Balloon Repair Station

News 30.09.13

Techy stuff you may have missed
Just in case you missd the News Updates techy-wise the Ultramagic HAB TCDS BA-014 has gone to Issue 16. Seems the only change is to 4.2 Burners and baskets for T-models.

On the Flight Manual front Lindstrand’s Flight Manual has jumped from 1.42 to 1.44. For some reason associated with a cranky website problem it didn’t get published nor has a notification been sent. I must admit I thought we’d updated to 43 at least, however, maybe not. Apologies. Changes are the addition of the LBL Triangle in the Special Shape Supplement 1, changes to Series 2 Cloudhopper Bottom End Supplement 9 and addition of Panoramic Wheelchair basket Supplement 16. In the Flight Manual proper, cylinder T50 has been added.

What went wrong? – Jonathan Trappe’s courageous attempt
1 jonathan-trappe-600 Fair play to Jonathan Trappe (39) for giving it a go to cross the Atlantic by cluster balloon. After just short of 13 hours of flight that took him to 21,000 feet and 65 knots he took the bold decision to abandon the attempt and landed on the Western shore of Newfoundland. Updating the earlier report it seems he experienced problems controlling the cluster. From stuff posted on his website it was reported that he thought he would die as his vessel plummeted to the ground – “Honestly, I did not know if I would survive that landing!” he is quoted as saying.

Things seem to have gone quiet for the moment but it would appear that he never really managed to get control of the cluster. Sat-wotsit-doodahs of his track versus altitude suggested that the altitude was erratic to say the least and he nearly did a splash and dash. Speculation that he lost far two many balloons through expansion or abrasion heating are amongst the theories proffered. What is clear is that icing and condensation seriously added to the weight of the cluster and it seems that a lot of ballast was used in attempts to regain control to such an extent that a landing was the only safe option. More I’m sure will be written.

Bombadier C Series – Maiden Flight
The new 110 plus seat Bombadier CS100 has made its maiden flight. Why is this important? 2 cseries200Well a lot of it is built in Britain and it will be able operate non-stop from London City Airport to New York. This is quite a thing and shows just how far development in economical flight has gone in recent years. At the moment the largest
largest jet aircraft to operate scheduled service from London City Airport to New York is the British Airways’ Airbus 34-seat A318 but it has to go via Shannon as the aircraft does not have the range to fly non-stop. It is interesting to note that the Bombadier has been developed along the same lines as the dear old VC10 which retired from RAF service last week. It too was initially developed to operate from short remote airstrips but the advent of the big jet and hub based travel rather saw to it however there is every chance that the Bombadier may well have found a bit of a niche market.

Hawker Hurricane – taxi trial success
Great news just in, the lovely Hurricane we went to see has just had a very successful engine run to test systems and hydraulics. Obviously if you are sitting in a thing like that, especially as it now has its wing on (less airlerons and tips) you need to make sure it can move so a short taxi run was also made. Nice clip on Facebook (turn up the sound) at

Pimp my JCB
3 Pimp my JCB Remember the good old days when we used to say, “Leave them behind the JCB and pop the paperwork in the cab”. Well the old JCB, a rare surviving 3D model, was bought by Gary Davies who has always had a passion for anything JCB. True to his word following its carting away to sunny Peterborough it was put back to work and has been a truly rolling restoration ever since. Now it has been painted up, new hoses fitted and a couple of extra buckets added to its equipment list and earns its keep. It is reported that even the inside of the buckets have been painted. Gary reckons he absolutely loves it and will never part with it. Make an interesting retrieve albeit not for a fast flight!

Easy Balloons EI-registered balloons
Following a bit of a pallava we have just successfully managed to get an ARC issued and paperwork accepted for an Irish registered balloon. There aren’t many Irish registered balloons we accept but the process was surprisingly straightforward. The charge from the Irish CAA for processing is slightly higher than the UK CAA. Existing Irish approved/issued Maintenance Agreements must be used though and these run to lots of pages.

