Bits you may have missed
First up we have the bits that appeared in the News Updates of 17.12.14 and 02.12.14. so if you have read them already apologies and please move on.
Turkey Balloon Accident - Wednesday 16th December
Sadly news has come in that on Wednesday 16th December another balloon accident resulting in a passenger fatality occurred in Cappadocia, Turkey. The cause of the accident is currently unknown but initial reports hint at it being a landing accident one suggesting it was caused by ‘strong winds’. A Chinese tourist, identified as Tang Yi, died at the scene while nine other tourists, all of them believed to be Chinese and Malaysian nationals, were hospitalised for fractures and broken bones, the Strait Times reported. The Dogan News Agency added that ‘the balloon crashed because of strong winds in the Nevsehir province, in the Karadag area, near the Avanos-Nevsehir highway’, ‘for an as yet unknown reason. The injured were dispatched to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Police have launched an investigation into the incident. Our sympathies go out to all those involved. A later report suggests that a total of three passengers were thrown from the balloon during a hard landing due to increased winds.
Maunterndorf back on
In a last minute reprieve news just out that Mauterndorf is back on again and that it is to run as planned from 17-24 January 2015. This is a really good Alpine Meet. Organiser Heinz Schafer explained that the problems surrounding the event had been overcome and that it was going ahead. If you had been planning to go and still wished to you would be most welcome as would anyone else. Please contact Heinz Schafer for an entry form and full details firstname.lastname@example.org
Long Jump Winners announced
Brilliant news, and now official, is that Debbie Day and Mike Scholes have won the Great British Long Jump with a 6 hour 23 minute flight from Cornwall to Market Drayton in Shropshire, an impressive 211.6. miles. Second place went Tom Hilditch and Abi Bridge who took things a bit more easier flew 125 miles in laid-back 9 hours. For all the details and reports go to the equally smashing Long Jump Website http://www.thelongjump.com/?p=893
Andy Rawson's Wingco passes away
Sad news that, that fine fellow Wing Commander Tim Hutchinson who kept Andy Rawson on the straight and narrow, then went on to babysit Jon Rudoni when he took to The Circuit for many years, passed away peacefully in his sleep on the 28th November 2014. Odds on that he was about 93 or 94. He was a Hurricane pilot in 3 Squadron (amongst other things) and used to chuckle when asked about his exploits in the Second World War that he'd "either flown it, crashed it or shot it down". After the war he became the Air Attache to Denmark. More recently he was able to attend the
100 Anniversary 3 squadron and explained that he’d flown the Memorial Flight Spitfire there. “Yes I know sir, a very fine aircraft they were to.” “No, you don’t understand” quipped Hutch, “I flew that Spitfire in 1946! Its in my logbook.” His funeral was held at Bretby Crematorium at 1330 sharp on Thursday 11th December. Our deepest sympathies go to all his friends and family. He was a very fine fellow indeed.
