Balloon Repair Station

News 29.09.14

Kubicek TCDS updated
In a moment of complete rashness Kubicek have updated two of their TCDSs. Balony Kubicek BB, BA.003, has gone to Issue 30 and their Special Shape one (SSHAB), BA.017, has gone to BA.017 Issue 18 probably a result of launching Captain Morgan’s galleon. Both changes were dated 02/09/14.

Giles Bulmer
Sad to hear that Giles Bulmer passed away on Sunday, September 7th 2014, following a long battle, bravely fought, against prostate cancer. He was 74 and died peacefully at home. Devoted husband to Gillie and loving father to Callum, Charlie and Jeremy he was cremated at a private service in Hereford. An event to celebrate his life is to be announced at a later date. Since 1991 he had been a director in the local Hereford-based charitable trust set up by his father and which over the years has donated many thousands of pounds to Herefordshire Hospitals, charities and individuals.

3 bristolbelleGiles, one of the Bulmer cider making family, far right in the picture, was formally married to Christine Turnbull, Gerry Turnbull’s daughter. He was foremost in the development of the modern hot air balloon and, as a member of the Bristol Gliding Club, was one of the original four members of The Hot Air Group that built Brighton Belle, G-AVTL, arguably the first of the ‘modern’ hot air balloons built in Britain following the development and designs by Ed Yost in the USA. Bill Malpas, chairman of the project, along with Mark Westwood, Giles Bulmer and Don Cameron were inspired by the antics of the balloons that appeared at the 1966 Dunstable Air Day one of which ended up over power wires and at which Gerry Turnbull had his first hot air balloon flight in the dark! They were later joined by Charles Meisl a garage owner originally from Czechoslovakia, Tom Sage a press photographer from London and Malcolm Brighton who, having already built a few balloons, became the main builder of the, by now, appropriately named, Brighton Belle. After an unsuccessful first attempt, when the fabric split, following modifications in the design by Mark Westwood and Don Cameron, an unscheduled successful first flight was finally made on 9th July 1967 from RAF Weston-on-the-Green by Gerry Turnbull 5 G-AVTL Bristol Belleclosely watched by, and reported on, by the media! Bristol Belle was first registered to Bill Malpas on 17th August 1967 and transferred to Terry Adams in 1974. It is currently declared as having been ‘being permanently withdrawn from use’ in September 1981 and is now in the care of the British Balloon Museum & Library. Despite its rather sad condition it is still gallantly inflated from time to time.

Let the Long Jumping Commence
16 Anthony Smith Long JumpAs it will be The Anthony Smith Commemorative Year for the Long Jump entries are being strongly encouraged. Rules are as simple as always, just fly as far as you can within the confines of the British Isles (including Ireland) during the month of October. Following Anthony’s sad death at the age of 88 this year and to commemorate his long association with The Long Jump the 2014 event will be held in his honour. He initiated the popular idea for every entrant to receive a present at the survivors’ lunch so the gallant Robin Batchelor has promised to see to it that every entrant receives a copy of his book about his raft trip across the Atlantic (to be published in February 2015). Now there’s a thing. The Main Long Jump website thingy is at The Faceache page is and to enter you’ll need to go to