Lindstrand stunners
4 G-CHBX Jubilee Having a poke round the Lindstrand website it seems they have balloons for sale direct including a used LBL 140A and new stock 120A. If the site is up to date then what does take the eye are two 77As. Both are red, white and blue. One has a diagonal cut and does look neat but the other, G-CHBX, is truly brilliant and if I could afford it I’d buy it. It’s a very cleverly designed Union Jack inspired number built for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and named, appropriately, ‘Jubilee’. Now this could become a collectors’ piece in the future if Scotland opts out of the Union! To find out more contact

Foggy mental breakdown – Warning from the CAA
Hot off the CAA press comes this reminder from The Belgrano at Gatwick. Following a small number of recent complaints, AOC (Balloons) holders are reminded that the CAP 611 and company Operations Manual conditions for VFR flight require a balloon outside of controlled airspace and below 3,000feet to remain clear of cloud, in sight of the surface and with a flight visibility of at least 3 KM. Within notified controlled airspace (that is not permanently subject to IFR) a balloon must remain clear of cloud, in sight of the surface and with a flight visibility of at least 5 KM. Of course, a pilot must also ensure that he can comply with the Rules of the Air Regulations, especially Rule 5, at all times. Clearly, any flight over a congested area will require a cloudbase in excess of 1,000feet AGL.

Especially towards the UK autumn, an operator may occasionally consider that a period of time for a safe balloon flight might occur outside of the normal balloon flight periods (first three hours after sunrise and last three hours prior to sunset). In such cases, the operator must obtain a bespoke weather forecast since the Met.Office prepared Ballooning Forecasts do not cover such a period. Operators must pay particular attention to the timing of the warming out of surface inversions and forecast convection. Operators are also reminded that their pilots must fully comply with the approved scheme for flight time limitations, as detailed in Chapter 3 of their company operations manual.

Mike Gunston in serious accident
6 Mike Gunston Mike Gunston, member of the BBAC Main Committee best known for getting easy to read minutes of the meetings they have out to the common man, was involved in a serious car crash on the evening of Tuesday 17th September when his car was involved in a head collision with another that pulled out to overtake on-coming traffic. He was initially taken to the Great Western Hospital at Swindon but has now been transferred to St. Peter’s in Chertsey. He suffered a break to his right ankle and lower left leg, a fracture to his left hand, stable fractures to two lumbar vertebrate in the small of his back, a laceration to the back of his head which has been stapled, and extensive bruising. He’s had operations on his ankle and hand is just recently an operation on his left leg. He’s doing well and is reported to be on the mend. His wife Maria thanks everyone for the many kind wishes and comments, and are grateful for the support already received. He is receiving visitors but please contact Maria first as he is due to be moved to Frimley Park Hospital very soon. Happily it seems his humour is intact and he has managed to get himself sat up in a true balloonists’ pose. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him and his balloon (in a purely social way) in due course.

Bonanno Van written off
Unlike his well known van, Paulo Bonnano managed not to get written off when it was involved in an accident a week or so ago. All reports say that the man himself escaped unharmed. Clearly he designed the seatbelt but not the self-righting system! We had only seen the offending van a week or so before and it seemed quite sane then.

Ultramagic Balloons clean up in Europeans
5 Europeans Congratulations to Rokas Kostiuskevicius on winning the 2013 European Hot Air Balloon Championship held in Wloclawek, Poland between the 6th and 14th September. Rokas was flying an Ultramagic Racer and headed up second placed Rimas Kostiuskevicius, third placed Ivan Ayala Alcalde, fourth placed Dominic Bareford and Stefan Zeberli coming fifth all flying Ultramagic Racers. Well there’s a thing. Special congratulations to 18 years old Dominic Bareford who ended up only a shy 27 points short of taking third position. Trailing in eight place Uwe Schneider, the new German champion and flying (guess what?) meant that Ultramagic Racers scored 6 out of the top 10 positions. Well down whizzing about the sky people.

Cameron no news – tantalising press launch
In a bizarre news release Cameron Balloons have made public that they had something to do with a soon to be released film called Gravity. Their website tells us to watch out for this exciting, highly-anticipated, action-filled new film from Warner Bros. Launched on October 4th 2013, the anniversary of the world’s first satellite, it stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock revealing that ‘Cameron Balloons have been very excited to work with expert film modeller and sculptor Pierre Bohanna to manufacture a product for a key sequence in this highly rated and expected to be, blockbuster film’. Well Don, we’ll hold our breathes in anticipation. If you want to have a gawp at the trailer and spot the special backpack they made for the spaceman that gets spun into space then have a look at the trailer and enter the ‘Spot the bit Cameron made contest’.

Black Horse Rocks – AGM and special guest speaker
The Black Horse Balloon Club is holding its AGM on 21st November, venue to be confirmed. Members old and new are cordially invited. Drinks after at the Black.
Their next Club Night on 17th October welcomes guest speaker and shaker-mover Paul Spellward, Vice-Chairman of the BBAC, Chairman of the BBAC Technical Committee and Chairman of the BBAC Business Panel and will afford the perfect opportunity to put questions to him about the work the BBAC is doing and the increase in membership fees. If you cannot attend on the night the Club invite questions and they will do their best to get them all answered.

