Big ups and an even bigger welcome to you all, thankyou for calling in. You have arrived in our rather eclectic site where, despite being an Airworthiness Organisation looking after all things hot air balloons, we take a keen interest in almost anything and so there is a varied collection of articles to choose from, on which point we have failed to finish off a couple of new pieces on account it has been sunny outside so, so have we. Apologies then but we will get some more stuff up soon. Actually our briefly on the Little & large Meet is now up (just!). We have been pretty busy but EASA and continuing nonsense on forthcoming licensing means that more and more people are choosing to leave the sport. Understandable really. It is now far cheaper to get fixed wing flying lessons or go for a balloon ride. Quite what can be done we are not sure but be assured we will be supporting any (well nearly any) initiatives that could remove some of the nonsense. The movement towards getting one man balloons de-regulated is gaining momentum and we think this should be applied to larger, perhaps up to 77,000 cu ft, private balloons. I can’t really think of any reasoned argument to apply a similar move to Ride Balloons but the half, already, proposed move to make advertising balloons be in a CAMO needs a Sidewinder. Many people fly sponsored balloons in a private capacity so any further legislation is bonkers. We have seen an unhealthy number put their kit up for sale this year and if you need confirmation then visit Pete Bish’s barn. It is busted! Right that is nearly enough doom and gloom apart from Farmer Jay losing 30 odd big bales and nearly the JCB Loadall in a trailer fire. Farming these days is a lonely thing. When we used to go baling and stacking there were at least half a dozen people involved but these days you can do it on your own or, to make it a bit easier, two of you. The accident rate in farming these days is probably as high as any other so when a call comes in then the old heart flutters. Fortunately the local Fire Brigade were brilliant even coming out later with a very impressive Unimog unit. Thankfully Farmer Jay is unharmed and the JCB only relatively lightly melted as he managed to get it uncoupled and had a fire extinguisher. Do you carry a fire extinguisher in your car?
Since we were last chatting we had a great trip out to Northern Ireland. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to fly during the Sperrins’ Meet but the day after we left the weather turned lovely. Typical! Luckily for us Richard Kipper and his lovely missus were there and took us out for a day. We visited Londonderry and Bushmills and I have to say it was a bit of an eye-opener in more ways than one. There will be a bit up about it soon. One thing that made John and I laugh was that just before we went we’d inspected a balloon registration G-CGOD. As we boarded the EasyJet flight back we were tickled pink when we realised the registration was G-EZUS. Then blow me down we hear a fellow compatriarch had been flying G-ODSS. Coincidence? On the home front we had a fantastic week getting through all the stuff that has lurked in the workshop for ages awaiting suitable weather not least inflating all of them with the help of some jolly fine friends. We also took a day out to visit Sywell to inspect a rake of balloons in jolly fine weather. More in the News bit. On the new workshop front a rethink is going on at the moment having studied the old Dutch barn skellington. May be quicker to build something new. Hopefully we can get those nice Chinese to invest in us as well. Must drop China’s Premier Li Keqiang a note. If he calls into Chequers this weekend we’ll have a word. Just in as we go to computer wotsit the sad news has come in that a Ride Pilot in the US has died during what appears to be a landing accident. Our sympathies go out to all involved.
On the home-front the Bonneville and me went for an MOT but apparently it was the right day but an hour late. This is an improvement on last year as then it was the wrong day but correct time. Can’t win them all but it did mean I repaired the rattling tank, carb intake rubbers and worked out that the rack that I purchased on the mighty eBay and had been in our Q-store for a year didn’t fit. Never mind a plan is coming together to make one! Tomorrow at quarter past twelve we’ll have another go. Still on the MOT topic the Landiecruiser at 250,000 plus miles (the mileometer packed up some time) ago failed on no water in the washers and a technicality whereas the Pickup, now close to the 300,000 mark, needs some welding. We knew this when a lump of sill fell off the other day when we shut the door! John has been suffering a bad cold ever since we got back from Northern Ireland. That’ll be easyFlu then. Despite this he has been very brave and carried out a repair to the very mildewy and builder’s blanket that is the old Elephant balloon. This falls in this paragraph as its not, nor ever will be, an airworthy balloon again (I dare say). We aren’t sure where the repair was needed but think it may have been the head. Despite a tricky bit of access somehow John knitted it back together aka a bit Mr Flame and came away decidedly white! Further down the yard luvvies Andy Sinclair and the Ridgeway Sculpture Studio are soon to relocate to Devon where it rains a lot. They are hoping HS3 doesn’t run to Truro otherwise it will be for nought! Well that’s about it for the moment. I will try to get the outstanding articles up soon but for now we are watching a clear sky and dropping winds and the coming few days look great. Front page piccie is the inside of the Jolly Bananas thanks to Bazzer. All the best from Dotty, John (not to be confused with Dotty John), Alice, Jane and Chris and thank you for calling in.