Team Scaife do it again – And the winning balloon is a Kavanagh
10 nicola scaife world championThe first Women’s World Hot Air balloon Championships held between 8th and 13th of September 2014 in the Leszno region of Poland has been won by none other than Matthew Scaife’s missus Nicola Scaife who, as reported last time round, managed a very respectable 5th place at the British Nationals. Flying her Kavanagh Racer wotsit Seems that the young Scaife’s have a natural aptitude for competition flying. We watched her progress with keen interest as she managed to gradually build up a seemingly uncatchable lead. She was laying third after the first task and won the second. Her first four tasks went very well with scores over 900 for each. She then dipped done to a paltry 640 in a Hesitation Waltz but then it was back to form and she won something called a FON (no idea). Another hiccup in another Hesitation Waltz, where the target area diminishes the further you get into it and the score increases saw her turn in a miserable 26th position only gaining 342 points. Had her luck run out? No way Hozay. Task 13, a 3DT (apparently nothing to do with drink but a three-dimensional Task completed in space we think), saw her at the top of the table again scoring a 1000 pointer and her third task win. All looked lovely and Matthew was already ordering a new shelf from Bianca at Bunnings Warehouse whilst taking care of baby Hugo’s needs in the back of the retrieve. The weather then turned and things were getting tight after a disastrous score in a Watership Down (who dreams this stuff up?). Task 16 and, obviously, a fly-in followed by a Hare and Hounds which demands great skill. If it went wrong it did and Nicola blamed her map for not working. We had a go at folding and re-folding a map and demonstrated that they did work equally well whichever way they were up. She didn’t seem very impressed. Turned out it was her electronic moving map thingy that had gone down and resulted with a score of 132 and a very disappointing 34th place. Her lead had collapsed but then so did the weather and in the end her rather consistent performance left her with 12489 points thankfully 88 points clear of the other high scorer Austrian Elisabeth Kinder Mann. Third place went to Agne Simonaviciute from Lithuania over a 1000 points behind. The first Woman’s Championship had been pretty exciting and had a really good turnout with 38 entrants flying a commendable 16 tasks in 5 flights. Popping by to say hello on her way back to Heathrow Nicola was well chuffed and deservedly so Hugo however seemed a lot more interested in the International tractor across the yard. 11 Hugo the DiggerNext up is the Worlds in Japan where Matt will do the flying and Nicola the nannying! At this rate it isn’t going to be that long before they will be competing with each other. That’ll be interesting. For all the results go to and watch for details of the next Woman’s World Championships.

Sackville Success – Murky but marvellous
13 bennett grass roots 2015This year’s Grass Roots Meet managed to get full marks yet again despite a degree of murkiness that just didn’t really go away. Entries this year were higher than ever and the camping field packed to bursting with some camping in Tim Wilkinson’s back garden (well field actually). Unfortunately for me I was on old person duty on the Sunday having been booked at the last minute to take Jane’s dad to his traditional Little Ships trip on the Thames as part of the Dunkirk memorial event. Braking with tradition I turned up on Friday and stayed over driving back on Saturday night in the old person’s car which was scary enough when a muntjac tried to bowl it over as I came through Brickhill! Jane stayed over Saturday night to keep the flag flying and the port flowing. Grub this year was provided by the Kielder Organic Meats Company and it was absolutely fantastic and very, very reasonably priced. Top marks went to their beef stew. The bar ran out of proper beer which was a bit of a disaster but then again there were a lot more then expected and bottles, cans and fizzy stuff kept spirits high. The ballooning was equally epic with five PPL checkouts Big ones go to Simon Wardle, Bob Gower, Alina Nikiel, Brian Mead and Rob Lovell. Conditions were not that clever and some serious skill and concentration was demonstrated by them. By Sunday lunchtime an amazing 98 different balloons had turned up completing an astonishing 219 flights. From a Landowner Relations perspective it couldn’t have been better with no problems at all reported and, in fact, some Sensitive Areas were removed as an increasing number of farmers and locals are getting accustomed to the annual event and actually taking part and this year some local farmers were actually doing retrieves!! Highlight of the show was the guest appearance by Don Cameron who received a very warm welcome and was thrown into the air on Saturday evening.