And now for the rest of the news……………
Pennine Region on the ball
As is usual for the ultra-efficient Pennine Region the dates are already up for 2015. The Brass Monkey Meet on 23 January and held in Rudding Park kicks off the year. There’s a pause until 17 April when they are moving north to Barnard Castle and the 2nd Bowes and Bells Meet. The following month sees the Flying Man of Pocklington, for which they have ordered no rain. The Henge Hoppers Meet in Kirtlington is back by popular demand on 12 June and this is one we’ll try and get to. July is the White Horse meet at Thirsk and August has six places available for the Driffield Steam Fair. Naburn Lock near York, which always get good reviews, is on 18 September and Autumnal October provides the excuse for the Autumn Gold Meet in Thornton-le-Dale topped off when the troops rally for the Humber Bridge Meet in November and discuss trees easterlies that never drop out and the price of black pudding. For all the details see the events page or visit the Pennine Regions uber friendly website at http://www.prba.org.uk/meets.asp?p_id=13
Polish balloonists launch parachutists into the record books
On December 3rd balloon pilots Dariusz Brzozowski and Vladimir Kłosek ascended to over 10,600 metres along with three parachutists, Tomasz Kozlowski, Thomas Witkowski and Arkadiusz Majewski in an attempt to break a few records which of course they did. the records that are currently being ratified by the FAI are the highest exit from an aircraft at 10,650m (34,940ft), Longest freefall from an aircraft at 9480m (31102ft) and the highest parachute jump in Poland. Just to make it a bit more interesting they did it as a three-way formation. Lift off was from Popławy (Poland) and the temperature when they jumped was a well brassy -55ºC which is probably what attracted Termo Organika, producers of high performance insulation products for the building trade, to sponsor them. Training for the jump started back in September and included spending time in a seriously serious deep freeze and training at the Stratosfera Polska Freeflycenter Trenning w Tunelu in Leszno, which is parachuting tower thingy where they went through emergency procedures and the like. http://www.polskastratosfera.pl/
Competition results - the FAI (amongst others) get a big smack
We like to keep abreast of the various balloon competitors and competitions at all levels so it is extremely frustrating when it comes to finding out the results or even who has entered these events. Now you’d think that the FAI who sanction and monitor and police the major ones (like The Worlds in Tochigi) would have a great website showing the results but no they don’t or if they do I lost the will to live trying to find them. The British Ballooning Competitions Club is no better. Their site tells the outsider diddly. The only place you can find stuff on a regular basis is sadly Ultramagic, providing one of their balloons is in the running. So big apologies to all those that entered the big events representing their country but our results this time are that Matt Scaife (token Australian) came fifth in the World Championships in Tochigi flying an Kavanagh Racer meanwhile Team Barefords whipped the opposition in the Junior Worlds, Dominic coming first with 20,976 points just pipping Rokas Kostiiuskevicius from Lithuania (20,819) and French pilot Clement Seigot (not in an Ultramagic) with 20,197 points got a third. Sister Stephanie followed on with a respectable sixth place scoring 17,808 an, like her brother flew an Ultramagic Racer (in fairness there is an article in Aerostat). Meanwhile the Italians chose to hold their Nationals in December and first time entrant Federico Miceli hammered the opposition coming a very convincing first after 19 tasks and six flights. Brilliant show old chap. Fourth and hard-earned place went Paolo Oggioni who also organised the Championships just in front of fellow Mondovi man Giovanni Aimo who took fifth. Then blow me down at the last minute we get a results sheet for The Worlds (courtesy of Faceache I suspect). Seems we did have David Bareford there who managed to come 10th with 15920, Richard Parry 15th with 13556 having suffered a wretched -190 in a WSD whatever that is and 34 in a Pilot Declared Goal and bravely coming in 22nd place digger driver Lindsay Muir. Now why couldn’t the FAI post the results rather than a picture of a presentation that we couldn’t even download.
Back to school - CAA Exam dates announced
The dates for the CAA CPL(B) exams to be held at Gatwick have been announced as 13th February 2015 (closing date 30/01/15), 17th April 2015 (closing date 03/04/15) and the 12th June 2015 (closing date 29/05/15). The fees are set by the CAA at £50 per paper and payment in advance will be required. It was looking possible that the CPL exams would cease with EASA nonsense but after a rethink they are to be continued for a while yet and a revue of the situation carried out next year. Application forms are available from http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=33&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=654 and the lovely ‘CAA, we want your money’ form FCS1500 can is at
Grooving with Picts - Ivan sets new record in a cave
How on earth we missed this earlier in the year I’ve no idea probably on account of the unassuming man that did it. Back in the day when we were editing the Balloons & Airships magazine we seemed to spend a lot of time reporting on the antics, expeditions and meets organised by Ivan Trifonov, a sort of Austrian with a Croatian passport. Well he hasn’t vanished quietly into the history books, back in March, now a respectable-should-know-better 70 year old, he flew a specially built hopper down into Croatia’s Mamet Cave in the Velebit Mountains. This is one of the most spectacular vertical cave shafts in the world offering a clear drop of of 675 feet. Guess who else has been down there? None other than Felix Baumgartner’s who, almost ten years to the day, somewhat bonkersly base-jumped into it. Ivan spent a very cautious 25 minutes descending to the cave floor slightly longer than Felix’s plunge. To achieve this a specially designed balloon hopper was built (we think by Kubicek) and Ivan took a couple of cylinders to be on the safe side. His journey, filmed and photographed from a variety of angles, has been submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records. Once verified this will be his fifth World record having already been honoured with four Guinness World Records for hot air ballooning over the South Pole, the North Pole and the Mediterranean Sea and as the first man to stand, dive and fly over the North Pole all within 12 hours. I bet he needed a cocoa after that!
