A rather later than planned ‘hello’ this time from us all. We have been rather busy of late and the weather having perked up meant we were outside rather than sitting like a goat in front of the computer, however today there is a large thunderstorm rattling about and so, goat-like, we are in. Goats hate the rain in case you were wondering. I have no idea if they like computers although they will eat almost anything. Do we have to keep saying this though, that we are really an Part M Airworthiness Organisation looking after hot air balloons? Well just did but like our friends we do have other interests so don’t just expect to see stuff about balloons here. Sadly we have to start by reporting the tragic and fatal accident that occurred in Virginia, USA. Our sympathies go out to all those family and friends involved. On the home front the break in the weather afforded an impromptu Black Horse gathering which saw a fine turnout head for High Wycombe in light winds. Amongst those taking to the skies was Mr Dowlen in his brand spanking Bennetts’ Balloon and very fine it looked to. A welcome visitor was Geoff Lescott and his missus. Now I wouldn’t mention it but I think I may have found a balloon that is prettier than Rob Cross’s old balloon. If I see Geoff’s hopper laying about anywhere we may have to acquire it (o: They’ll be something up in due course about the weekend.
In the News there is the Cameron Service Bulletin SB 22.0 on the subject of the feed pipe connector predominately on the Shadow burners in case you missed the update. As it is not classed as mandatory the general consensus is to keep a wary eye on it and be sure you know what to do in event of a leak. Never hurts to practise emergency procedures. I have refrained from a carefully prepared rant at EASA this time but I’ll be sure and give it a good polishing for next time. Thing is that after all the guffaw about the need to get on and get a new licence our dear CAA seem to have failed to provide the necessary form. There’s a surprise then. We did get the bit about our trip to Hatfield House up and it lurks somewhere or other. Our old mucker Steve Roake has written a piece on telephones as they have nothing to do with balloons but I did take out a line once that went across a school playground. I phoned the GPO and explained what had happened but they were, to say the least, not interested and told me the school was on holiday for another two weeks and they’d go round then. They then asked if the balloon had a prize ticket on it and, if so, the organisers details would be on that. I gave up then. We did manage a brilliant St George’s Celebration despite the attempts by the weather to throw us off kilter. Thanks to Mark Shem we had a real day that I’m sure John, seeings as it was nautical and he can’t swim, will remember. It should be under ‘Three Men (and Jane) in a Boat’.
The cluttered up shed has become seriously more cluttered having been the host to Peter Gooch’s trailer that needed some wheelbearings that came out wrong (normal thing when you supply a pattern obviously). This was replaced by a string of private jobs including the ‘£150 I went to France in this’ Corsa needing a bottom joint, Alice’s car needing the brakes sorting then two days later the handbrake cable breaking so back it came. I expect we’ll get the Landcruiser back when its out of diesel. I’ve actually been spending time mainly sorting out all my ballooning stuff. I started by getting the better fan running again. Don’t know why I didn’t mend it earlier. Only needed draining down and a new plug fitting and with a bang and burp it settled down into a healthy roar. I’ve rather amazingly got the bug to get airborne in balloons again. This is in no small part thanks to friends and family amongst which we seem to have had some cracking flights meaning we have flown all the balloons that needed flying including the Strawberry. What did result was that I did sort maps, gloves, matches, strikers into a new Harrods plastic bag and dig out the radios and get them working. ‘Apply charge it until its hot’ technique, leave it on for a few days until completely flat and then recharge. Seems to have worked. I do now recall how annoying the Icom IC-A3E is to use, especially lack of charging light. It’ll be back to the IC-A2-UK then. I do appear to have misplaced a Ball-Vario though so I made do with an old needle altimeter until the big needle fell off. It still works but isn’t quite so accurate at the moment! Anyway the trusty WT trailer remains full of balloon and is refuelled and there is even a spare can of petrol so is ready to go again. Front page is G-BLLW taking to the skies on Bank Holiday Monday morning. Slightly higher, with son Peter on the handles, we tilted over and shot off towards North Bucks. It was a cracking flight and we spent it smiling and laughing. Thanks as always for visiting. Please have a look round a read and I hope a chuckle here and there. If you are passing please pop in for a cuppa, no purchase required! Best regards Jane, John, Alice, Chris and last, but no means the last bark, Dotty.