A real joy was the arrival of Mike Gunston who managed to fly into the meet from Fairoaks in his aeroplane, his first attendance at a balloon meet since his car accident. The Biggleswade Trophy, very popularly, went Dave Court for his hard work on EASA. A smile was raised and good chuckle had after Ian Chadwick got the Long Distance award having made it to Old Warden arriving on the day of their biggest show of the year (NOTAM’d). They were perfectly happy it turned out (o: William Wood (Chris Woods old boy, as in son) and Andy Collett escaped the murk by going to 10,082ft and 10,000ft respectively and got Altitude Awards. Somewhat thought to be rigged Rob Cross and A.N.Other won the Target Prize. We were flying alongside them at the time so sadly have to report that they did drop their marker on the hard to spot target that I rather suspect they flew over by accident judging by the cries off “Cripes is that the cross? Where’s the *** marker?” 14 grass roots take-off 2015Big thanks as always went to Ultramagic’s Richard Penney for his continuing support, Tim Wilkinson and all the numerous helpers that spent the weekend charging about making sure everything was as it should be. Having managed four out of four next years’ event is really going to have to go some but the even better news is that Richard Penney has agreed to sponsor it once more. For loads of pictures taken on Saturday and Sunday have a look at Keith Ogden’s site and, in due course, there will be an article.

Two down as meets cancelled
Whilst Bristol, Northampton and Sackville roared away to an all time success rumours were out that the Israeli balloon meet had been cancelled or at least closed to foreigners on account of trouble with the neighbours. Meanwhile news about the proposed Turkish Meet were also somewhat confusing. Some applicants had allegedly been told that the date was yet to be confirmed and that if they sent off the entry fee then they would be notified when it would take place. That didn’t inspire confidence either.

Wire Strike advice for Balloonists
The CAA have highlighted the latest publication “Safety Information for Balloonists”. published by the Energy Networks Association which has been brought to their attention by Vincent Cranny of Electricity North West. Similar documents have been published in the past but, with four known balloon wire strikes in the UK so far this year, it is appropriate for all balloon pilots to read a copy of this guidance. This document is also likely to be referred to by the emergency services in the event of a balloon wire strike. There are a number of other guidance documents on the Energy Networks Association website,, relating to aviation safety.

Click on the ‘SHE’ box then click on ‘Safety’ then ‘Safety Advice’ and if you haven’t fallen off the pylon click ‘Leaflets’ and “Eureka” you will see Public Safety Notices covering everything from not taking electric fires into the swimming pool to Ballooning. Clicking on the subject matter downloads the leaflet to give you something to read on your iphone whilst you await rescue.

Back by popular demand
Nice to get confirmation from James MacDonald that the Leeds Castle Flyout & Glow is back in 2015 with the classical concert and probably a Spitfire flypast is confirmed for 11th July 2015. For the Radio Two fans Car Fest South are inviting a limited number of balloons to attend their 2015 event for the third year running which will run from 28th August – 30th August 2015. Contact Jem Ballooning for further details. Email

Cameron Balloons Maintenance Course announced
Cameron Balloons will be running their next Maintenance Course from the 4th to 6th of November 2014. Described as ‘ideal and beneficial for existing or training pilots, Civil Aviation Authority personnel, Cameron Balloons representatives and for experienced balloonists who would like to refresh their balloon maintenance skills’ it is more often than not quickly sold out. The three day course is run by Cameron Balloons staff, overseen by Lindsay Sadler, Production Director and costs £384.00. A non-refundable deposit of £144 per person secures a place and please note, all places are on a first-come-first-served basis. On completion of the course attendees will receive a Cameron Balloons certificate which lists the level and skills that have been attained. The course covers basic permitted maintenance, using a practical hands-on approach to the topics covered in the Cameron Balloons Maintenance Manual. Course study materials and practice equipment will be provided by Camerons and a buffet lunch each day is included in the course fee. Advised background reading if you wish to attend is the latest Cameron Flight Maintenance Manual which is available online, free of charge, at A minimum of 6 candidates and a maximum of 12 per course (groups of 6 per workshop) will be accepted. Should you require local accommodation Cameron Balloons are happy to help but the price is not included in the course fee. Cameron Balloons Ltd do draw your attention to the fact that completion of the course does not permit any certificate holders to be an approved inspector nor an approved repair station. It is however a current BBAC requirement that applicants wishing to become approved inspectors must attend a manufacturers’ training course. To book please contact Cameron’s Sales Department: or telephone +44 (0)117 963 7216. Apologies if we’ve mentioned this before which I half think we did.

