Balloon Repair Station

News 26.01.15

Ultramagic Flight Manual goes to Edition 04 Revision 23
Ultramagic Balloons have just updated their Flight Manual Edition 04 to, yes you’ve guessed it, Revision 23. Presently their website has not been updated so we can’t be specific about the changes but will report back as soon as.

In addition the following Flight Manual Supplements Manuals have been amended and we think three new ones added.

Number 2 (Night Flying) goes to Iss.3, number 10 (Disabled Pax Basket) to Iss.4, number 19 (Other manufacturer’s Equipment) zooms upwards to Iss.7 whilst number 22 (Old Special shapes) manages Iss.4 and Flight Manual Supplement Number 39 featuring Tekno baskets is now a swimmingly impressive Iss.7. Flight Manual Supplements numbers 46, 48 and 49 are an interesting Issue.1 but we are not sure what they are. The Technical Support area in the Ultramagic website will be updated accordingly at the soonest, so they tell us. Flight Manual changed pages only will also be available.  All the documents can be downloaded from the Ultramagic website as soon as they are published there.

The very last episode of CAP 476 as CAP 747 goes to 2014/02
3 keep calm love 17CAP 747 goes has gone to Issue 3 Amendment 2014/02 following shock news concerning CAP476. First it was the last episode ever of Foyle’s War and now we learn that on the 25th November 2014, CAP 476, the Summary which lists all the associated Airworthiness Directive numbers, modifications, inspections and service bulletins declared mandatory by the CAA for aircraft, engines, propellers and equipment of UK design, will no longer be updated. Issue 287 will thus be the final update, in future UK ADs will be issued in CAP747. Airworthiness Directives for Annex II aircraft published in CAP 476 will now be included a Airworthiness Directives issued by EASA have been removed and are now available on the EASA website where you stand a cat in hell’s chance of finding them. Obviously this has really given CAP 747 the hump and rumours are it stormed out of the CAA’s Belgrano Headquarters, jumped on a 747 and has gone on holiday to a destination outside Europe. Like 747, 476 isn’t a prime number but if you add the digits together you get 17 and if you add the digits of 287, its last issue number, you also get 17 which is a prime number and is frankly fascinating. Then of course if you write the date this took effect as 25.11.14 then 2×5 is 10 and you add the sum of the last four digits you get (wait for it) dah! Dah! 17. You can still download CAP476 (a whopping big file) by going to As a result of all this jiggerypokery CAP 747 has now gone to Issue 3, Amendment 2014/02 last updated on 25 November 2014. CAP 747 can be found in Bermuda or try

Met Office publish Ballooning forecast definitions
Now here’s a useful thing, the Met Office have not only updated the ballooning forecast service but published exactly what the notes mean. As far as Thermals go NIL means a maximum rate of climb less than 0.3m/sec(1.0ft/sec), WEAK is 0.3 to 0.9m/s (1.0-3.3ft/s), MODERATE 1.0 to 2.0m/s (3.3-6.6ft/s) 4 worrying cloudsand STRONG maximum rate of climb greater than 2m/s (6.6ft/s) which equates to about 400ft/min. Lee Waves (not to confused with a bloke from Bognor Regis) are described as NIL being less than 350ft/min, WEAK 350 to 550 ft/min and MODERATE as greater then 600ft/min. Wind Sheer indicated as a simple YES means then wind sheer is forecast if the wind speed exceeds a 10 knot threshold at 2000ft and there s also a temperature inversion below this height. A NO means the criteria is not met.

Reminder – Instructor/Examiner Renewals
If you hold an Instructor or Inspector rating overseen by the British Balloon and Airchip club then you are reminded that your annual return is now nearly overdue. If you don’t already have one, return forms for the Instructor rating are available from the BBAC Training Officer at and the Inspector jobbies from not forgetting your renewal fee.