http://www.argophilia.com/news/ivan-trifonovs-amazing-balloon-journey/215330/ links to a great bit of film of the flight and more on the story at http://www.lasplash.com/publish/International_151/world-s-first-underground- balloon-flight-completed-in-the-mamet-cave-in-croatia.php
Man in a bin
Talk about nutters, somehow completely by accident we came across this footage of some poor cash-strapped balloonist flying in a wheelie bin stolen from a nearby caravan park in Leeton, NSW Australia. He was desperate to join other balloonists at the Leeton Easter Festival so cobbled together a balloon on his mum's sewing machine but was short of a basket and some marbles so after a bit of experimentation he rigged up a wheelie bin using gaffer tape and a length or four of telegraph wire. Wheelie Adams (by name and nature) then took to the air to the amazement of the two onlookers that turned up. Wishing to avoid publicity and arrest he climbed to 4,500 feet and headed east followed by a 'ute sporting Melbourne plates. The Booths of Wollonga Drive would like their bin back sometime. “Luckily we painted our house number on the bottom,” a clearly angry Mrs Connie Booth said.
BBAc Inspectors’ Meeting/Sermonar date set
This will be held at NFU Mutual, Stratford on Avon on 31 January 2015. BBAc Appointed Inspectors are reminded of the requirement to attend at least one Inspector Seminar every two years. (BBAC Exposition Maintaining Inspector Rating 1.0.3 (iv), incase you forgot). The cost will be £20 a head to cover sandwiches, tea and coffee. If you intend attending then you need to register with the BBAC CTO in good time. Contact him at email@example.com
BBAc Instructor Training Days for 2015 now published
With all the nonsense emanating out of the air conditioning at EASA its reassuring to know that bastion of a level head, David Court, is still battling on running Inspector Days to either get you ahead of the game or ensure that if Mr Easa decides that the formula currently on hold is, after all, the way forward you won’t be left out. It is already reasonably not to cloudy that the EASA licensing system is here to stay so it is likely that you will need to have completed all four parts of the EASA syllabus by 2018 to if you want to transition to an EASA Part FCL Instructor in 2018. It appears that to meet the requirements new Instructors must complete the EASA training requirements by attending one part each year leading up to 2018. To cover every eventuality Dave is also continuing to run Non-EASA Training Days. Whatever the final outcome, if you are thinking about becoming an inspector do not delay. Provisional dates are therefore, New Non-EASA subjects - Saturday 7th March 2015 and to cover EASA Part 1, Saturday 21st March 2015. The venue for both dates is likely to be the NFU Mutual Headquarters in Stratford-upon-Avon. Other dates will be published later. Bookings should be made through the BBAC Shop.
Have EASA lost the plot or did they ever have it?