Two days in Cologne – Date for the diary?
The second European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airworthiness Directives (AD) Workshop is planned to be held on 02 and 03 December 2014 in Cologne. This workshop is again addressed to all interested stakeholders (how that grinds on the senses) such as operators, CAMOs, maintenance organisations and design approval holders, who want to have a better understanding of EASA processes related to the publication and/or adoption of Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI), i.e. Airworthiness Directives and non-MCAI, i.e. Safety Information Bulletins (SIB). For reaching this objective, during the two-day Workshop, some general presentations will be provided by EASA AD experts. In order to build a challenging detailed agenda, they invite you to contribute to it by sending questions and /or topics of interest related to Mr Nicolas Miton at the following email address: Ah now I get it they are asking the participants to organise the programme and then charging to attend. Brilliant as usual.

The registration will be opened in September 2014. You will be invited to complete the online registration form using the EASA tool webshop (under AD Workshop event on the EASA website). An administrative fee of € 100 will be charged per person. A business lunch for the 2 days of the Workshop is included in the fee. For further information on the Workshop please contact the Safety Information Section:
Tel.: + 49 (221) 89990 4039. E-mail:

Horse power on the increase
7 mary's cartWe had planned to nip up to the gathering at Old Buckenham over the weekend but with one thing and another it didn’t happen which is a shame as the old airfield is packed full of history. The one thing was sorting the old Standard 9 to convert it to building blocks and the other was to go and see and probably buy a trap with daughter Mary. Mouse, or rather more appropriately Danger Mouse, is a pony that is very good but not ideal for children or the inexperienced to ride however, following a conversation with Andy Austin’s missus, who is a very well accomplished driver and a trip up to the depths of Northampton for a demonstration it now appears that 8 schooling Dangermousefollowing some tuition and field trials Mouse seems to have a natural ability to become a trappist or whatever you call a pony that pulls a trap. Sunday then saw Mary and me head for Canterbury buy the aforementioned cart and head back all smiles and happiness. Quite what Mouse will think of it one can only presume but they were all out buying a harness and a bridle with blinkers on Monday so its only a matter of time…..

Kop this – The alternative balloonists’ day out
15 Colin Wolstenholme Riley Kop HillEthos of our business has always been variation so it was a delight to get over to the Kop Hill Hillclimb and enjoy this amazingly entertaining day. You can get a time up the Hill but to be honest its just the thrill of roaring up Princes Risborough’s Kop Hill without anything coming the other way that is the thing and listening to the banter that passes for a commentary. After a dull day on the Saturday the weather on Sunday was perfect so we all trotted over to watch the spectacle and marvel at the number of old and rusty balloonists that turned up. There was John Albury in his Triumph TR4, Robin Batchelor assisting a bloke that is rebuilding a replica of the Jappic, a very famous record breaking cycle-car from 1925, David Body, or more correctly Dorothy Body with her Morris 8 Tourer, Julia Dean’s (now Wolstenholme) dad in his Morris 1000 and the man himself Colin with his fantastic Riley Racing MPH which we all sat in and dribbled over. Rumours were high that Nick Godfrey was going to bring along his Triumph TR something or other but he was a no show apparently hiking in the Cairngorns and there was no sign of family Bowley and their Austin Seven this year. Milling round the exhibits we bumped into Robin DB searching for a Daimler Dart and although we didn’t actually meet up with them Dellie Gray-Fiske was reported as having been seen in something exotic whatever that meant and Terry Duffell had been and gone in his Model T Ford. Highlight of the day for me was a bloke in pudding basin helmet and Belstaff aboard a Manx Trident with huge megas that absolutely howled it up the hill. This was just ahead of a very impressive performance by a D-type Jag and a noddy Austin that stunned everyone and went like a missile. The lovely thing about this event that if you ask nicely, or 12 Berliet and Charlie Kopjust stand still for too long in an admiring sort of way, adults and kids alike will be invited to sit in or get on something usually extremely valuable. It’s a bit like Grass Roots for Rusty car and bike people. What is also equally refreshing is the kindness of the next door farmer who this year let people park in his lucerne. Let’s hope it was just a break crop then!