The amazing Balloon Intro to Competition Ballooning Meet 2015
1 Matt-trying-hardWondering why the younger balloonists are getting into competition ballooning and are very good at it, then look no further than here. Even if you have only recently qualified you ought to have a crack at this. Stephanie Bareford has announced that she will be organising and running another of her highly praised ‘Competition ballooning? – I learnt it here’ meet in April. Promoting the event she explains, ‘Please don’t be frightened off by the word “competition”, this isn’t anything serious, but this is another ‘learning’ meet I am organising. The aim of this meet is to bring new people into competition ballooning through a fun meet that is purely for people who have never or have only done a competition once. Like the New Beginnings Meet, there will not only be flying but (if people are interested) there will be the opportunity to learn about some theory and tactics behind competition ballooning (but don’t worry there’ll still be time to sleep and drink! :P). Myself, my brother and other Junior members of the Competitions Club will be on hand to help anyone with the tasks, strategies, etc of the weekend. Additionally, if there is anyone who would like to get involved and learn about the official side of competition ballooning, feel free to message me too, as I can say from experience that it is a great aspect of competitions. The Meet will take place from Friday 10th (aiming for first flight am) to Sunday 12th April 2015 (last flight am) in Wolverley, Worcs (where the New Beginnings Meet has previously taken place). This is also a perfect advantage as this is where the first Grand Prix will be this year, a month after this event, if anyone is keen to take part. There will be a little prize giving at lunchtime on Sunday. The entry fee will be £25 for pilots and we are hoping to get some nice prizes for awards at the end of the event. There is refuelling nearby, though this is not included in the entry fee. If you are interested in taking part in any aspect of the event or if you have any questions please message me’. Contact Stephanie Bareford

New Zealand Balloon Accident pictures released
Following a request by New Zealand’s ONE News, supported by some of the families of the victims and other media, four pictures showing the sequence of events that resulted in the deaths of eleven people in January 2012 following the Carterton balloon tragedy have been released by Coroner, Peter Ryan. The images form some of the exhibits used as evidence in the inquest. Following the accident the Coroner Ryan banned publication of the images, taken by freelance photographer Geoff Walker, fearing that they might cause distress the families of the victims. In May ONE News wrote to the Coroner asking that the ban be removed due to significant public interest and after consulting with the lawyers for the families, Coroner Ryan agreed to the request and authorised the release of four images. The decision was challenged by Geoff Walker on grounds of loss of copyright and that the court shouldn’t give them away for free and he subsequently sought a judicial review that was heard in the High Court in Wellington in October. Mary Scholtens QC, acting for Mr Walker is reported as saying that, “The concern is not so much broadcast for images, it’s if the images go on the TVNZ website they become lost to him, they are public property and anything can happen to them.” Legal counsel for TVNZ, Jack Hodder QC, argued the case about how relevant the Coroners Act and Copyright Act were to this situation. He said “the whole purpose to have a coronial regime is to extract information from past realities to improve public safety for the future” and argued that the Coroner’s jurisdiction should be open, educational and accountable and the Copyright Act should not get in the way of judicial proceedings. Following the case, in a reserved judgement, Justice Allan Mackenzie agreed. He ruled that evidence given at an inquest was open to the public that included “exhibits produced at a hearing.” and that, “Copyright is not a relevant consideration,” when deciding whether to make that evidence public. Geoff Walker took the decision not to appeal and following the findings the pictures have now been released. The parents of Alexis Still who died in the accident expressed their support of the decision saying that public needed to see the photographs and that those planning to travel on balloons had the right to see the photographs as part of making an informed decision about safety.

The enquiry into the tragedy is on-going and the Coroner is expected to release his finding in the next few months. The photographs are quite disturbing and show the hot air balloon hitting power lines, catching fire, breaking free, and then plummeting to the ground. For the full story see