CAA Guide to Gadgets
Issued 13th September The CAA has recently published an “In Focus” guidance briefing about “Flying with Gadgets” as CAP 1066 ( Operators should ensure that all company pilots are familiar with this latest CAA briefing, which will provide up-to-date answers to the question “why must I put my phone into flight mode?”. Meanwhile, operators are reminded that any actual interference to balloon electronic equipment should be recorded by the AOC holder and reported to the CAA if deemed appropriate. In Focus – Flying with gadgets – The Do’s and Don’ts of using mobile phones and electronic devices on board aircraft
Description:The regulations controlling the use of mobile phones and electronic devices on board aircraft vary internationally. This can, unfortunately, lead to confusion for passengers. This short guide sets out the rules affecting UK airlines.

Lindstrand Racer for Portly pilots
8 77X Stock email Lindstrand Balloons have now added the LBL 77X to their range of Racers. Currently only available in the USA Lindstrands Galena factory in Illinois have recently delivered their first 77X Racers. The increase sized Racer is proving very popular says Sales Director Lisa Kempner. With increased capacity, improved aerodynamic performance giving greater stability during ascent and descent and featuring an innovative internal baffle around the equator presumably to restrict internal air movement and stabilise the heat ball it is a cracking bit of kit. Standing at 19.62m high and measuring 15.2m at its high equator it certainly looks the part.

Another Grass Rooters checks out
Big congratulations to John Everton who kept up the Grass Roots tradition of at least one pilot checking out. The flight was in quite challenging conditions with a final landing on a verge. Andy Austin came along for the ride and did mention there were a couple of occasions when he had to bite his lip and keep his hands in his pockets but all was well and John passed with flying colours and managed to win a Cup and bottle of bubbly on his return to Sackville.

London Region and Capital Balloon Club AGM Date
The Annual General Meeting Of the London Region Balloon Club and Capital Balloon Club will take place on 30th October 2013 commencing at 8.00 pm at The Sekforde Arms, Sekforde Street, London, EC1R 0HA. Up for discussion is bound to be the future of The Capital Balloon Club balloon which is although hugely popular in the past is, these days, largely under-used. Nominations are currently being sought for worthy recipients of the iconic Tony Patey Trophy. Folowing the Meeting it is understood that Julian Hensey from Bristol will talk about the BBAC’s current role in ballooning.

The nice Dave Johnson takes the Sackville biscuit
Presented on behalf of Paul Dickenson by Richard Penney of Ultramagic this years’ Grassroots Free Spirit Award 2013 went to the popular nice Dave Johnson. going to someone who is always willing to lend a hand at Grassroots and who, the previous weekend, had also been very involved in helping out at the Headcorn Balloon meeting. Having now recovered from the horrendous broken arm washing line incident Dave Johnson (otherwise also known as the Bromley Baker) to come up and receive the award. To say that Dave was gobsmacked and speechless is no understatement and, as anyone who knows Dave will tell you, for him to be speechless is a very rare event!! So our congratulations go to Dave.

Queen of the Skies retires – Last VC10 Flight
7 Cunard vc10 When it entered service was promoted as being Swift, Serene and Silent and indeed, until Concorde came along, it was the fastest jetliner in service. When Concorde retired it regained its title. Inside the cabin it was certainly quiet but the roar of its Rolls Royce Conways was very distinctive. Originally designed to operate from short runways yet have a good range it performed its role faultlessly. There was only one fatal crash involving one operated by Nigeria Airways which was put down to pilot error, probably resulting from fatigue.

Following their last mission in their role as tankers the last two remaining airworthy aircraft have now found new homes. On 24th September ZA150 flew in to Dunsfold to be looked after by The Brooklands Museum and the following day ZA147 touched down at Bruntingsthorpe, traditionally where it is likely to be broken up. After some uncertainty about its future another, ZA148, joined The Classic Aircraft Force flying into Newquay on 28th August. All three aircraft were formally operated by East African Airways until the airline collapsed then went on to do around 47 years more in the RAF. ZA150 was the last of the 54 aircraft built at Brooklands so it is fitting that it go into the museum’s care. I well remember my uncle talking about with great fondness. He carried out the first proving flight with one into Hong Kong and many other intended destinations, some of which were never adopted. When this futuristic aircraft first flew designer Ernie Marshall was heard to remark that he wouldn’t be surprised to see the VC10 still flying in 50 years time. Well it managed 51 years. Not bad.