Balloon Repair Station

News 13.10.13

In case you missed it bit – stolen Cloudhopper bottom end
Gary Madelin has had the bottom end of his Lindstrand Cloudhopper stolen on the early evening of 7th October 2013. The Lindstrand seat unit is the frame-type that takes various sizes of flight cylinder. The cylinder he was using at the time was a Cameron CB 426 60 litre. He writes; ‘Our Lindstrand cloud-hopper entire bottom end was stolen following a landing at 17.50 on Bramshot Common near Liphook, Hampshire [MOD land] in the 25 minutes it took us to go to the guard room to get the key to unlock the security gate. There is no way any vehicle could have accessed the site, so it was lifted and carried (some considerable distance) probably by local yobs, who possibly saw it as scrap value. They left the envelope bag there. The parts were bottom end, frame and seat – BA 808, burner – BU 936. Balloon identification plate with registration G-CDAD was welded to the seat frame. Tank Cameron CB 426 S/N 0273-4606. A Police report has been filed and the hope is that the bits might surface locally, or end up on e-bay.’ Any info please call him on 07831 404378.

New Cameron website up and running – Early Days
The new Cameron Website is now up and running. Its certainly a lot easier to use than the old one but somehow has lost the ‘Traditional Cameron Factory’ feel to it. To say its basic is probably an understatement but it is all there and in simple big writing. I don’t know, but it seems there is an awful lot less on it now but that is more than likely a result of a bit of streamlining and one hopes more of interest will be added in the future so, we are considering it to be still evolving, in which case the verdict remains open. If you are looking for the Flight and Maintenance Manuals it is now very simple, just click on ‘Support’ and then the manual or section you want. The Sky Balloon Manuals’ are under ‘Archive’ along with the last Thunder and Colt Flight and Maintenance Manuals. Scrolling up and down seems to take you to the other ‘Support’ items. All the information is downloadable via pdf files. The “Product’ bit is quite adventurous and full of stuff including, rather bravely, prices. I quite enjoyed this bit as it goes on for a long time unlike the “Stories’ bit which is a promo for The Airship and Balloon Company and currently all about making the Minion Balloon narrated very professionally by Nick Langley. Nice idea but once its running it is running no freeze and go back available. What I do miss is the bit about the staff, which did make the old site more friendly. Still, early days and certainly user-wise an awful lot easier.

Queen’s Cup Results – fine flying in perfect Long Jump weather
1 Dom BarefordThe two day BBAC Queen’s Cup Distance Race got away on the first shout on Saturday 5th October from Queen’s Square Bristol. The weather was perfect and thirteen teams battled it out. Winner by head was favourite Richard Parry. His first flight on Saturday took him 162.04 kilometres with a landing just up the road from me brothers’ at Worthing. Close on his heels though was young Dominic Bareford who managed a very respectable 138 kilometres landing near Midhurst. Andrew Holly, who had managed to arrange some last minute sponsorship for the event from Fortnum & Mason finished in third place landing at Hartley Wintney, just short of Farnborough. By Sunday the pack had gone north to take advantage of the South Westerlies that would take them into Norfolk. The organsisers worked feverishly to determine the ‘maximum distance possible’ based on the wind and came up with 326.6 from Bristol. With the nearly live plotting thingy it was looking close. Richard Parry launched from Broughton in Northamptonshire and arrived later that same day just south of Eccles-on-Sea in Norfolk a respectable 321.47 kilometres from Bristol but still going was Master Bareford who closed his eyes and landed literally in the last field before the North Sea at Happisburgh a few miles down the road from Mr Parry clocking up an ‘oh! so close’ 319.28 kilometres. It doesn’t get much closer than that. The piccies of the Team peering over the cliff top at the end of the field says it all! Maintaining third place Andrew Holly landed just short of Hockering, a very respectable 283.70km from Queen’s Square having re-launched from Middleton Cheney in Oxfordshire. Had he realised he was just a few fields away from RAF Hockering, the old Second World War Ammunition Depot we wondered? 2 Debbie Day Queens CupBig congratulations to Debbie Day who just managed to clock up 50 hours so she could enter. Having driven halfway to there and back in the search for fuel she took off with Mike Scholes aboard on Sunday just down the road from the Rollright Stones and ended up in Outwell just outside the right posh Downham Market recording a final distance of 232.96 kilometres and celebrated in the appropriately named High Flyer pub.

