Balloon Repair Station

News 02.03.14

New Cameron Shape-Dodo takes BA.012 Special shapes to Issue 25
Cameron Balloons TCDS for Special shaped hot air Balloons went from Issue 24 to Issue 25 on 14th February 2014. This officially refers to a Dodo-105 (Bird B) envelope rated at 105,000cu ft. Not even those eager beavers at the Special Shape Faceache site can shed any light on it…yet.
Notheisz Balloons are in the EASA news again having jumped their TCDS to BA025 issue 02 on the day we last went press. This lists all their current models now I must really find out who they are.

New Inspectors in the field – Big welcome to two new Inspectors
We are well chuffed to be able to announce a big welcome and thankyou to Ross Powell and Dan Wilson who join our other fine fellows in the field. Dan Wilson is based in Norwich and has been flying both privately and commercially for a few years now since coming into ballooning in 1997 and is also an Instructor. He is now approved to inspect balloons up to 120,000 cu ft under the Easy Balloons system and although he is yet to get ARC status he will be training and working with one of us to ensure that a complete service can be offered. Ross Powell is very much old school having been around ballooning since the late seventies so is well versed in all aspects of balloons and ballooning. He is based in Hampshire and presently approved to inspect private balloons and issue Airworthiness Revue Certificates for balloons up to 120,000 cubic feet. A big welcome to them both. Their contact details and availability can be found in the Pages bit under ‘Inspectors in the field’.

Rain stop play – Virgin postpones season start
Seeing’s just about everywhere is waterlogged Virgin Balloons have taken the bold decision to postpone the start of their passenger ride operations until March 19th. They have informed all their customers of the change of the start date but wish to assure them that its business as usual after the 19th when hopefully ground conditions will have improved in most areas. Virgin Balloon Flights’ Ken Karlstrom said, “We felt it was a responsible decision to move back the start date to 19th March to stop pilots being tempted to go out to waterlogged launch and landing fields. Also, in the interest of customer service, it was better to inform our passengers at an early stage so that they are not blocking off a day that is already certain to be cancelled.” Ken added that they had also gone to a fully franchised operation this year (their 20th Anniversary) because it was proving difficult and costly, both administratively and operationally, to run some of the areas in the UK from a central location. “We are, as always, working hard to look after our passengers and make the company run as efficiently as possible,” assured Ken.

Allie Dunnington takes a tumble
Rumour control told us that Allie Dunnington who runs the Gone with the Wind Adventure Holidays with Phil Dunnington fell off a bike in Burma and suffered a serious back injury. It is with great relief that having made contact with her via the miracle of the interweb we are pleased to report that having had to remain flat on her back for 504 hours she is confident that she will make a full recovery and be back to diving into cold water on Boxing Day and other hard-nose things wot she does later. We wish her a speedy recovery to becoming upright again.

Don Cameron and the State of Ballooning – How bad can it get?
For those of you not on the Faceache Forum wotsit, hot foot from Cameron’s has come a really good attack on the appalling behaviour of EASA and their agent, the CAA, highlighting the way in which bureaucracy is killing the sport and making it increasingly difficult for the Industry, of which we are a part, to operate. He does make some very good points and raise some interesting quandaries in his article (for that is what it is). Now if you ever had any doubt that The Red Tape Challenge was pretty much a paperwork exercise and that our take on wasn’t deserved then read Don’s piece and discover for yourselves that gold-plating by the CAA top brass is not only alive and well but discovering new heights of absurdity. The time is long overdue for reaction rather than compliance I fear. We have asked him if we can publish it so hopefully it should be up on the site now but if not its on Cameron’s Facebook page but I haven’t a clue how to get to it!!!

(Ed. Fortunately some of us do know how to get to it:

Lydd Airport News – Balloon makes Instrument approach
No we didn’t believe it either but it appears that Sue Kidd and Ed Lubbock (he seems to have stolen the news this time) got charged for making an Instrument Approach to Lydd Airport on Sunday February 16th. The London Region’s Jeff Roberts did a bit of research and found out that despite the very wet ground the winds were about 10 knots or less on the day so its quite feasible. If you don’t believe it then click on their bill pdfalongside for £21.60 for the service provided! Thing is they don’t appear to have landed otherwise there should have been a further landing fee. Maybe they managed to get onto the shingle and caught a Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch train back.

Grass Roots gets even PUT friendlier
Discussions are underway to see if the Grass Roots Meet can expand its horizons a bit and offer to extend the event by a few days if the weather stays favourable. Concern has been mounting about the impending doom that is the EASA licensing system which is now just around the corner and how the organisers could help those last minute potential pilots get checked out under a sensible system rather than hang up their boots in despair. Nothing has been decided yet but support has been given by none other than the BBAC’s Training Officer Dave Court and Richard Penney has offered the use of a couple of balloons if necessary. Watch out for an official announcement soon.