Just when you thought it was safe to poke your head above the parapet and that some sense seemed to be prevailing on the licensing front for balloons it transpires that for Balloon Ride Operators the AOC Ops Rules which are due to come into effect, and do take into account the now ‘on-hold’ EASA licensing system, in 2017. The more observant will notice that is a year before they revise the licensing rules. ‘Verrry interesting, but stupid’ as they used to say on Rowan Martin’s Laugh-in. It will be 'verrry interesting' to see how they get round that bit of legislation. Maybe they’ll bring the licensing deadline forwards then? It is also puzzling that whereas they are set to bring this legislation in, at the same time they have just published an NPA 2014-28, 'AMC/GM for non-complex Approved Training Organisations (ATOs)' which is now open for consultation on the EASA website. To place comments, which have to be in by 9th February 2015 so plenty of time then, you’ll have to use the automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT) which is available at http://hub.easa.europa.eu/crt/. Now I thought the thinking was that the ATO for ballooning would be dropped but then again there are people being paid fortunes dreaming up all this bollix. Silly me, they aren’t getting rid of ATOs they are going to call them Non-Complex ATOs. How about calling them not-ATOs? Best thing EASA can do with ballooning in European is have a cease fire and give it all back to the relevant Authorities.
Channel Crossing France to England? – Only kidding!
It would be brilliantly brave to fly to England from the safety of French soil but a whole lot more sensible to go from England to France which is exactly what Pierrick Duvoisin and his mates aboard an Ultramagic, built from that super duper endurance fabric did when they flew across Le Manche on Saturday 6th December in the company of another, as yet identified, balloon. If nothing else it meant they need not vent any leftover fuel or worry about purging cylinders. To pass the time they Munched they way across The Manche on a cheese fondue using a back-up burner presumably. Now I would have though that a cheesy fondue was the last thing you would want. I would have found the nearest Roadkill just before take-off and dined on a bacon butty but there you go, cheese fondue is a good binder if you get be-calmed I suppose. Fuel was kindly provided by Steve Richards and they took off just to the West of Dover. Progress was reported as slow at first with a good direction for a short distance! We’ll see if we can find out more. More we have found in that the other balloon was a Cameron Z105 and the crossing went quite well until they got to the French coast whereupon they headed due south. Bummer. In the end the crossing took just over five and a half hours. More to come I'm sure.
Silverstone Classic confirmed
Here’s a pleasing thing. It seems that Pat P has once again sorted it for balloons to attend the Silverstone Classic Car Weekend. The Silverstone Classic Balloon Meet 2015 will thus be held from Thursday 23rd July (PM flight) until Sunday 26th July (AM flight). As usual there is camping onsite, hog roast on the Saturday evening before flying. Six flying slots have been ordered with two Night Glows during the Rock Concert on Friday and Saturday night topped by legendary rockers Status Quo. For all the details, booking forms and entry fees and a full run down of the weekend’s delights check out Pat Pruchnickyj’s website at http://www.brandedsky.com/sc-2015-info.html
Leeds Castle and Carfest South Meets cancelled shock horror
Seems no-one is really sure why but the Leeds Castle Flyout & Glow scheduled for 11th July and Carfest South on weekend 28-30 August have been cancelled. Apparently Leeds Castle have announced that 2014 will be the last year of ballooning activity at the Castle however the Glow may still go ahead with burners, but that depends on whether the castle will allow that bit meanwhile the managers at Car Fest South have retracted their invitation for 2015 stating that they are going to change the line up. This isn’t quite the disaster it may seem as the Black Horse have managed to get balloons invited to the Towersey Festival. More elsewhere. For more information please contact James McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org who apologises profusely and explained that the decisions were well out of his control.
FAI Silver Medal goes to balloonist
This years FAI Silver medal went to balloonist Alex Nagorski of Canada for his major involvement in FAI, CIA and Canadian Ballooning as well as the entire international ballooning community for more than 30 years and as one of the foremost experts in organising, managing and assisting ballooning activities, both nationally as well as internationally. Alex has been involved with the Canadian Hot Air Balloon Association for years and is well known for his connections with the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. Currently he is the President of the Edmonton Balloon Club. Big ones to Alex.