The event was deemed very successful however there was some confusion when a vote was taken at the Friday briefing to bring the closing time of the competition on Sunday forward from the declared ‘sunset’. It was however decided to keep it at six thirty but strangely this changed to four thirty at the Saturday morning briefing much to the consternation of the majority. The requirement to return the trackers to Bristol was dropped in favour of posting them back which cheered the teams up! Thirteen teams eventually took part much smaller than hoped. Through the wonder of gossip it seems the low uptake was a result of the initially high entry fees and then a failure to update the membership that the entry had been made free thanks to sponsorship being gained by Andrew Holly, through his company Exclusive Ballooning, from Fortnum & Mason who he also managed to convince to provide a slap up reception in London for all the intrepid pilots and crews. At the moment it is understood from Aerostat, the BBAC magazine, that the Queen’s Cup itself will be presented at the BBAC AGM which is held in March. 6 quaichDavid Bareford, World Champion Class Balloonist, has very kindly donated a ‘quaich’ which isn’t an Irish party but Scottish for ‘a trophy of similar design’. Don Cameron, who was the Director of the event, probably hopes its made of wood! It seems that this type of competition was very well received both by the competitors and those watching their progress on the tracking system and could very well happen again. As it turned out the weather couldn’t have been better providing as it did some great strategic flying in a pretty close run race. Congratulations to all the competitors.

1st Richard Parry 321.47km, 2nd Dominic Bareford 319.98km, 3rd Andrew Holly 283.70km, 4th Marcus Green 279.90km, 5th Richard Penney 253.79km, 6th Andy Collett 253.55km, 7th Colin Butter 235.04km, 8th Debbie Day 232.96km, 9th Rob Bayly 150.57km, 10th John Rose 134.40km, 11th Allie Dunnington 124.04km, 12th Nick Bland 112.29km, 13th Chris Wood 60.47km (retired on Saturday).
Fuller details, including the tracking map, can be found outside of the members’ area at

BBAC on tour
Members of the British Balloon and Airship Club Main Committee have put their marching boots on and are getting out and about promoting the Club. To hear what they have to say get along to The Black Horse, Great Missenden on 17th October when Paul Spellward will be speaking about the Club and the services it offers or travel to the Sekforde Arms in London, home of The London Region where Julian Hensey will give a talk following the AGM.

That time again RAeC Burseries up for grabs
The Royal Aero Club Trust, as part of its Flying for Youth programme once again invites applicants for its Bursary Scheme for young people. A record number of 37 bursaries were awarded in 2013 and the lucky recipients were able to start training in late April. Bursaries included The President’s Award (two bursaries each worth up to £750), a further bursary worth up to £1,000 (The Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship), the Breitling Bursary also worth up to £750, and the Bramson Bursary worth up to £500 as well as a number of additional bursaries worth up to £500 each to suitable candidates. The scheme is divided into two categories, flying Bursaries and Grants for those wishing to advance from one recognised level of air sport to the next higher level and wish to upgrade their existing qualifications and FlightSim Bursaries and Grants for Computer Flight Simulation enthusiasts wishing to gain practical experience of flying or an air sport.

The scheme and the bursaries comprise all types of air sports and aviation-related activities including: paragliding, gliding, hang-gliding, parachuting, microlight aircraft, helicopter, light aircraft and the designing, building and flying model aeroplanes. Applicants for these grants must hold British Citizenship and be permanently resident in UK and aged 16-21 years. Application forms and terms & conditions for 2014 bursaries are now available on line and can be accessed via the Bursaries Page. The closing date for application forms is 31 March 2014.

Dodgy basket syndrome
You have to laugh. Got an email from Mr Sharpe the other day which read ‘I have acquired a Cameron basket – is it possible to bring it up on Tuesday or Wednesday for you to inspect and put in my logbook?’ Naturally it wasn’t a problem and, as it happened, it was a very fine basket along with a nice little Cameron Mark4 single, however we had to ask the question “Should a policeman (retired) type person use words like ‘I acquired a Cameron basket’?” He countered, very properly, “Well Chris – I was proceeding in a southerly direction, minding me own business, when a geezer said ‘oi, you want a basket?’ and the next thing I know it’s in my garage!!! Honest.” Having viewed the great footage from Metz of the windy arrivals various and in particular the appearance three times of G-CCST flown by the man himself we now understand why he needed a new basket. which takes us nicely into the next item…..

