremely thoroughly researched. The burial itself was a private family affair and while it was being conducted some rather lovely pictures of Joe and his family were shown in the church accompanied, very wryly, to Up, up and Away filling the church and village Hall with Joe’s sense of fun and certainly made those that understood his sense of humour smile. Afterwards we adjourned to Addicroft where the garden in full flower hosted a fine sunny afternoon of champagne drinking and pasty eating. Robin Batchelor called for glasses to be raised to Joe in proper fashion. The Eulogy, which now doubles beautifully as an Obituary, along with pictures as they come in, can be found elsewhere as ‘Up, up and Away – Joe Philp’.

British Nationals en Francias les results final.
This years British Nationals held in France attracted 16 entrants and ran from 27th August until 30th August. From what we can gather 22 tasks were run with favourite Richard Parry, despite winning five tasks only managed a third place with 16053 points just behind hardened campaigner David Bareford’s respectable score of 16148. First place and over 600 points ahead of Mr Bareford was Andrew Holly. Newcomer and Virgin Balloon Rides boss Ken Karlstrom came in at tenth, beating champion pilot Crispen Williams, with a commendable 12103 points who despite winning one task managed to get minus points for the Hesitation Waltz. The Comps Club website reported the event thus ‘Congratulations to Andrew for retaining the National championship title and coming second in the overall competition. David Bareford and Richard were not far behind.’ Quite how Andrew Holly came second overall having the highest score we have no idea? For full results seemingly written on the back of a fag packet go to

Roger Dodger what’s your vector Victor 2
The CAA’s Radio Mandatory Zone Policy has now been published. This is the CAA’s policy for the establishment of, and operations within, Radio Mandatory Zones. Fortunately its not very long comprising three pages. And is summed up by the Scope bit which goes…’If it is determined that in order to enhance flight safety the management of a specific airspace environment would benefit from the sharing of greater operational airspace intelligence, and that this could be achieved without the establishment of a higher classification of airspace, a RMZ may be notified. Within any notified RMZ the carriage of radio equipment is mandatory in such airspace which has been notified for this purpose under paragraph 2(b) of the Table in Schedule 5 and articles 39(2) and 40 of the Air Navigation Order 2009; and the operation of a radio in that airspace is mandatory after it has been notified, in accordance with Article 112(5) of the Air Navigation Order 2009.’ The full details of the policy can be found and downloaded at

Warsteiner International Balloon Meet 2013 cancelled
Following a serious outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease the City of Warstein cancelled all the permissions for the Balloon Festival to be held. The Organiser’s of this hugely popular event have stated that they fully understood the City’s decision.

Officially, The Warsteiner Internationale Montgolfiad 2013, should have started on Friday 30th August and run to Sunday 8th August, but following the recommendations of the District of Soest not to approve any major events in Warstein for the foreseeable future it was cancelled. The decision was taken to protect the health of both the citizens and visitors to Warstein. As of the 5th September two people are reported to have died from the disease with around 150 affected. The source is thought to be the town’s water treatment plant where Legionella bacteria was found in the cooling system and is one of the worse recorded outbreaks of the disease in the country.

Uwe Hermann Wendt, CEO of the organisers of Montgolfiade Warsteiner International GmbH stated that, “We share the responsibility of the municipality in full. The health and protection of the public are paramount, As the organiser and host we are, of course, extremely sad to have to announce this decision to the citizens of Warsteiner and all our many national and international pilots, crews and visitors.”

Icicle balloon Meet on the Move
Next year’s Icicle confirmed for the weekend 4-5 January 2014 is moving. ‘Shock Horror News’ has been announced though moving the venue from Warren Farm to pastures new. Warren Farm is re-organising its farming practises and the fields will no longer be available, we are told. A couple of local options are being looked at and the new venue will announced soon. It is hoped that The Elcot will remain the hub of the meet and they hope it will too. Whatever the outcome the Icicle Team insist it will go ahead and the first briefing will be on Saturday 4th will be at 0800 somewhere! This hugely popular unsponorsed and long running meet is informal and open to all balloonists, enthusiasts and those that just want to stand and stare. There is usually a small carpark fee for spectators. Details on the website.