Good grief – The BBAC celebrate 50 years with objects (paperweights?)
2 Tom SageAs reported on the British Balloon & Airship club website 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the BBAC. You should notice a special logo on the cover of this year’s issues of Aerostat. Apparently they have thought hard about how to celebrate this momentous event. They have decided that a balloon meet will put a huge strain on landowner relations of one particular area and means it could be rather expensive for balloon crews from outside the local region. Bit like Bristol then. Their celebratory dinners in the past have not been very well attended, once again partly from the cost aspect. The decision was made at the last Committee Meeting to produce a commemorative object (say a paperweight) the details of which are still to be finalised. Each Region should nominate one of their balloon meets (or fly outs) as a 50th Anniversary meet and they can award the object to a winning pilot, crew, or regional member. It is up to the Region to decide who will win the prize and what they are winning it for. It could be used as an annual event. To be considered for this fantastic object each Region must send the BBAC Secretary Wendy Rousell brief details of the date for the meet, and what the prize is being awarded for. After the event an article must be submitted for inclusion in Aerostat either by the Region or by the winner.

Good grief, well there you go. The inaugural meeting that resulted in the creation of the BBAC was held on the 30th November 1965 and our reliable source tells us that it is most probable that the only survivor who was on the working committee set up on that auspicious occasion is Tom Sage. The first Newsletter that eventually became The Aerostat was published in April 1966.

Cameron Balloons to hold PPL Examination Day
Cameron balloons are holding a Private Pilot’s Licence Balloons PPL(B), Theory Examination Day on the 21st March 2015. This is not a Training Day and includes no tuition it is aimed at those that have revised and studied the PPL(B) syllabus and are ready to sit the exams. It is the perfect opportunity to undertake theory examinations on a Saturday. Candidates can sit just the exams they require or all of them if they are brave. The cost, to take each PPL(B) theory examination is £25 incl.VAT per exam and on completion of each booked and paid for examination, whether you pass or fail, Cameron Balloons will give you £15 back!* They will provide all the required examination materials as well as tea, coffee and (on a first-come-first served basis) free car-parking. To book please contact Hannah, Jenny or Mel by telephone 0117 963 7216 and simply provide your contact details and pay by credit card. Full details including that ominous ‘*’ can be found on the ‘Articles’ page on their website

Fire & First Aid Course – Provisional date announced
Bit vague on this one but it appears that Bristol Safety Limited maybe running a Fire and First Aid Course to CAP whatever on Friday 20th February at BAWA which we think is the BAWA Health and Leisure Club in Filton, Bristol BS34 7RG from 08:30 until 14:00. This date is provisional until Friday 13th Feb when they will confirm that they have the minimum delegate numbers to be able to run the course. For further information or to make a provisional booking please contact Justin Lane CertEd GIFireE, Training Co-ordinator, Bristol Safety Ltd. Tel +44 (0)7709 460992 or email The next open course date after this one will be in November, the date and venue to be confirmed.

Chucking parachutists out of balloons
5 mass parachute jump out of balloonWith the New Year well underway and exciting flights beckoning we have over the past few months had a few people ask about dropping parachutists and want you need to do apart from make sure they have a parachute and go down. To get the rating you need contact the British Parachute Association (BPA) and apply for a rating. It is pretty straightforward as it goes and costs £20 for a two year registration and validation. You’ll need to ask for a Form 109 and read the related Form 109B and Section 9 ‘Flying’ from the BPA Manual both of which will accompany it. It will need to be countersigned by A BPA Category System Instructor (CSI), or Team Leader who has previously made a balloon jump, or a balloon pilot who has already dispatched two or more parachutists from a balloon ( they must have had a current rating at the time obviously). Additionally you must ensure that if there is a Flight Manual Supplement on Dropping Parachutists then it must be in your Flight Manual. We’ve put together a fuller piece entitled Man Overboard – Parachuting from Balloons which should be up in a day or two. For all the forms and stuff please contact the BPA by email at

