A very Happy, albeit belated, New Year to you all. Let’s have a great one. January is always a quiet month for us which means we can get on with all those roundtoits that have piled up and get the backlog of non-essential paperwork sorted ready for the season’s start. Like Balloon Ride Operators in about May who are worrying themselves silly that the weather is worse than the year before, come year end it is usually pretty much the same and so we suffer the same itch thinking there is nothing happening but checking the diary from last year it's just the same. Things don’t really get going until the end of February which will give us time to sort bathrooms out! The HS2 saga rumbles on and it seems we may be at the workshop until May now and will probably try and do a deal with them until our new workshop gets started never mind finished. CAA and EASA-wise there is a lot to do if we are to take advantage of the hold on licensing and possible easing of airworthiness issues so plenty to be getting on with. Once this edition is out the way we’ll have the promised crack at sorting the website a bit but, be sure, as I can sort of use it then it won’t basically change. Sadly the New Year saw in the news that the Icicle as run by the Dante Group is to be no more but the valiant 3.4.40 Region have vowed to take it on so all is fine again. We need a kick to make us get out after the New Year even if it is only to socialise!
In the News are a couple of Airworthiness updates and the sad news that an old friend, CAP 476, is to cease being updated. Some rather disturbing pictures of the New Zealand tragedy have been released in New Zealand. We haven’t published them but there is a link to the TV station that was foremost in getting them released. This year sees the BBAC celebrate 50 years and they have a surprise for us all. In the next few days there should be an article up on Dropping Parachutists and an expansion of the news about the Icicle Meet which we popped down to courtesy of Mr Attwood on the wet and dreary Saturday. We awoke on Sunday to a socked in Chilterns so opted not to boogey down however some brave souls managed a tether and hop to ensure that the prizes could be given away! Following a rather coincidental chat with Pete Bish, to whom we presented some aeroplane stuff, we are putting together an article on the Bristol Britannia which is proving to be fun. Forgot to mention the practical part of the Guide to Inspecting Burners is up now and as we are off to the BBAC Inspector Symposium on the 31st and doing a bit on baskets the Guide to Inspecting Baskets has had Part 1 of an update. Good news is that the Double Eagle 2 has lifted off successfully from Saga in Japan and is now out over the sea and heading for the USA, more in the news. Although of course it is a proper adventure, we wish them a peaceful and successful crossing. Be great if they made Albuquerque. If you are on Faceache then Robin Batchelor will no doubt provide an accurate and entertaining commentary.
Not much to report from the Darkside Workshop this time round suffice to say the glis-glis are all asleep and it is mainly cold. Nothing much has moved since the last time but the Velocette is progressing well and the Standard has been started and moved into a more accessible spot. Frank the Lorry’s replacement, Sue the Volvo, passed her Plating last week despite deciding to spring a leak from the header tank hose an hour before departure but Farmer Jay was on the case and utilising a handy bit of 22mm copper pipe all was well once we’d got him back from under the cab! On the upside it meant that Treasure the Pony ended up qualifying for the National Pony Society Mountain and Moorland Championships. Means our Mary will have to join now! In the meantime the farm keys got inadvertently ploughed into to the top field so a detectoring day seems likely soon! Front page is a scene from the the Icicle courtesy of Sandy Mitchell and ‘the finally’ is of future champine Treasure the Pony. Well that’s about it for the moment so just a big thankyou for calling by and please wander round and enjoy the site we hope some of it makes you you chuckle. Best regards from John, Jane, Alice, Dotty and chris.