Camerons announce a new future for ballooning – and huge deals
2 Lightbulb-DreamEngineAt last Cameron Balloons have got the hint and are going to re-vamp their website which will, we are told, be in place at the end of September (this year?). Already they have gone big-time into Faceache, sorry, Facebook – cameronballoonsltd and also Twitter which maybe Twitter@cameronballoons. I haven’t got a clue how to show them as a link or even if there is one, not being a moderne! These they tell us, via the current website, are the best formats to follow their latest news and products on so we’ll get our Jane to investigate. Does this mean that the News bit on their website will go? On top of all this super techno advancement they have also announced that they are promoting a ‘new future that encourages fun and enthusiasm for ballooning, delivering excellent customer service and ultimately, added value for money!’ Bold claim.

Checking out their News bit on their current website they are promoting that they can make ‘offers that will work for you’. Big promise. With this comes the edicts that their ‘crafted basket trimming and superior hardware welding is second to none’. Not quite sure how that works as a selling point but there you go.

Certainly the picture on their website, courtesy Steve Edgar, of the fantastic helium filled light-bulb, which flew with a trapeze dancer for the Muse ‘Black Out’ concert tour, which they built (Camerons not Muse you understand) certainly demonstrates the high end capability of the company when it comes to innovation.

Fancy a flight over Paris?
Courtesy Jeff Roberts comes this news for those visiting Paris. As some of you may have seen a few of the gas balloons in the GB race got to see Paris on Sunday night, well you can too, although not at night. There is now a Zeppelin NT airship operating from the north of Paris at Paris Pontoise Airport, (when I say north of Paris, it is similar to what Ryan Air call London-Luton, quite a way out of Paris). There are three routes that are currently being flown:-
1. Royal Flight (1h 30m) – destination Palace of Versailles. EUR650 Adult, EUR520 Child.
2. Cruises Flights (1h 00m) – destination Château de Chantilly ou Château de la Roche Guyon. EUR450 Adult, EUR360 Child.
3. First Flight Tour (30min) – EUR250 Adult, EUR200 Child.
Looking at flight information it would seem that flights are due to take place until the end of October, this may be extended, at the moment this seems to be how far in advance you can book for. For more details see:

The Irish Job – Congrats to Leo Forde
3 Leo Forde check flight G-BZKWFollowing some intensive training by Aidan Murphy and Paolo Slowfly Ogiwotsits in Mondovi Leo Forde has checked out in Mondovi. Flying in Paolo’s Ultramagic M.77 G-BZKW, from the old Roman town of Augusta Bagiennorum, where there are some stunning remains of the Roman Theatre, in quicker than expected winds, he made an intermediate landing at Magliano Alpi, avoiding the Nutello trees and then completed his solo, landing just shy of Mondovi. Celebrations commenced at the original Baladin Brewery in Piozzo following a guided tour of the barrels by Teo Enrico himself . This was fantastic and followed the sad news that the Pub was closed as he was on holiday. Being a mate of Paolo’s all was salvaged as beers from about stupid percent to distilled beer at 40% were sampled. Big thankyous and congratulations to Leo. More later no doubt.

Mega Ballooning Celebrations in Nottingham
4 Wollaton Park JamboSunday 20th October 2013 sees a triple celebration in Nottingham where they are celebrating the first Balloon Flight from Nottingham in 1813, the 25th Anniversary of the East Midlands Balloon Group (EMBG) and the 50th Anniversary of a flight made by Anthony Smith from Nottingham Castle. As this year is the 25th anniversary of EMBG they are combining the celebration with the historic anniversary of Nottingham’s first balloon flight, made by James Sadler in 1813 along with the 50th anniversary of Anthony Smith’s flight from Nottingham Castle in his gas balloon, Jambo. Weather permitting, balloons will launch from the Wollaton Park on the morning of Sunday 20th October and later that same day, at a very sensible 4.00pm, a special celebratory 3 course meal will take place in Wollaton Hall itself. British Balloon & Airship Club (BBAC) Chairman and local balloonist, Ian Hooker, has kindly agreed to be Master of Ceremonies and talk about the rich ballooning history of the area and BBAC President, Anthony Smith, has accepted an invitation to attend the event as Guest of Honour.

