Balloon Repair Station

News 16.04.14

CAP 747 – Not quite History
The link for CAP 747 has changed, it did so a while back but the specific link has been hard to track down and, to be honest, I forgot to include it last time around. Although now more likely just to have Annex II aircraft updates it still refers to UK stuff and you still need to check it from time to time and the reference number is still required on the Airworthiness Review Report along with various CAA Airworthiness Application Forms. We’ll see how often it changes and maybe include it in the Pages bit under ADs and SBs. will take you to the CAA page ‘CAP 747: Mandatory Requirements for Airworthiness’ and a link to CAP 747. This page also gives the Issue and Amendment Number. This link has been updated in the ADs and SBs pages.

EASA! Fie on you
While on one hand I read with amusement and a degree of scepticism that EASA is reviewing its approach to General Aviation I then go back to my favourite link and bedtime read (not yet on a Kibble tablet wotsit but formally at and the lovely, simple to use, balloon only, list has gone and I am re-directed to a list containing all 681 EASA Type Certificates What is the matter with these people. I expect some idiot got promoted from drones and thought they’d make their name elsewhere. Still, I am reliably informed changes may be afoot but more further down in the paragraph about the AERO event, no not a Hunt the Easter Egg but a meeting in Cologne.

Kew Science and fungal study under threat
4 st georges mushroomHorrified of Wendover has learnt that the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew are in trouble! Up to 120 jobs are set to go and most of them from the Kew Science. These are the people that help identify many of the world’s recently discovered plant and fungi species and thus, indirectly, help to prevent me from poisoning myself following fungi forays. Seriously though this will impact UK and global conservation and all plant and fungal science. There is an e-petition set up by the eminent Professor Philip Stevenson of the natural Resources Unit at the University of Greenwich to try to save Kew Science which you could do worse than sign please,

Scotland Calling – Commonwealth Games Airspace Restrictions
Following the Government’s announcement that this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be subject to airspace security restrictions, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has organised a major briefing session for the pilots likely to be affected. The event, which is taking place at the Universities of Glasgow & Strathclyde Air Squadron, 12 Park Circus, Glasgow, on the evening of 23 April 2014, will feature personnel from the CAA and Police Scotland, explaining in detail the scope of the restrictions and the procedures to be followed during the period of the Games. Details of the restrictions are also available on a dedicated website, which will serve as the focal point for all information relating to the Glasgow 2014 airspace restrictions throughout the coming months. Any changes or additions to the procedures will also appear on the website and will be Tweeted from @airspacesafety

The restrictions, which will be operational between 13 July and 6 August 2014, affect flights taking place in and around Glasgow, commercial passenger flights to or from Glasgow Airport will be exempt. A small Prohibited Zone around the main Games’ venues will exclude all air traffic apart from those operated by the emergency services and the official Games’ broadcaster. This will be surrounded by a larger Restricted Zone, into which General Aviation aircraft can fly providing they have ‘notified’ the flight with air traffic control at least two hours before they take-off. Pilots can do this on two dedicated phone lines. The Restricted Zone will be subject to capacity constraints and so pilots may be required to delay their flight. While in the Zone pilots must remain in constant radio contact with air traffic control and be capable of operating an SSR transponder. There will be additional restrictions affecting Commonwealth Games’ events taking place outside Glasgow, such as the Triathlon in Strathclyde Country Park, the Road Cycle race at Muirhead, the diving in Edinburgh and the shooting events at Barry Buddon.

The Ministry of Defence and Police Scotland will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Commonwealth Games airspace restrictions. Aircraft that do not comply with the procedures may be subject to interception by military aircraft. Anyone interested in attending the event on the 23 April should contact Sadly they now won’t be blowing up the tower blocks to open the games so no planned NOTAM for that at the moment.

The CAA Great Medical Con
When I finally settle down and get my head round the new licensing requirements we’ll put something more out on it but one thing that has come out of this it is in relation to the medicals that you will need. If you are intending to go for the full licence then a Class 2 will be the requirement but if you are going for what is affectionately called the LAPB then a lower standard medical is required and despite the blurb saying it can be done by your doctor (that who holds your records like) the chances of them signing up for it is realistically nil. This leaves you with a CAA appointed doctor (AME) who will most likely charge you pretty well the same as for a full Class 2. Further, and there is more, you don’t need a heart wotsit for the ‘Lappy’. Now that makes them wonder if there is anything wrong with you so the medical will probably be as intense, possibly more so, than the Class 2! The lovely chap I used to see has retired following demands for him to go on a course at Gatwick. As he said a nurse could do what he has to and, rather appropriately, replied to the invitation by asking what they would like him to lecture on? Nice one.