Icicle – end of an era?
1 foggy_icicleWell it was bound to happen sooner or later as all good things eventually come to an end so it was that on Sunday 4th January 2015 during the prize-giving at the end of this year’s 43rd Icicle Meet Pete Bish on behalf of the Dante Group called time on this much-loved meet. Dick Plume, on behalf of Dante Balloon Group, explained that the decreasing numbers of Dante members and the loss of the Savernake launch site made it increasingly difficult to organise. As for the 43rd Icicle itself, very inclement weather, an extremely wet launch field, along with fog all day Sunday socking the Folly Dog Leg in meant that only two balloons ‘hopped’ in a valiant bid for a prize and a further seven rather soulfully tethered. All may not be lost though as just when they thought it was all over the local 3.4.40 Region BBAC have delighted everyone by announcing that they will, with the generous help of the Dante Group, take it on and arrange a very exciting venue that will provide accommodation, Saturday dinner, trade show and flying. Details will be announced soon. In taking on this significant slot in the ballooning calendar they would like to pay tribute the work of the Dante Balloon Group over the past 43 years and thank them for their help and support with the new event. For more please see the article The Icicle Meet Unfrozen.

Little & Large expanding
Dave Such has posted an update on his Little and Large Solo Meet which has been well subscribed ahead of its second event to be held in May. This year’s Little (and Large) Solo Meet 2015 is to be held at Lakeside Lodge Golf Centre, Fen Road, Pidley, Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 3DF over the weekend of Friday 29th (PM), Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st May 2015. Dave reports that the event is gaining LOTS of interest with far more entries received than this time last year. There are already 12 confirmed entries representing almost half the 25 places available. So if you are planning to go get your entry in sooner rather than later or you may be disappointed. If you would like to receive an Entry Pack for the event, please email Dave at International entries welcomed.

Balloon Fiesta doesn’t affect Bristol Airport’s performance – official
Seems Bristol Airport recorded the highest on-time performance rating out of all major small, medium and large airports globally, according to aviation data specialists, OAG. Their 2014 punctuality league showed that within the UK, Bristol Airport had a rating of 94.4 per cent. In comparison, Heathrow’s punctuality was 75.5 per cent with Gatwick recording a paltry 61 per cent. When it comes to punctuality across all airlines Air Baltic, Latvia’s airline, came top (94.9%) followed by Hawaiian airlines (92.3%) with Austrian airlines coming third (90%). Many airports and airlines achieved in excess of 90 per cent on-time performance within 15 minutes of schedule, the report said. OAG’s punctuality report, based on 43.5 million flight records, showed the number one low-cost carrier last year was Norwegian Air Shuttle followed by Thai Air Asia and Easyjet. On the other hand Bristol Fiesta could be responsible for the 5.6% shortfall!

Pacific Bid stands down and now stands up
On 13th January The Two Eagles balloon team at the launch site in Saga, Japan and Mission Control in Albuquerque, NM was stood down for a few days after unexpected and sudden changes in the weather scrubbed plans to launch the attempt by American pilot Troy Bradley and Russian pilot Leonid Tiukhtyaev to fly their gas balloon across the Pacific. Rain was expected at the launch site, and the crew in Japan packed the balloon to get it out of the weather. Mission Control Director Dr. Steve Shope issued the following update to the Mission Control team, “I am sorry to report that the planned launch for 17Z this morning is scrubbed due to a triple combination of ground winds at the launch site, cloud cover with potential icing near Japan and trajectories into the NW USA with cloud cover to 25,000 ft at landfall.” Once able to launch, Bradley and Tiukhtyaev will attempt to break the gas balloon distance record of 5,208 miles (8,383 km) set in 1981 by the crew of the Double Eagle V. On 24th January conditions had improved and the balloon was being inflated. By the time I finish this issue I expect it will be airborne and we’ll have to run an update! Then of course they have now taken off . Lift off from Saga in Japan was about 2100 UK time, which is about 0600 on the 25th in Japan I reckon but don’t fully understand, and after performing a circuit of the launchfield they appear to be going the right way. We wish them all the very best. They have a Faceache page which is
Tracker and all that is at main site is naturally

French Channel Crossing update
Following the news on the intrepid French balloons that flew home it seems that Pierrick Douvisin and his mate’s crossing of The Channel turned out to be quite an epic flight in the end. The other balloon was a French Cameron Z-105 and the crossing took just over five and half hours as they turned south just before the French coast. Phew! springs to mind.