Wollaton Park’s connection with ballooning goes back a long way. It was first used for a gas balloon launch in 1888. Between 1970 and 1972 it was used for several large balloon launches, one of which was advertised as “one of the most important balloon meets in Europe” and in 1979 The Park hosted The British National Championships. In more recent times Wollaton Park and Hall have become famous as a film location for the latest Batman movie. The EMBG hope that many balloonists and former balloonists will be able to join us for a most enjoyable day. To book a place at the meal in Wollaton Hall and/or enter a balloon for the fly-out from Wollaton Park please contact either Meg Griffiths, tel.02476395408 e-mail or Andrew Davidson tel. 07970480817 e-mail Picture courtesy of Mick Bajcar.

Go Ballooning – more stuff surfaces
News out that laptops, motor vehicles, a Cameron A-300, flight cylinders, Apple iMac’s, Mac Books, iPads’s and power tools plus a fine selection of ladders various are now up for grabs in another auction being run by Eddisons. The balloon is the yellow Lidl Cameron A-300 described as ‘envelope only’ having three rows of hyperlast inspected 15th February 2013, ARC expiry 30-4-2014 and 306.55 recorded hours. All branding must be removed and presumably the registration changed before flight. The auction ends on 18th September. For conditions and further details go to

Heads up the Isle of Wight Challenge is on
Great news that a Mainland to isle of Wight Balloon Challenge is to run from 22nd March – 2nd May 2014. Sponsored by Snows Peugeot of Romsey, Hants, part of the Snows Group up to 20 balloons will be invited to fly from Exbury in Hampshire and will be open as a Hare and Hounds with the standby period running from 22nd march to 2nd May 2014, however organiser, Richard Cardy, explained that it would be unlikely to be run during the Easter Break. In case you are worried about using the World’s most expensive ferry crossing fear nought the Ferry Crossings are covered by the sponsor. Sounds brilliant. For full details please contact Richard Cardy 07902 524993, Email at
or check out the website,

French Keep the Gordon Bennett Trophy
5 Gordon Bennett winnersIn a very competitive close run race Vincent Leys and Christophe Houver took this years Gordon Bennett Trophy flying France 1, F-PPGB, their home-built balloon landing in Lamas, Portugal, having flown a very tactical, especially in the closing stages, 1402.43km. Bad weather and approaching storms forced many of the balloons down early on, most landing in France on the first or, early on, the second day. Once again the intrepid team of John Rose and Chris Woods flying D-OCFT came a very commendable 9th having flown for just over 23 hours covering 241.98km landing at Marmant in France. GBR 1, the Cameron built hi-tech gas balloon G-CGOZ covered 121km in 14 hours putting them into 13th position. 4th place and the furthest in France went to the Spanish Team Anulfo Gonzalez and Angel Aguirre who managed a tight 688.45km.

The top three balloons all took the brave decision to cross the Bay of Biscay covering over 1000km. Second place was claimed by the Germans who landed at Rabalde in Portugal with a distance of 1382km and third place went to the Swiss Team SUI 1 who landed in Castrocalban, Spain with a distance of 1186.44km after 62 hours of flight. The Swiss had a bit of bad luck whe they made landfall as they then had to go over the highest bit of land for miles! Mention must be made of the Russian Team who managed to fly in the opposite direction to everyone else and landed in Germany having covered a very respectable 457km giving them 7th place.

Winner Vincent Leys (53) gets to keep the Gordon Bennett Cup this time as he has now won it three times in a row. Reading the team notes he is a dental prosthetist, in Villeneuve d’Ascq, northern France. He started flying in gas balloons when he was 15 and gained his licence at 17. Today. Currently he has over 3,600 hours comprising 1.320 ascents. He has won the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett eight times in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012 and now 2013, beating the Austrian Josef Starkbaum (7 victories), and the Belgian Ernest Demuyter (6 victories). For many years he teamed up with his brother Jean-François sharing his passion of aircraft manufacturing and has already built nine balloons that he uses during competitions.

Co-pilot Christophe Houver (40) got his licence in 1996 and has logged 700 hours of flight. In addition to his record with Laurent Lajoye (first French Transatlantic Crossing), he broke the altitude record with the Belgian Benoît Siméons at 9,369m (on January 2003).

This years Satellite Tracking on the Gordon Bennett website, which makes the event so exciting, crashed out quite a few times but the resourceful following events soon had various links to individual trackers up and running so a tight watch was maintained throughout. The Organisers really need to sort out the on-line tracking as it was probably the most ‘discussed’ aspect of the race. It was reported that following their landing some of the balloon’s net was in a tree. Never mind I’m sure they got it all back! Congratulations to them and all this year’s competitors.

