Balloon Repair Station

Welcome 02.09.14

1 tim orchard balloonIts happened again, a longer than planned gap in putting something up. Weather, you see, and the ongoing saga of too much to do. Anyway here we are again bidding you a fond and smiley hello. We are still a Part M thingy looking after hot air balloons so that has got that seen off. Moving on, since the last scribblings we have had a nice trip down to Bristol and nearly went to the Fiesta. It was to have a face to face with the CAA’s Andrew Haines and Tony Rapson who were admirably propped up by Messrs Ian Chadwick and Mark Shortman. Following a nice tour around the Cameron factory a pleasant chat was had with them over a mug of coffee. Andrew Haines and Tony Rapson, numbers one and two at the CAA, took the bold step to come and meet up with balloonists at the mighty Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Very commendably they took the time out to explain how they saw the future of ballooning and get to know the industry. It isn’t thought that they stayed in Mr Chadwick’s tent though. The meeting was quite productive, went well I think and Mr Haines is prepared to listen as were we. On the home front it seems that the Blight Order has now been issued on the farm so one way or another it will definitely be all change by the end of the year. We are currently appealing to our local MP to see what support he can give. May even offer him a balloon flight and then ask the question at a couple of thousand feet! Socially the workshop has overdosed these past few weeks. Its been more like a series of balloon meets than a business including a visit from a couple of chaps who came for a couple of days to make a short film on the repair side of things. More on that later.

In the news is a lot of stuff on the recent competitions including the, as always edge of the seat, Gordon Bennett Race which sadly didn’t bode well for either British Team. Next time mon braves. Also up is an interesting concept by the CAA to make pilots that infringe airspace sit an online exam. Since the last posting we have put up a nice little piece penned by our Barry on Interior Shots of balloons and a bit on the Leeds Castle Meet. Hopefully they’ll be something up on the Tiverton Meet courtesy of Messrs Street and Steve Roake. In a bid to lighten the load of stuff that we have to move we’ve thinned out the top shelf. Having been pondering what to do with Landrover, G-BUHU, we dragged it down the field and stood it up. It turned out to be amazingly OK so following a bit of landroverfettling its back in the air and promptly disappeared off with Pete Donkin to Bristol and beyond and we haven’t heard about it since. Please can we have it back or best write a piece about what it got up to? The old Spar balloon has sat festering on the shelf for ages and although we did start half-heartedly restoring it in the far distant past further investigation shows that it is beyond it so we gave it to Sandy Mitchell. Our old balloon, G-BMLJ Blackpool Pleasure Beach, is also past its best but would still fly. Last time it went out was as a loaner to Rob Cross if I recall. We’ve offered it to the BBM&L as it did some heroic stuff and a whole host of pilots did their training and solos in it.

On the dark side things have taken a bit of a turn. Barry’s gone and bought himself another Moto Guzzi, this time a Californian (he thinks!). Actually its all a bit straight but he has already taken it to bits and it is currently residing in the main workshop nearer the kettle. On the farm Pete Brown has replaced his Royal Enfield with a really nice straight gentleman’s BMW Boxer. It is really nice and it was a bargain. It will be his wheels to Scotland. As our Trevor has been on nights the Bonnie is also resident so it’s a blokes bike barn at the moment. Along with Dick the Bike are now well into sorting all the bits out and getting on with the Velocette 350 that arrived in a mega-but-all-there heap. Mainly though time has come to clear out as much as possible so its ebay time for the original Piaggio Hexagon which, having dismantled the drive train, has languished in the shed and was replaced by a blue 140 model. We have since repaired the drive but sort of lost interest. It’s a scooter after all. For the moment then please wander round and have a chuckle. Hopefully we’ll catch up with some of you at Sackville but for now all the best from John, Jane, Alice, Dotty and Chris. Thanks for visiting. On the front page is John inspecting Tim Orchard’s balloon on his runway! Clearance, Clarence?