DFDS English Channel ferry discount returns for 2015
If you are not in the BBAC then maybe you ought to join now and take advantage of a 20% discount if you use DFDS Ferries. Following a good year DFDS Ferries have decided to extend the 20% discount to BBAC members for 2015. You will need to be a current member of the BBAC and your membership number will be required at the time of booking using the discount code BALLOON 20. Please remember that the BBAC member whose membership number is given at time of booking needs to actually travel in the vehicle the 20% discounted fare has been applied to. There were a couple of instances last year when this didn’t happen and the driver was then required to pay the additional 20%. The great thing is that DFDS will now allow up to a maximum of 47 kg (94 litres) per reservation and this can be spread between unlimited cylinders. This quota must not be exceeded under any circumstances and random checks will be made so please don’t break the rules. It could only take one person thinking they are being "clever" to jeopardise what has been given. The offer for 2015 will be valid for travel between the 5th January 2015 and 17th December 2015.
Details of the offer will remain the same as 2014 however the following terms and conditions will apply. Valid for travel between 5th January 2015 and 17th December 2015 subject to availability at time of booking. Valid for both single and return bookings. Can be used on both the Dunkirk and Calais route. Non-refundable if cancelled, but fully amendable. Valid for cars, motorhomes and vans. Trailers and caravans can be towed on any of the stated vehicles. Valid for BBAC members only. BBAC membership number must be provided at time of booking. 20% discount from the online economy fare only. Discount cannot be used against premium tickets. Amendments to dates and times will incur a £10.00 amendment charge per sail leg plus any increase in fare. Limited availability on peak days (Friday and Saturday from Dover, Saturday and Sunday from France) and the following dates Easter (27th March to 12th April 2015), Whitsun (22nd May to 31st May 2015) and Summer (23rd July to 2nd September 2015). Bookings must be made by email to email@example.com.
To join the BBAc go to www.bbac.org. For details of sailings please go to the DFDS website at http://www.dfdsseaways.co.uk/. Any problems, please contact Dave Such by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The ones that almost got away
Balloony furniture installation
In the pursuit of the perfect lightweight rig and having gone through about half a dozen baskets before finally finding a suitable one Dave Such has now bought this little cracker. It needed a bit of tlc before he could use it so out came the pressure washers and then the weather turned. Not to be foiled by such things he dragged it indoors and let it dry out for a day or two before applying the jollup and getting it all looking shipshape and smashing. Fortunately the Danish Oil matched the flooring so all in all a great job.
Helicopter rescues Santa
The original idea was to fly Santa into the school by balloon but having thought about it Irish balloonist Aidan Murphy decided it wouldn’t be practical so suggested that he fly away in a balloon. Then he got a met forecast. Now, as it 'appens, he knew a bloke who was going to be in the area in a helicopter so no sooner said than done and he’d organised it to collect Santa from another school he was visiting and drop him at his daughter Aoifa’s school in Dunslaughlin. As Santa came in for a very gentle landing the kids cheered and waved. Once they were all in the hall chatting to Santa Aidan and his team spent time collecting bobble hats from the surrounding playing field, school roof and trees.
Hurricane may have been sold
We can’t be sure but rumour control suggests that the Hurricane, so lovingly restored and flown by Phil Lawton, has allegedly been sold to a German fellow. Having returned from Finland the Finnish swastikas had been removed before the potential purchaser arrived so he gets it in its South African colours. What will happen to it when it gets to Germany is anyone’s guess but it is probably the best and most exacting example currently flying and if rumour control is correct he has also sold his proper British built one as well. We’ll watch this space to see what he buys next. Phil that is! There is a nice little article about the remaining airworthy Hurricanes at http://wp.me/p54cid-8i
One that got away
Just in case you thought he was bluffing Colin Wolstenholme kept his word and after buying some cakes (for goodness sake) for the morning tea-break on 10th December bade his final farewells to Cameron Balloons Ltd and went home to a cold empty house (his missus was out earning a living) did the Telegraph crossword and wondered if Gary Davies, who he passed on his way out, would, after all, get his old job.