Balloon Repair Station

News 02.02.14

Stand by your bed – BBAC updates European Pilot Licence requirements
3 easa_offices If you’ve ever wondered quite what the EASA Cologne Headquarters look like this is it complete with the entrance to the garage and some doors for tall people clearly indicated. Makes the CAA Belgrano Building look positively meek. From here comes the nonsensical application of rules and regulations designed for Airbuses applied to balloons and while we are on the subject the latest update from the BBAC (British Balloon and Airship Club) on the fast approaching arrival of the new EASA licensing requirements has just been published for its members. Very well and clearly put together by the BBAC Training Officer Dave Court it makes for easy to understand reading and represents the BBAC’s current understanding and best advice based on the information currently available and has been written in consultation with the UK CAA. Not all the arrangements and dates are absolutely final so pilots are advised to check BBAC updates over the coming months. The BBAC is currently in the process of applying to the CAA for approval to operate as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO), in order that student pilots can begin to undertake training towards the new European (Part FCL) licences, also referred to as EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) licences. The BBAC will offer support to its pilot members in transitioning to European Licences. All UK licensed balloon pilots (apart from those only flying Annex II, non-EASA, balloons) will need to be in possession of a European balloon licence by the 7th April 2015 and training for the current UK licence will remain unaffected for a while yet. In readiness for the changes and to ensure existing UK Instructors themselves meet the requirements the next BBAC Instructor Training Days will cover EASA module 4 requirements on 15th March 2014 and EASA module 3 requirements on 5th April 2014. If inspectors have not covered all the EASA modules prior to conversion then straightforward transition will not be possible. BBAC members can find out more through the website at or book a place on the Instructor Course at www.bbacorg/org.

Ultramagic Flight Cylinder – Inspection information
7 ultramagic cylinder plateWhen it comes to finding information on flight cylinders some are far easier than others. We’ve had a few calls recently concerning ID information on flight cylinders, and Ultramagic M-series cylinders in particular, following a proof pressure test. With all cylinders we engrave the ones we test with the test date, next due date and our number. If there is a difference between the PRV date and the test date that will be noted. The PRV date engraved is the date on the PRV. Where it states PPT & INT followed by the date that is the date the PPT was carried out and the internal inspection was carried out and is usually by month and year. When allowed the PPT, PRV and Internal Inspection will be the same and engraved as PPT, PRV & INT followed by the month and year. If the cylinder has a top guard then it will be there. In the case of Lindstrand, Sky, Colt and T&C cylinders it will be on the base by the cylinder details or plate. Now, with Ultramagic cylinders they actually provide boxes on their identification plate which we duly fill in. If a logbook is provided then the cylinder is released back to service through that and a card issued or updated. If no logbook is provided a Form 1 will be raised. Hope that helps but if you have any problems please email or call as we have all the records for all the cylinders we have ever had through the workshop which are updated accordingly.

Best of the West – Tiverton Balloons & Music Festival.
6 tiverton balloon meetHot off the press details are now out confirming that the hugely popular Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival is to be run again this year. Good old Arthur Street and his Aerosuarus lot have booked the July 11th – 13th for balloonists to come and the famous Devon hospitality. Everyone we spoke to that went last year reckoned it was the business. Check out Tivvy comes out tops – Happy flying by Helen Bray for a nice report on last years event elsewhere on the site. Literally minutes off of M5 Junction 27 Arthur assured us that the emphasis is on balloons, balloonists and warm West Country hospitality. Just in case that doesn’t get you interested then please note that camping, showers, bars, catering, 2 music stages, over 30 bands, fun and hospitality are all available on site. For entry details & information contact Aerosaurus Balloons. Be there or be somewhere else probably less lovely. Contact for more details or visit their website at

