Balloon Repair Station

News 11.05.14

Airworthiness update – Cameron Service Bulletin SB 22.0 issued.
1 CBL SB22.0 imageIn case you missed the News update hottish off the press Cameron Balloons Ltd have issued Service Bulletin SB 22.0 dated 2nd May 2014 and classed as Highly Recommended and connected with the replacement of pressure gauge fittings. It involves the replacement of the brass pressure gauge feed tube and compression fittings with a stainless steel alternative on mainly Shadow/Stealth burners. This is the right angle fitting that comes off the top of the gauge to which the small feed pipe connects.

Isolated incidents have been reported where the pressure gauge inlet fitting has developed a hair line crack allowing a small leakage of fuel which can cause a small localised fire in the burner can. The incidents have only occurred where the pressure gauge inlet fitting is manufactured from brass (burners manufactured pre-1999). Single burners are not affected. If leakage occurs control should be transferred to another burner unit (Flight Manual Section 3.10) and shutting down the affected side along with burning out the supply hose should extinguish the fire.

The Bulletin affects the following type of burners:
CB2008, CB2031, CB2059, CB2065, CB2075, CB2081, CB2085, CB2086, CB2089, CB2095, CB2096, CB2097, CB2101, CB2103, CB2104, CB2111, CB2113, CB2119, CB2145, CB2153, CB2195, CB2115, CB2222, CB2239, CB2240, CB2242, CB2243, CB2244, CB2255, CB2256, CB2289, CB2298, CB2299, CB2301, CB2305, CB2342, CB2351, CB2351, CB2395, CB2446, CB2459, CB2460, CB2461, CB2465, CB2466, CB2467, CB2469, CB2478, CB2479, CB2494.

This would therefore appear to include mainly all the pre-1999 Shadow and Shadow/Stealth combinations it does not affect single burner variants. A visual inspection of the fitting can be made through the can. If as is traditional with Cameron burners everything is covered in soot wipe clean the fitting to ascertain whether it is brass (golden colour) or stainless steel (silver). Although we haven’t come across this problem it is Highly Recommended so best you clutter off to the trailer dig out your burner if it’s a Shadow and have a gander. Considering the status of the SB we suggest you do it sooner or later however this is not mandatory and considering the very few isolated cases reported the general concensus seems to be that providing you are aware of the situation and keep an eagle eye on it it can probably wait until the next annual. However if you have any concerns or doubts please contact your inspector. The part number for this repair/modification is CB 2472-0000. Don’t forget to ask for a Form1. Camerons quote a price of £51.00 plus the deadly and postage per burner. Fitting would be about half an hour.

If it transpires that you have a stainless fitting then enter ‘Cameron SB 22.0 not applicable, affected part not fitted’ in the logbook. If it is then get it changed and enter the details in the logbook. If you decide not to change it then enter ‘Affected part inspected no leaks’. Any concerns please give us a call. To see the Service Bulletin and the illustrated repair procedure go to;

Mid Atlantic Balloon Festival tragedy – Three die in US Balloon Accident
Three people including the pilot were killed in a ballooning accident at the inaugural Mid-Atlantic balloon Festival in Doswell, Vancouver on Friday evening, May 9th at about 7.30pm. Thirteen balloons took off for the evening flight including retired Lt. Col. Daniel Kirk with two passengers from the University of Richmond Athletics Staff aboard his balloon ‘Starship’. It was reported by witnesses to have struck power wires during its landing approach whereupon it caught fire and the basket eventually separated from the envelope following an explosion. Two people were seen to fall or jump from the basket. The area is heavily wooded and it took some hours before rescue services recovered the first two bodies. The third has now been found. The passengers were named by the University as Natalie Lewis and Ginny Doyle. The Organisers of the Balloon Festival cancelled the event which was to have been held at Meadow Event Park in Caroline County north of Richmond. Our sympathies go out to the families and friends of all those involved in the tragedy.

The accident has further raised safety concerns recently raised by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), who are investigating the accident. They had been asking for more regulation with regard to commercial balloon ride operations however the BFA (Balloon Federation of America) were quoted as saying that the industry’s self-regulation was sufficient and that the FAA was already overburdened with responsibilities. “The accidents cited by the NTSB were the results of human factors and this recommendation does not address this casual link and therefore will not enhance safety” they stated.