Forewarned is forearmed
J Bennett’s Peter Dowlen sent a rather timely and informative circular out recently in which he points that if, like him, you haven’t flown since last autumn you may be a bit rusty when making your first flights of 2014 making this the most this is probably your most vulnerable time. Almost every year, they (Bennetts that is) as insurance brokers, have an early season claim to sort out. Fortunately it seems, most are minor with just injured pride and a balloon needing a bit of a patch up, however, they all have one thing in common the pilot in command is back flying after a break and something has been misjudged or overlooked. For some words of wisdom from the man himself and tips on avoiding some of the most common3 bennett balloon G-CIJB claims have a look at and, incidently of course, as you get ready for the coming season now is a great time to contact him on 01494 455 801 or to get your insurance reviewed. Peter himself is delighted that Bennett’s logo has changed as it means a new balloon is imminent, a Cameron Z-90, G-CIJB and blow me down with a quote here is a sneak preview. Has a bit of a sad smile don’t you think?

Canvas Balloon takes to the skies
Although one shouldn’t it did make us chuckle. Reported on was brief reference to a Virgin balloon that met power lines in Cumbria. ‘The flight had taken off from Ulverston, Cumbria, UK at about 5.15pm on Friday, carrying 16 passengers and as it prepared to land 60 minutes later, the ‘canvas’ balloon clipped power lines causing them to spark and then snap’. Re-assuring was the message sent by one of the passengers, a Paul Moxon, who tweeted ‘Balloon flight in Cumbria this evening. Fantastic! lncluding, landing through and snapping two 11,000 volt power lines.’ There were no injuries. Fair play to the pilot for flying a canvas balloon in the first place. I bet it used some fuel.

Silverstone dates confirmed
A firm favourite on the balloon calendar, The Silverstone Classic Balloon Meet, will be held this year from Thursday evening (24th July) until Sunday morning (27th July). Camping is £20 per adult for the weekend with a hog roast on Saturday afternoon before flying included in the £60 entry fee. A Night Glow on Friday and Saturday evening will take place for those that are interested and participants are reminded that last year those that took part were rewarded with free food and free beer. Bulk propane will be on site at a competitive rate. The event organiser is, once again, Pat Unpronounceable. Full details and entry forms are now available online at:

Here’s an interesting little thing
I think we have touched on this before in relation to balloon pilots and continuing to practice emergency drills but worth a look is the CAA’s Safety Information Bulletin ‘Aeroplane Go-Around Training’, obviously better known as SIB 2014-09. Sadly it has an EASA reference

The red eye-London Marathon tether
5 marathon balloonsThis year’s London Marathon didn’t seem quite as well attended by balloons this year however red did dominate, possibly something to do with the sponsor! Amongst those spotted by our spies in the field were Clanger (aka Chris Sanger-Davis apparently) and the Redrow balloon, The Holiday Inn jobbie starring Glen Everett along with James McDonald and a crew of millions with an amazing Victoria Sandwich which was on show for breakfast from Mrs Drawbridge. Ed Chapman triumphed with the Ricoh balloon alongside those stalwarts of the commercial ballooning world, and all round nice chaps, The Fabulous Baker Boys with the evergreen BT balloon, Graham Houston making butter and Virgin Money who we can’t seem to find the pilot of. If you were there and know more please let us know. Picture courtesy of Sandie.