New Beginnings Meet – Repeat
5 new beginnings meetFollowing on from the success of her last weekend of learning Stephanie Bareford is running another New Beginnings Meet. This year it is aimed at Pilots under Training (PUTs), getting in some hours and passing flight tests, solos, and the like. Unfortunately due to term time clashes the only dates available this year was for the weekend of the 11-13 of April. All PUTs are welcome, even beginners who are yet to start their training proper. As the event will be shorter this year if PUTs need their written exams doing she will try and arrange a weekend before for them to be done. Any help from pilots and instructors is welcomed and if new (or old) pilots would like to come along for a chance to fly in a new area they to are also very welcome to join in. Camping is available on site for anyone who needs it, there is a place to refuel and there are also some great places to eat. The Meet is being held at Wolverley Secondary School in Wolverley, Worcestershire where it was held last year. Stephanie says that they have been flying in that area for years and its a lovely place to fly with the bonus that the school is well equipped for holding such an event. The entry fee for PUTs is £25, but free for pilots, instructors and anyone else who are happy to come along and help. Sounds brilliant. For more information or an entry form please feel free to email Stephanie at

Giving you the nod – Stockpile of Cylinders found
8 zebedee cylindersThat squirrel Pete Bish has only gone and turned up another mound of flight cylinders and now they have all been done and dusted they will be hitting the market very soon. This rather splendid selection of flight cylinders includes Worthington, Colt, Thunder&Colt, Lindstrand (very nice) and an AnnexII titanium Flite cylinder. The majority are 60 litre jobbies but I think there was a stainless steel V20 amongst them. All are slaves with Quick Shut Off valves and mainly Rego fittings. Celia tells us that they will all have nice smart jackets to go with them. If you are on the hunt for a good deal best you contact Pete at Zebedee Balloon Services a bit on the hurry up as they won’t be in stock for long. Tel 01844 681527 or visit their website or email

Bristol beckons – Cameron Balloons Theory Exam Course
Cameron Balloons Ltd have announced that their next PPL(B) examination course is to be held on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th March 2014. ‘Check in’ at the Cameron Balloon, St John Street Building is at 08.30 hours on Saturday with the course proper kicking off at nine. A buffet lunch and very short tea-breaks are provided for candidates during the day. Also included in the fee are course materials and a three course Saturday evening meal with fellow course delegates and Cameron staff, providing another chance to run though exam queries informally and also time to get to know the other candidates on your course and maybe discuss ordering a balloon. They reckon everything should be done and dusted by eight o’clock Sunday evening when brains will be frizzled.
Although this is a weekend of intensive tutorials, along with sitting the PPL(B) exams all students are required to know all the subjects thoroughly so that they can take part in mock exams and informal oral quizzes prior to the afternoon PPL(B) exam sessions each day. There are as always a limited number of places granted on a first-come-first-served basis. Cameron Balloons specify that you must have a valid medical, be a current member of the British Balloon & Airship Club and be prepared to have your documents ready for inspection at the start of the weekend. The course costs £195.00 (including VAT). Now here’s the thing, once the course is finished candidates will receive (by post) a Cameron Balloons Voucher to the value of the full course fee which is redeemable against the purchase price of a new complete Cameron Balloon, envelope only, or complete bottom end only. Bookings by 14th February 2014. Enquires to Hannah Cameron or Jenny Rock at Cameron Balloons  Tel. 0117 963 7216 email

Then there’s the….North West and Pennine Regions Training Weekend
Seems it really has never been easier to get some serious hands on training this year and a great way to encourage more into the sport. Not wishing to be left out the BBAC Pennine Region and the North West Region have announced that the Easter Weekend April 17-21 has been booked to be their combined training course weekend. The event is to be held at Thornton-in-Craven near Skipton on presumably neutral Lancashire/Yorkshire territory. There will be three days of intensive training towards written exams, crew training and tether training all based around actual flying. All are welcome. There will be a nominal charge for non-members or better still join on the day. We went to one of their training days last year and it was brilliant and very well attended. Details available through the North West’s website or email

Shock news – Wroughton solar array to be built.
Say goodbye to another landing site. Recently confirmed is the announcement that a huge 150,000 solar panel array covering 170 acres is to be built on the old RAF Wroughton airfield. The former RAF base is now home to The Science Museum Group (SMG) with the old hangars used to store over 30,000 objects. Matt Moore, head of the Wroughton site for the SMG, said: “Solar farms should be sited appropriately and sensitively and this is a great location. Its semi-industrial land and close to a major town. It will provide a secure and reliable income to help the Science Museum continue our work conserving the national collections and improving conditions on site.” The project also includes the now mandatory sweetener ‘community benefit fund’ which could generate around £40,000 a year for local projects in Wroughton. Those seriously upset by the plans include the Model Jet Aircraft Club who will now, rather unsurprisingly, have to find a new venue. Made me smile. Swindon model Aircraft Club site.