Same old same old – EASA licence application hitch
The CAA seem to have achieved another milestone in that despite kindly finally approving the British Balloon & Airship club as a Training Organisation it would appear that they have failed to provide the form that means you can actually apply for an EASA licence. Blinding, probably something to do with their promise to reduce paperwork. Dave Court, the BBAc’s Training Officer gave the following advice, ‘We are waiting for the CAA to make an application form available for licence conversion. Please wait for the correct form to ensure all your existing qualifications are transferred to the new licence’. Note; in the members’ area only.

Good news bad news – Luton to expand and Manston to close
Ardian and Aena the new owners of Luton Airport have finally cracked it and been granted planning permission to expand and upgrade the airport which is well overdue. Despite rumours to the contrary they are not getting a second runway but getting a new parallel taxiway and new Terminal Building as parts of the existing one date from 1965! They have announced that 20 new security passenger screening lanes, up to eight international and one domestic passenger reclaim belts, increased retail, catering, circulation and seating areas and a further two-storey pier will be included in the re-development. The dreadful road system will be improved and a multi-storey car park will be built. This is a bold investment but essential for the airport for anyone that uses it. At present aircraft often have to back track down the runway prior to take off so the planned new taxiway will speed departures up no end and also reduce noise and manoeuvring.

Glyn Jones, Managing Director of the airport, said: “We are delighted that after a thorough process, the Council can proceed to grant planning permission for London Luton. We see this as a real vote of confidence in the airport and its future, underlining the determination of our new owners, Ardian and Aena, to develop and radically improve London Luton and deliver a better airport experience for our passengers in the years to come. The opportunities it brings for the local economy in terms of jobs and investment are significant, and Luton can now press ahead with making its local airport bigger and better, while remaining a good neighbour”.

On the flip side sadly we learn that ‘Kent International Airport’, formally RAF Manston is to close. Its military use dates from 1916 and ran unbroken until 1996. Apart from having the fourth longest runway in the country and having played host to the huge A380 double-decker Airbus and Vulcan recently, the RAF Manston History Museum, The Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum and the Manston Fire Museum are also all based there. It never really got established as an airport despite KLM running an a twice daily Amsterdam service and Flybe providing internal flights to Edinburgh and Manchester from there for a while. Although there were hopes that the freight side would become more profitable it appears that it was just too remote and offered too few flights to be viable. The site was bought by Ann Gloag, the co-founder of the Stagecoach Group, for £1 in October last year, but in March it said losses were running at more than £10,000 a day. It is expected that 144 jobs will go and a number of businesses may have to relocate. Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said he believed the former RAF airfield was a national asset which should be kept open. Addressing the Government’s Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill in the House of Commons, who had described its threatened closure as ‘disturbing’, Sir Roger said that, “Given that Manston has the fourth-longest runway in the country, is a major diversion field and a Search and Rescue base, would my right honourable friend, in the national interest, review this to see how Manston may be kept open?” Campaign groups including members of Save Manston Airport are rallying to try and keep the airport open and a petition has already got over 5,000 signatures.,

Family Scaife clean up at Australian Championships
6 matt winWhat a coup as opposed to a coupe. English bloke Matthew Scaife has only gone and won the Australian Nationals in his capacity as an Australian, apparently! His victory is exceedingly well deserved having got maximum points in more tasks than you can throw a cat at. The event, The 19th Australian Balloon Challenge ran from the 22-27 April during the Canowindra International Balloon Festival. Fifteen tasks were flown by the 24 competitors. Matthew found himself scoring 1000 points in three tasks with six 900 well plus scores giving him a total of 12896 almost 1000 point victory over home grown Sean Kavanagh (11930) with Yudai Fujita around 500 points behind him. Matt’s missus Nicola, with a very commendable 10412 points beating Paul Gibbs (10107) and USA competitor Joe Heartsill (9720), zoomed into a very comfortable 5th place. Competitors this year came from Australia, the USA and Japan. It is now rumoured that Matt intends to enter competitions in the States and maybe the UK? His son Hugo is reported to be training hard in a balloon baby bouncer and may well be entering the UK Nationals in a year or two.7 matt scaife australians What does strike one is that the majority of entrants were all young fellows (and girls). There’s a lesson there.