Exciting descents update
The great picture of Lindsay Muir performing a hardcore cold-descent featured on the cover last time out has had an update. Apparently it was daughter Chloe in the basket who wa rather unconcerned until she saw the picture! Meanwhile Trappe’s landing is on You Tube now at I have to say it looks very controlled and very well done, considering.

New pilot – Congratulations to Mark Chandler
Big ones to Mark Chandler who checked out on 6th October in G-CGIH, a very smart Cameron Concept 90. The flight was from Ninevah in deepest Kent with a very successful flight over the top of Tenterden, home of the Kent and East Sussex Railway where a pannier tank was shunting the last train of the day into the sidings followed by a fine landing at High Hordon, well off his post-round apparently, he was deemed fit for purpose much to the joy of all present. I even got to see France and, away in the distance, the Spitfire Balloon floating across Hythe. Many thanks to Will Bracken for the loan of his (still) immaculate balloon.

Lindstrand GoPro kit for balloons
DCIM100GOPROEver since Spicey of Kent Ballooning showed us a video of his youngest falling off her mountain bike after he braked hard taken from a rear facing GoPro camera on his bike our regard for them has increased no end. I’m not quite yet ready for this technological leap but the signs are looking good. Equally he uses his for some great basket shots taken during the flight using an extending pole mount. Also realising the potential Lindstrands have come up with a ready to use mounting kit which seems to be well made and actually designed for the purpose. Their blurb explains that the Lindstrand GoPro Camera kit is a simple way to achieve in-flight videos for all of their sizes of balloons (and will fit others we are told). 3 Lindstrand gopro1For smaller envelope sizes up to 140,000 cu ft it can be attached to the top of the flying wires to achieve a view of the basket and the surrounding scenery. For all other sizes of envelopes it is best to add two rings sewn onto the envelope, three gores apart. This ensures that for the longer baskets all of the occupants can be seen. The Suspension lines that attach the camera mounting to the envelope are made from both shock cord and Kevlar cord. This allows the pilot to use the lead running from the basket up to the camera mount to pull the camera down to the basket for in-flight adjustment or for retrieval when landing in faster wind conditions. The price of the complete kit, not including the camera and housing is £110. For further information please contact their sales team at

EasyJet opens new markets for Camerons
Easyjet is to introduce two new routes from Bristol to the Icelandic capital Reykjavik and the Moroccan city of Marrakech. Both new services from Bristol will start in December using a 156-seat Airbus A319 with two frequencies per week to both destinations. Reykjavik flights start on December 12 with services on Thursday and Sunday. Marrakech begins as a route on December 14 with flights on Tuesday and Saturday. EasyJet now has 11 aircraft based at the airport and routes to 46 destinations. Now when will there be an EasyJet Balloon then?

Giant bottle attacked by pirates
4 solo bottle boatNow here’s a thing, Solo, a Danish Soft Drinks company decided it would make great PR if they set a huge bottle adrift in the Atlantic fitted out with a tracking device and invited people to guess where it would end up. The prize would be a life-times supply of the fizzy stuff. The bottle was set adrift off Tenerife on March 15 2013, equipped with GPS and a special camera that took 360 degree pictures every eight hours and uploaded them to a website. Half a million people followed its progress until it mysteriously vanished. It was assumed that the GPS link had been knocked out by solar flares and the company then promised to throw a party for whoever found the lost bottle. The company has now reported that the bottle has been found off the Los Roques archipelago, 100 miles north of the Venezuelan mainland, by the Venezuelan Coast Guard. Somewhat surprisingly the custom built camera, the GPS tracking computers, 600 kilos of batteries and a case of Solo bottles that were inside the giant bottle had all gone missing apparently having been liberated by modern-day Pirates of the Caribbean. Apart from working out who has now won about 4000 bottles of Solo true to their word they are off to Venezuela to give a party for the Coast Guard and the 1500 local inhabitants in Los Roques.