Then there were two
4 G-BVBJ coffee jar irishMalcom White in jolly Eire has now finally got all the paperwork together and has taken the ‘other’ Maxwell House Coffee Jar, G-BVBJ, for a jaunt. Somewhat neglected it is now back in the air and despite the poor way in which it had been stored until ‘rescued’ by Malcolm it looks remarkably good and flew well. Just playing on the safe side for the first flight it was loaded quite lightly hence its baggy bottom! This then replaces Malcolm’s other shape, the old Sainsbury’s Bananas, that has been sold to a bloke in Los Angeles. “It was truly heavy and the Coffee Jar is a doddle to pack away in comparison so we’ll be keeping this one!” said a jubilant Malcolm.

Time and place for everything – Patio block incident wrecks plane
9 engine damage to block pavingThis is by far one of the best ‘If it can go wrong it will go wrong’ demonstrations in a long while. When the engineer aboard this Shaheen Air International Boeing 737-4Q8 (AP-BJR) asked the Tower at Sialkot International Airport in Pakistan for permission to carry out an engine run they happily granted it. Clearly the test was not carried out in the correct manner or in the correct place and the man in the cans was really not looking (if they had one) so once the poorly maintained  paving started to move it was not long before blocks were flying everywhere. Unfortunately, apart from the pile that ended up on top of the stabiliser there was substantial damage to the fuselage and under the stabiliser. Described as ‘substantial’ the damage was extensive both to the apron and aircraft. It is interesting to note the very even flow pattern from the engine that was run up but there are probably better and cheaper ways to achieve this.

Bits that got nearly got away

Burner of the month
2 burner of the month 0814Feast your beadies on these then. A pair of centre-gimballed polished Lindstrand Jetstream burners. We love kit like this although we have to admit to being a tad reluctant to touch it without gloves on. Generally Lindstrand burners come with anodised blocks in various colours and we have to say that we haven’t come across ones this lovely ever. Were they a set of demos built to impress? We’ll have to ask Simon Forse he’s bound to know. Whatever, they are fantastic but care must be taken in bright sunlight!

A very public proposal
1 howard1This year’s Northampton Meet enjoyed huge success once again but highlight must have been the very public proposal by Howard the Roof to his good Lady Gaynor Jones dressed as St George (not Gaynor silly I mean Howard) was dressed in amorous armour having been told he had to be night in shiny armour if success was to be forthcoming. Never one to hide in the shadows Howard got on the PA system and in front of a very large crowd went down on one knee and popped the question in a very Knightly manner. Thank goodness all went well and the event toasted in the traditional manner with some fizzy lemonade so that he could go flying later. We now await an announcement of the wedding. That should be interesting early rumours suggest that guests arrive dressed as serfs. The other thing I meant to ask was how did the load calcs come out for a suit of armour?

Happy very solo Rob
6 rob's soloYes I know its not a onesie, that is what one crewman was spotted wearing at Sackville at an early morning flight. This is, I have been told umpteen times, a selfie taken by Robert Lovell during his solo flight which in turn followed his successful check flight with Dave Court at Sackville during the Grass Roots Meet. Now I can’t remember the last time that anyone did their solo in a hopper. Just brilliant we reckon.

Farewell to the Scoot – Red Hexagon goes
As part of the mighty clear out ready for the HS2 debacle to thunder through Wendover the first mighty red Hexagon Scooter has been sold. This was featured in a frequently hit article ‘Replacing your Scoot’ a while ago and served well until dismantling the drive belt and later falling down a large pothole at Weston Turville. Luckily a newer bigger engined blue one came up on eBay so was snapped up earlier this year and the red one has languished unloved on the otherside ever since. Hopefully the buyer has been and taken it away by now. Stop Press, he has and a what very nice man from Northampton he was.