Wing Commander Wallis flies into the setting sun
Wing Commander Kenneth Horatio Wallis MBE, DEng, CEng, FRAeS, FSETP, PhD, RAF (Ret’d) died peacefully in his sleep on September 1 2013. Ken Wallis, best known as the builder and pilot of James Bond’s ‘Little Nellie’ was 97.

His eldest daughter Vicky Wallis is quoted as saying “He had great long and successful life. He died peacefully at 3am on Sunday and I was at his bedside. He led a wonderful life and I’m sure most of us could only hope to live for so long and to fill our time with so many experiences and achievements. He will be greatly missed by his family and more widely.”

Ken Wallis was born on 16 April 1916 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, and by the age of 11 had built his own motorbike. Having cut his aviation teeth on the dangerously quirky home-built Flying Flea, he graduated to RAF duties flying Westland Lysanders, and later Vickers Wellingtons. During the Cold War he was seconded to the US Air Force for two years, where he flew nuclear-armed Convair B-36 Peacemakers, but it was his interest in the Fairey RotoDyne and Bensen B-7 “Gyro-Glider” which led him to design an autogyro rotor head that allowed accurate blade pitch control without the risk of the aircraft cutting off its own tail. He subsequently demonstrated his WA-116 autogyro’s capabilities to great effect in You Only Live Twice, noting: “I think it was a good film. People say it must have been fun to film but it was 85 flights and 46 hours in the air to make seven minutes on screen.” He was still flying at 90 and appeared at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta a number of times with a remarkable flying display which included landing in the arena!
His Obituary can be found at

Time Flies-Swatch is back in the air
6 swatch G-BMJJAfter quite a long time one of the Swatch Watches has finally been re-wound and taken to the air again and under its original registration. As reported previously after quite a long drawn out process Damian Busby has finally realised his dream and has got one of the old Swatch watches back in the air. Now sporting its original G-BMJJ registration it made its second ‘maiden flight’ from Sywell to Pytchley in the hands of Andy Kaye, six days short of 25th anniversary of her last flight and the first ever free flight in the UK. Andy is reported as saying that the 40 minute flight was great and it flew extremely well but it’s a job to tell the time from the basket.

Getting to this stage has taken a lot of blood ,sweat ,tears ,arguments and financial strains but soo worth it.
Unfortunately it has also brought an element of bad feeling from others. This I can only put down to jealousy for the moment.

Along the path to getting this beautiful balloon back in the air there has been immense amount of support from certain individuals who I could possibly never be able to repay in full. Hi Jane. Flight was. Was a solo flight made by Andrew Kaye. 40 minutes duration and more smiles than you can ever imagine. Thank you to all you guys there thy made this happen. Xx

Oh No, Kelvin Oakley leaves Lindstrand Balloons!
7 Lindstrand Kelvin OakleyLong-standing Lindstrand front-man Kelvin Oakley has left the Lindstrand Team after over 20 years. He joined Oswestry-based Lindstrand Balloons when he was 18 and grew to be one of the most knowledgeable members of the company contributing at every level. For the last few years he headed up the Sales Teamas well as assisting with parts, technical problems and all matters Lindstrands. Simon Forse, Managing Director, presented Kelvin with a gold plated burner in recognition of his long service. Many of the Lindstrand family past and present were in attendance. This was the culmination of a top secret project where all members of staff went to great lengths to keep Kelvin in the dark. The surprise on his face at presentation was all the reward needed. Rumour has it he is moving into the Automotive industry working for BMW. We’d like to wish him every success and thank him for all his help over the years.

As if that wasn’t bad enough news is also out that, as part of a restructuring of Lindstrand Balloons, 13 members of the company have been made redundant. The decision, reported MD Simon Forse, was a difficult one but sadly it was necessary to ensure Lindstrand Balloons survive the in the present economic climate.

Famous Balloon Trailer to be saved.
Following the apparent demise of Rob Cross’s old balloon trailer we are pleased to announce that it is no longer for sale as no one seems at all interested, quite why we have no idea. Rather than weigh it in it has been given a reprieve and was used as a mobile pig roast for our Pete and Alice’s (not our Alice what is in the office) James’
Christening on 25th August. Now steam cleaned out its next role is to go to France on a fishing trip. Obviously we will endeavour to repair the coupling properly.