As an aside the Australians have officially withdrawn form the World Championships that are being held in Brazil. It will be interesting to see who will actually be going from the UK. Rumour Control can report that Rick Vale and Richard Parry (or it maybe Andrew Holly) have been made offers they can’t refuse to attend. We’ll hold our breathes as escalating costs and seemingly not that brilliant management seem to be dogging the event.

Anthony Smith finally gets European Award
2 anthonyFinally the Boesman Trophy has been presented to BBAc President Anthony Smith. It was to have been presented to him at the AGM but somehow, despite being red hot keen to meet Pamela Verheusen-Visscher and Hans van Hoesel who were at the AGM to present it to him, his car took him to Wales and he missed the event. The Chairman of the BBAC however would not let the matter rest and so took time out to drive down to Thame in deepest Oxfordshire with his Missus Christine and present it to him following a fine lunch in the Six Bells with Anthony and his carer Robin Batchelor. Apparently Anthony tried to make a speech afterwards but the locals advised him against it.

What ever happened to – Dick Sargeant
For all those that remember Dick Sargeant you may be wondering whatever became of him? Well we’ll try and endeavour (all Oxford and that) to catch up with him. It seems that he is now Richard Sargeant and has been living in Switzerland for quite a few years. When asked why he is known as Richard having been Dick for years it transpires that in German/Swiss Dick means fatty and he is probably the skinniest bloke we know! Now, if he was in Jolly England and drinking in his local his nickname would have been Fatty the Pilot. I rest my case.

Wedding of the year – Chadders finally bites the bullet
3 chadders weddingThe well known friendly CAA balloon bloke has finally married Sharon at a very local wedding in Whyteleaf. Both were widowed a fair few years ago but having bought a bungalow and turned it into a rather palatial family home to accommodate their equally large combined family they took the plunge and got married on 26 April, which happened to be the BBM&L Inflation Day. Hopes that the weather would be bad for the Inflation Day and pleas by Ian to reschedule it fell on deaf ears so, whilst heroics were going on at Pidley, Ian and Sharon got hitched in the Whyteleaf parish church of St Lukes under the shadow of the equally famous RAF Kenley. The reception was held at the old Caterham Barracks which, we have to say, was impressive. Read the report coming soon. Congratulations to the bride and groom and to the best man, Ian’s son Gavin, who did a marvellous job.

Canadian Lancaster to visit Great Britain
5 lancaster-landingThe Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is scheduled to leave Canada on 4 August. The five-day transatlantic trip to England is being done in four to five hour hops, with refuelling and rest stops in Goose Bay, N.L., Narsarsuaq, Greenland and Keflavik, Iceland. A place was reportedly offered on eBay but we couldn’t find it. According to the eBay post about the flight, the museum reserved the right to assess the winning bidder’s physical ability to go on the trip. Seems you can’t be more than 250 pounds, and you have to be able to climb a ladder and manoeuvre in tight spaces. No in-flight facilities are offered. Now if the French get theirs into the air then there is a chance we may see three Lancs flying together the first time since 1964 when three flew over Toronto from RCAF Downsvie to mark their retirement from service.

Igualada Balloon Meet – be there or be in another country!
Invitations have gone out to participate in the European Balloon Festival to be held in Igualada nearly almost close to Barcelona from the from 10 -13 July 2014. More than 50 balloons attended the 2013 event which attracted all the Spanish press and loads of spectators. Very interesting flights and special prizes are promised by the organizers this year. a first come-first served basis. The entry closing date is 31 May 2014. If you have not attended the EBF before a very warm welcome awaits you at this very laid back balloon meeting! The flying offers both easy and challenging opportunities under the shadow of Monserrat Mountain and the foothills of the Pyrenees. There are competitions but you need not participate if you can’t be arsed. Full flight and weather briefings are given in English and catering facilities will be provided on the launch field for breakfasts and evening meals which are provided. During non-flying hours there is the opportunity to relax in the Spanish sun or for the more adventurous plenty of sightseeing opportunities in historic Igualada and the surrounding area. Mountains, Cities, Beaches, Vineyards all are within easy reach and less than one hour away. If you are thinking about driving to Igualada allow two days from the UK as it is about 850 miles from Calais. For a more relaxed journey consider the ferry from either Portsmouth or Plymouth. The drive at the Spanish end is easy about 5 hours. Tours of the Ultramagic Factory tours with a traditional Paella lunch are also planned. If you have any questions or want advice on attending the EBF please do not hesitate to contact them either by phone or e mail. This is really a great fun event and Spanish like laid back. Ultramagic do point out that despite rumours to the contrary they are not the organizers so feel free to bring a Cameron or Lindstrand balloon or something you knocked up in your shed.