Longest Consultation title yet? – EASA better by the day not
They really are pulling out all the stops these days, those caring, erstwhile, hard working doyons of the world of aviation who continually strive to make aviation safer for us all. To help promote and ensure that legislation is kept simple and to a minimum the latest consultation paper has been published and they sent us a lovely little note that went, ‘Please note that NPA-2014-05 “Amendment to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 923/2012 laying down the common rules of the air and operational provisions regarding services and procedures in air navigation (SERA Part C)” is now open for consultation on EASA website’. If you can be truly arsed to read it, safe in the knowledge that whatever you say, if you understand what they are on about, won’t make an iota of difference then its at and if you want to send them something equally meaningless then to place open for comments please logon at If you have a question for them like have they got any overpaid pointless jobs available then for further information please contact Rulemaking Process Support at

Hybrid Air Vehicle’s Airlander – Cardington Secret’s Out
3 andy rawson cardington hangars Its been a really bad start to the year for us and inspections not least because the ground has been so wet so as the start of the season has crept ever closer the need to get some of the big rides balloons inspected has become equally more desperate. Obviously there is no way we can inspect a 400 in the workshop so an alternative had to be found. Virgin Jeff to the rescue then and Cardington was hired and after a mighty team effort we managed to get through a few jobs including a couple for Wicker’s World. We have been past it a couple of times and have to say it is starting to look pretty smart with its new roof now on and the front and back finished and painted so were looked forward to inspecting the work close up. We’ll be writing up on its renovation, scheduled to be completed this year, later but meanwhile we got to use the far end after an enjoyable safety briefing by main man Barry. The road end is deemed top secret and leased to Hybrid Air Vehicles where something is going on so internal photographs of the hangar, sneaky looks round the screens, nurse, or come to that revealing anything about what they were up to was banned. So we cannot tell you anything about what was going on obviously but the following day the BBC News did so click below to see fore yourself and just remember we didn’t tell you. Thanks to Andy Rawson for the picture of the doors concealing the secret.

Not the Leap Year Meet leaps into the sky
Peter Dowlen’s low-key hugely entertaining annual excuse to foray into Wales surprised everyone this year by managing to fly when the rest of the UK was submerged. We’ll get more news and details on this remarkable achievement later but for now well done and Sunday. Clearly they get the award for the most flown meet this year in Great Britain so far. As we go to press more details have crashed the webblywotsit so see the article elsewhere.

Where’s Jack – Carol Klein tours the World
1 Burma pilots on the beach Following the sad death of our mate Jack Klein Carol has been taking his ashes around the world leaving a bit of him everywhere he loved which is a smashing idea apart from the issue of getting him through Customs I guess! She is currently back in Alaska but did stop off in Burma and visit the Golden Pagoda in Bagan a favourite of Jack’s. Well obviously with all those famous pilots working out there a boat trip and sandbank party was duly arranged along with a flight for Jack. Here they all are then with Carol Klein (sporting the floppy hat), Andy Davey, Graham Luckett, Ian Martin, Mike Petteford, Janet Taylor-Simmons, Piers Glydon, Dave Sutcliffe, Christophe Saeys, Ian Chadwick, Crispin Williams, Tina Rehm, Linda Oxby and Gavin Chadwick amongst others.

Bravery Award? – Ed Lubbock stands for BBAC Main Committee
Ed Lubbock is all set to stand for election to the BBAC Main Committee at the forthcoming BBAC AGM to be held at Stratford on 16th March. With five members due for re-election Ed, currently the BBAC’s landowner Relations Officer has decided to put his head above the parapet. Voting this year can be done online until 12pm (midday) on Saturday, 15th March. He has also put in a proposal to change the present constitution in order he says “to, hopefully, to encourage younger members of the BBAC to consider standing for election” something that has been lacking for many years the Main Committee sometimes resembling the Russian Old Guard. He is effectively suggesting a maximum term of office on the Committee of 4 years. Now the only problem with this may be actually finding replacements or those willing to takeover. One candidate standing with five vacancies doesn’t make it that hopeful still a brave notion and one that will no doubt get heavily debated. BBAC members and associate members can find more from or as always voting can be by post or by actually taking the trouble to attend on the day.

Dave Court travels South of Watford Gap – no passport required
For southerners The London Region’s March meeting scheduled for Wednesday March 26th is most certainly a date which should be in your diary. They are hosting a visit from the BBAC’s hard-working and dedicated Training Officer Dave Court. Dave attempt to explain the necessity for the BBAC to become an ATO (Approved Training Organisation). He will also be explaining more on the changes in licensing arrangements and what will be required from pilots if they want to continue flying. The meeting will be held at The Sekforde Arms, 34 Sekforde Street, London, EC1R 0HA and kicks off at about eight o’clock all welcome. Further details on the pub can be found at

Heads Up – Lindstrand 105 hot air balloon for sale
Peter Foot has just put his 50 hour rather splendid complete Lindstrand 105A G-RAPI on the market. Supplied new to him in 2004 he hasn’t flown it since September 2012 and has been stored in a proper nice dry garage. This is a complete package and comes with everything you need to go flying. The balloon will come with a current CofA and ARC. The asking price is £16,950 which has got to be good value for well maintained extremely low-houred kit which includes a rather nice twin-axle Bateson trailer. See the full details in the For Sale bit in the Pages section.

All Fool’s Meet is back – Bit later though
After a spell away and being beaten by the weather last year the Famous Black Horse All Fool’s Meet is back over the Easter Weekend 18-21 April. Details are yet to be confirmed but it will understandably be held at the Black Horse, Great Missenden. As the Club often says ‘Be there or be talked about’. More later.

Still lurking about – Go Ballooning balloon on eBay
4 G-BXRMWell, well another Go Ballooning balloon has turned up this time on eBay It’s G-BXRM, a 1998 Cameron A-210, s/n 4237. Its Certificate of Airworthiness has been revoked and according to G-INFO on 31/12/07 it had done 460 hours. It is currently registered to Cameron Balloon Flights Southern Ltd, c/o Elwell, Watchhorn and Saxton, Cumberland House, 35 Park Row, Nottingham NG1 6EE. It was formally owned by Ian Hooker then sold to Chris Davies Dragon Balloons before Dragon Balloons was bought by Cameron Flights Southern. The listing can be found here (at the time of writing) and it finishes on Saturday 8th March, type in Cameron A-210 if that doesn’t work. Collection is from Market Harborough. Starting price is £160 (no bids yet) which may be worth it for the bag!