Continuing the EASA onslaught – worrying times for balloonists!
Received on the 8th April was an invite to visit the EASA stand at AERO and get some hospitality no doubt like a glass of Chianti! Now unfortunately it didn’t say where ‘AERO’ was being held but it was running from 9-11 April and you probably wouldn’t be able to get in anyway as you were just too late. What was the title of the invite? “EASA presents new approach to GA at AERO!” They went on to say that ‘EASA is coming to AERO with a new mind-set for GA. Change is already underway. The Agency will have a strong presence at AERO. During the show the Agency will unfold its plan for concrete action and measures towards simplifying the regulatory structure concerning GA. Initial focus will be on the lighter end of GA. Visit our Stand (A5-300) in Hall A5 to find out how EASA is changing its approach to GA. Our experts will be there to answer questions about the current system in place and about our plans for the future.’ We’ve met their experts. Anyway they ran three hour and a half discussion sessions on ‘Europe’s approach on Airworthiness: Challenges and solutions, GA Roadmap: Europe on the road towards simpler, lighter, better rules for GA and Pilot Licensing in Europe: A new approach – Challenges and solutions. Fortunately amongst the delegates that did go, and it was in Cologne actually, was Don Cameron and Simon Forse both dedicated to pushing for change. Simon reckoned that although all the great and good are attending, sadly with all of the manufacturers and pseudo manufacturers and all of the senior NAA representatives turning up the meeting has now achieved critical mass such that nothing gets decided or actioned, so it ends up being a glorified networking opportunity! Although business has picked up for Lindstrands in the past few months his main concern is over the new EASA pilot licences. He feels that although they have modified the rules a bit there are a lot of pilots who have talked about leaving the sport because they cannot be bothered with the transition and this seems to be the feeling throughout the sport. Early indications is that pressure from all the manufacturers over the decline in business directly related to EASA legislation means that EASA are going to consider changes to the top heavy balloon related stuff including licensing. So let me just understand this. EASA has been tipping out consultations and NPAs from the word go and been repeatedly told that by interested parties, manufacturers and the CAA that as far as balloons go they are way off the mark and now six or so years of mastication they are saying they are going to sort the problems out that they started by not actually listening. Breath held.

And more…EASA set sights on Remotely piloted planes (and balloons) again
This takes in remote camera systems and may even attack radio-controlled balloons. Hot off the press is the latest umpteen consultation on EASA legislation NPA-2014-09 “Transposition of Amendment 43 to Annex 2 to the Chicago Convention on remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into common rules of the air” is now open for consultation on the EASA website. The deadline for submission of comments is 03 July 2014. If you think this may affect your hobby or business best you read up on it and respond. To place comments, you’ll have to sign up to their automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT) available at

Amy Johnson spotted at RAF Halton
2 Amy Johnson WendoverSpotted on eBay was a negative of Amy Johnson’s first attempt in a “Glider” at Wendover Bucks 13/4/1930. Now I never knew she flew from RAF Halton but seems she did and from the look of it was a bungee launch. I had one of these in a Grasshopper (looked very much like the one in the picture!) on the airfield many moons ago and a right laugh it was too. Amy Johnson is better known for her trip to Australia in Jason and less known for her flights to Japan and Cape Town. Tragically, while working for the ATA as a ferry pilot on 5 January 1941, Amy crashed into the Thames estuary and was drowned, her body was never recovered. On the back of the original black & white glass negative it stated ‘Miss Amy Johnson famous pilot is the latest convert to gliding Wendover Buckinghamshire on 13th April 1930’. Measuring 4.5″ x 3.5″ it made a very respectable £276.00.

Stop Press and snippets gleaned
Saga, Japan, has won the bid to host the 2016 World Hot Air Balloon Championship. This will be an event worth attending. They have hosted it before and any event that has a purpose built railway station is OK by me. At the moment the horrendously overpriced World’s in Brazil have only attracted Rick Vale and Andrew Holly as UK competitors. We sincerely wish them the very best of luck probably in  more ways than one.

1 alina G-CBRKFormally Tim Revel’s, Ultramagic demonstrator G-CBRK which he passed on to Richard Penney has been sold to Alina Mikiel one of Tim Wilkinson’s Sackville Lodge syndicate members. Keen she certainly is as the same evening she picked it up she was off for a lesson.

Paul Still’s G-BURG has been sold to a bloke in Belgium. This was bought new as a stock balloon called K-4 from Thunder & Colt by Steve Humphries who re-named it Lily but became locally known as ‘The Hamburger’.

G-CHUK has been sold to Alex Hook. This was the back up balloon for the huge Converse plimsoll thing that Cary Crawley used to wobble through the sky in and spend the next couple of hours packing away!

Did we mention we are selling kit to convert to blocks and first off is a lovely ’77 basket which is minted, or so our daughter tells us ?! Details in the Items for sale bit.

Balloons over Britain have just taken delivery of two large ride balloons which will be operated on a rotational basis by their members. It is understood that they are sponsored and were built by Cameron Balloons. One will be operating in Bristol and the other up north. More later.