Old & Rusty to move – Chiltern Hills Rally bigger and better
Our favourite outing to the Chiltern Hills Rally, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary is to be held at a new site at Weedon Park, Weedon Hill near Aylesbury. The site is on the right as you travel towards Buckingham just out of Aylesbury adjacent to the Bucks County Showground Site on the A413. For Austin 7 mounted Tomtits the postcode is HP22 4NN. The one day event on Sunday 18th May includes a 25 mile Morning Road run from Aylesbury Tuck Café, 12-13 Edison Road, Rabans Lane Ind Estate, HP19 8TE starting between 8-9.30. The entrance fee for spectators is £6.00 per person with children and parking free. Dogs on leads welcome. Over a 1000 vehicles are expected to turn up and there will be the usual splendid Children’s Rides and Slides, A Fun Dog Show (entries on the day) and plenty of trade and auto jumble stands. If you want to enter your pride and joy then it’ll cost you a fiver in advance or £10 on the day. Entries close on 19th April. BNow what do we have that will make it the six miles to the event!!!!

Danger Dunkley in the rafters – Oxford Natural History Museum re-opens
1 OUM reopeningAfter a bit of a closure (best part of a year now) when the beautiful but leaking glass roof got too much for the buckets below, the jewel in Oxford’s crown, The Natural History Museum was closed whilst an army of extremely skilled craftsmen removed, repaired and replaced the intricate glass tiled roof and cleaned the beautiful painted iron work that supports it. Over 8,500 tiles have been cleaned and resealed presenting a interior light second to none just as it was originally intended. To be honest the building is well worth a visit just for the outstanding interior architecture. Just check out the supporting columns, every one a different mineral and with individual decoration. During the restoration some wonderful graffiti was discovered painted by the various tradesmen (and women) that have worked on the roof over the years. Very fortunately a chap called Mike Peckett got to record the scribblings for posterity as you can’t see them from the ground that’s for sure. 2 Dennis dunkley OUM roofAmongst the visitors to the roof was a Dennis Dunkley who left his name in 1979 when repairs were carried out to various sections of the roof. Now with the work all completed and the exhibits also given a make-over the Museum will re-open at seven o’clock in the morning on February 15th 2014. If you have never been there and want to get in a bit of early doors practise then don’t miss it. There is a new café where breakfasts will be served and when you’ve finished gawping at the beautiful roof wander down the building and enjoy a few hours in the equally impressive Pitt Rivers Museum. See you there. Mike Peckett’s brilliant blog with links to his other brilliant pictures of the work as it progressed. About the conservation and restoration of the roof. website for the Oxford University Museum of natural history to give it its proper title.

Call that a City Flight – This is a City Flight
4 melbourne cityStill enthusing and waxing lyrical about the high concentration flying over the Australian City of Melbourne Andy Kaye sent us this rather splendid posting on Ubend of a morning flight taken on 9th January 2014 from a ‘Picture This Ballooning’ balloon! The flight was out of Princes Park, Over Royal Exhibition Buildings, St. Patricks Catherdral, MCG and Nylex sign into the sunrise. You can follow this on a streetmap if you feel inclined and spot the various sites as they drift under you. This is certainly the place to learn the art of target flying! Any vacancies next year?

Relaxing ballooning for sale – Annex 2
Forget all the nonsense and the all invasive bureaucratic bumpf and get yourself into Annex 2 flying. No nothing required and no need for an EASA licence even. Sounds good? Well Pete Donkin is selling his Annex II hopper a Thunder Sky Chariot Ax3-21, G-BKBD, built in 1982 from lovely orange crispy fabric with black nomex. The Sky Chariot to go under it sports a horizontal tank and small reserve cylinder. He last inspected it (not mandatory) on 6th October and it has currently done 65.50hrs. It also comes with a Thunder flight manual and Dick Worth’s signature in the logbook. All this for a paltry £1850.00. Did we mention that it isn’t affected by EASA licence? How about an AnnexII meet in Cologne and fly over their building suitably bannered? Contact Pete at