Well a hearty breakfast and fine hello to you and big thankyou for calling by. We are presently involved in high level talks and discussions concerning the layout of the site and the road forward which translated means early visits to the Swan! Essentially this site supports the continued airworthiness business with information about most things balloons but digression is a norm. Sadly we have to report that this time there are no less than three articles up on ballooning and all in Europe as it isn’t quite totally submerged. Many thanks to our contributors who when asked for a report sent us a précis of the event and we make it up. Love it. Now then, in the News is also some stuff mainly relating to the rush of training opportunities out there. If you are even half interested in balloons and ballooning you might like to consider getting in contact with a region near you and going along to meet them and if you enjoy yourself join up. Be warned though that balloonists are an eclectic and sometimes eccentric bunch but you can be assured that you will have a good time and be warmly welcomed. Their addresses are all in the Links page. The ballooning world is now on the verge of European legislation affecting their hobby and new licensing requirements are rushing towards us. Luckily we have two stalwarts Dave Court and Phil Dunnington of the British Balloon and Airship club, assisted by a small army, who are trying hard to get the best deal in place for pilots both current and future. To this end Dave Court has written up and presented the BBAC’s proposal to operate as an ATO (Training Organisation) which he will hopefully have in place by April or May. This will mean that pilots will be able to convert and maintain their licence privileges into the future. It is unlikely that there will be an alternative dedicated ballooning ATO for some time to come so the BBAC ATO will no doubt be open to all but if you want to get the best out of it and receive updates, news and support then you should think about joining the BBAC. So far the cheapest and easiest English language certificates and EASA Instructor Training Modules have come from the BBAC. As the licensing is European then it may well work for anyone in Europe so think about it. Full details from their website www.bbac.org.
This time out we have three lovely little ditties for you put together as always from rumours myth and legend. Our lovely Irish folk (Eire this time) along with Paolo Oggiwotsits from Mondovi sent us some stuff about the Epiphany Meet held in Mondovi and appropriately called The Twelfth day of Christmas? - Epiphany in Mondovi along with a stunning piccie or two that will get bigger if you click on it them, then that very nice Graham Holtam not only allowed us to recount his and Dave Ling’s Alpine adventure, Flying Tales from Filzmoos - Rock on Tommy?, but also sent us a couple of pics and a broken balloon to mend, many thanks especially considering the damage was by a turning vent and didn’t get any of the artwork, very professional. Following on in a while will be a bit about our hero Chris Wood and his sidekick John Rose’s Alpine flying adventures. We haven’t thought of a name for the article yet so you might have to take a bit of a wander round to find it. Probably something along the lines of Diabolical Balloon Meet! In the pot for next time are a pile of Trevor photos and the latest on his moped thing plus the whole story of Alan our New Hudson that now has its most appropriate numberplate stuck on. I even took it for a spin round the yard the other day. Talking of which we are definitely looking to be out of our lovely workshop by the end of the year. We won’t be moving far, in fact hopefully we’ll be nearer to Wendover than we are now and in walking distance, albeit across the fields, to the Swan. On the plans for the new workshop which we hope to build in the style of a Martello Tower will be a mounting for a 155mm cannon to take out Volvo BMs levelling the landscape ready for HS2. Blast it, I bet they are key words in Cheltenham. Sorry.
Ahead of our move, quite understandably, personal possessions are on the move. The little Honda S800 is coming on a pace and if I get round to it I’ll put some piccies up in due course. Quite a lot of tidying (biffering) has already gone on plus some more eBay consignments. I can never remember which letter is emphasied in Ebay. Last time I wrote biRo without the capital ‘b’ they writ me a leter! I know, now they will again I expect (o: Barry has been told to either get his Guzzi on the road or publish his article whilst we are considering how to raise the money to build the new workshop (or two now as it seems we also need a bloke’s shed thing). The weather is hindering things though big time. It’s a bog in the fields, even over the chalk, and we now have about half a dozen envelopes that need inflating plus the first of the ride balloons are now due in for their annuals. Wind is what we need without the rain factor. I’d like to say that the weather has meant that we have become a bit more office bound and written up the burner guide but apologies as it hasn’t happened as hasn’t my best seller. We are however all in fine spirits and looking forward to a fabbodazzo year that, even if things don’t go that brilliantly, will continue to make us smile and keep us trying to help you keep flying as cheaply and easily as possible. Nearly forgot, this times piccie is none other than our mucker and Cameron Balloon’s technical genius Barrie Bower posing in front of his latest acquisition for his garden railway. Its none other than 34046, Braunton, a rebuilt West Country Class engine that may well have taken us down to Sidmouth Junction as recalled in The Queen and the Green Goddess - A Day trip to Southampton. Well there’s a thing. Small world. Thanks as always for all your continued support, it is really appreciated. As Sean Simington at Eccles Hall used to say all those years ago ‘Gentle Winds and Soft Landings’. They are definitely soft with all this mud about that's for sure. All the best for now John, Chris, Jane, Alice and Dotty who is out digging up the field.