EasyJet remote controlled drones – no not pilotless flights!
4 easyJet droneEasyJet are developing drones to scan and assess easyJet planes and report damage back to engineers. The project is being developed by a team that includes experts from the University of Bristol. The idea is that they will use the helicopter style drones to survey their aircraft rather than have to use towers or inspection platforms. Rather than remote control them they are looking to automate their operation making access to otherwise difficult areas a lot cheaper and easier (hah,hah!). Dr Arthur Richards, Head of Aerial Robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory said, “Aircraft inspection is a great application for drones. Coupled with smart navigation and computer vision, they can get accurate data from really awkward places.” The flying robots are being developed by Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of West England. They’ll probably be orange.

Team Wellwick go bluebelling
10 horses in the bluebellsThe bluebells in the Chilterns put on their best show for years so Team Wellwick set off for a jaunt through the woods. This is a traditional event and as far back as I can remember a ride through the bluebell woods has taken place. Most of the woods had huge clumps of them this year and they were the bluest ever. The Bluebell Ride followed the first pub outing of the year when some outrageous charging across fields took place. The Team have done extremely well locally so far winning quite a few events and the younger members scoring high in the gymkhanas. Flagship Frank the Lorry is due its test and fears are that he may not make the mark but fingers-crossed he can do one last year.

New Workshop needs work!
11 new workshop 100514With the approach of High Speed 2 and the fact we are needing to be out of Hartley Farm sooner rather than later son-in-law Jay has cleared out the last of the hay from our proposed new workshop (no its not the 18th century jobbie to the right). As you can see it will be fine provided we have a dry summer. It is a bit wobbly at the moment as it caught fire some years ago and the steels moved about a bit but it only adds to its appeal I feel. All things being equal work proper will start very soon along with an appeal or two to Dave Cameron for a few squid, unlikely but worth a punt. It is slightly smaller than the current one but we intend to build an aisle down one side so in the end it will probably be about the same size.

Stop Press and snippets gleaned.
What was the Snows Isle of Wight (Balloon) Challenge 2014 seems to have not happened. Rumours were that the sponsors had pulled out but the weather didn’t help. Anyway it appears that it is still on or rather back on and goes on standby from 0600 on 30th of August 2014. Contact Richard Cardy 07902 524993, Email or go to the website for more details.

We just had Lenny Vaughan’s balloon in for an inspection and frankly are surprised it hasn’t sold already. This predominantly silver balloon will fly for hours on a box of matches. Check out the Items for sale.

Ride Operators led by Virgin have finally started to increase their prices. We expected this to happen soon after Go Ballooning stopped ballooning. Prices have been seriously low for many years now. Back in 2001 a ride would have cost around £150 per person but over the years it fell to a low of £65 with many operators recently offering mid-week morning flights for £99. With the costs of propane, diesel and insurance all going off the scale it is quite frankly not surprising that so many of the small operators hung up their gloves or sold to larger operators.

8 G-EEFA in sports hallWe nipped over to Eire the other week to inspect Aidan Murphy’s balloon. Sadly that Mr Ryanair caused an enforced six hour wait at Luton Airport (we’d have been able to use the new taxiway had it been any longer!) but we did finally get there but it was well dark. Aidan had hired a very, very large Sports Hall so we were able to carry out the inspection but firing the burners up did attract the local police. Strange thing however there was a photo shoot for Cuddles the Bear. Seems a certain small child called Sean Cannon had charge of it for a couple of days and it had to do bizarre things and have adventures. Dad Mark decided it ought to have a late night so dragged it down the Sports Hall where a certain Brian photographed it. Fortunately a call was made to the local pub and they kindly kept open until quietly civilized late and the episode was largely forgotten until now.