Balloon Repair Station

Welcome 27.10.14

1 LongleatTime has whizzed by and despite having a break and me a pseudo holiday (which didn’t happen) we are back to working for a living. As always we have to point out that in the real world we are a Continuing Airworthiness Organisation looking after hot air balloons. I can think of worse jobs. We had a visit back awhile (I expect should be the other way round) from a couple of budding film-makers who, for some obscure reason, elected to make a film of our daily wotsits at the workshop. It is now out at and is called Baskets and Burners. It’s a gentle film four minute and reminds us that we now look older than we were and I need to loose a stone! Thanks Diego it is really nice. We’ll do a bit on it in the near future as Barry has some piccies. We’ve had a few reports of Long-Jumpers zooming about the skies. Dave Ling and Graham Holtam we spotted way up north ‘going quite well’ and having borrowed a couple of cylinders Rob Cross leapt from Dunkeswell and sent us the piccie of Longleat scene of some fine balloon meets in the past. We are of course not able to divulge any details of their flights and are somewhat disappointed that no repairs were forthcoming despite the vigorous landings reported. We had a great inspector day which seemed to be timed round Pete Bish manning his mobile shop and doing deals left right and centre. It was a grand and educational day for us all. As a result we are looking to reduce paperwork further and running an Inspector Info at the end of the news bit or in a separate bit as and when.

Things EASA seem to be going from puzzling to bizarre but I think in a more-or-less good way. Its just a job trying to keep up with it all. Don Cameron had a bit of luck and ear-holed Grant Shapps the Chairman of the Conservative Part and Minister without Portfolio in the company of the CAA bosses and EASA bloke Patrick Ky at the recent Safety Conference in Rome. Please read the article penned by Don Fighting the Good Fight, it is really worth the read and should encourage everyone be more determined to get what we really want, like left alone to get on with it (unlikely but one can fantasise). Also up is the events surrounding Ken the Fireman’s escapade having failed to recover his balloon from Bovingdon Airfield. As a result of our Inspector Day we managed to get an impressive line up of hoppers so that ought to form another article and as we have promised Steve Roake one on the Cameron Skyhopper (which is half-finished honest) best we get on with it sooner rather than later. The Westfalia tyre wear article seems to be getting as many hits as the Allen Scythe which is rather tragic. It is actually quite interesting to observe how weather dependent the hits on the website are. I find this encouraging in so far that if it is sunny outside so should we be.

Sadness is creeping in at the workshop as we bid farewell to the luvvies in a few weeks as they are moving to Devon ahead of HS2. We are negotiating, if that is the right word, to hang on for as long as we can afford to but will be looking to move in the New Year with any luck and a dryish winter. As a result of this we are still finding stuff to bin, scrap and give away. A couple of crusty envelopes have gone now, can’t remember what they were but they aren’t in a skip honest. On the spanners front we have been beavering away with the Velo 350 which has now been completely stripped and the hardware gone for powder-coating. Dick the Bike has been sorting out the seat and headlight and I am assured the wheels are about to be rebuilt. We also have a monster of Moto Guzzi in to put a side stand on (this weeks’ job). I can’t reach the floor if I sit on it! The ’35 Standard is going to get a engine strip down. Even Pete Bish couldn’t sell it as it is and although it is probably suffering badly out of adjustment valves the compression is well down so its probably got stuck rings as well so it’ll be an engine out job before it gets sold. Well that’ll do for the minute. Please have a look round and a chuckle or ponder Don’s article and until the next time our very best regards to you all from John, Jane, Alice, Alice and Chris.2 hoppers in a row