Balloon Repair Station

News 29.08.15

News is news and now out of date
2 adam-1Well now, as it ‘appens, seems that all the news I’d secreted away is now out of date or old news so we are just going to have to be creative. Like a goodly fellow I copied and pasted bits and pieces of information that I thought worthy and promised myself that I would rewrite and edit as the days went along but, as so many ideas go, it seems I have failed. This is a result of either it being lovely outdoors or too late and me too emotional (Swan moment) to sort it all out so…..I have opened a bottle of Fullers’ Golden Pride and put grist t’mill. If it all seems far-fetched then apologies but it has been fun writing it up with Planet Rock in the background. Oh the balloon on the light post is Adam Griffiths setting an example as the Chairman of the Chiltern Region. We like them. He assured us that it happened after he landed and the farmer was a very nice man. Small patch and it was all lovely again.

Irish Balloon Championships – Class 2 exemption
If you are lucky enough to be attending the Irish Balloon Championships being Waterford, Ireland from 20-25 September then main man Joe Daly is pleased to announce that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) will be issuing a Class 2 medical exemption for UK pilots attending for the duration of the Championships. So, if not having a Class 2 medical was the reason you couldn’t go think again, its all sorted, however normal medical requirements remain in place for your particular license. For further details or to get an invitation contact Joe J. Daly tel +353872559238, mobile +0872559238 or via the website at

Bird Flu confirmed at Goosnargh, near Preston
DEFRA have declared a 3km radius Protection Zone around the village of Goosnargh near Preston following a confirmed outbreak of Bird Flu. Following discussions with the BBAC National LRO, North West Region has agreed to declare a 3km temporary SA centred on GR SD 568371. No Landing. Anyone visiting farms in this Zone will be required to disinfect their vehicles and provide their name and other information to the farmer. Please note that farms within a 10km radius of the site are also subject to bird and egg movement controls and may be very sensitive to strangers on their land so land here with care and courtesy. This SA will be confirmed by the BBAC and will be relaxed or removed when the outbreak is formally closed. Please also refer to the notice on the DEFRA website and to advice on the BBAC Landowner Relations pages. More information can be found at or

Cameron – putting a spin on it
14 Andy basket1Look familiar? Well you could be excused for thinking this is an Ultramagic Tekno basket but it is in fact a Cameron Nano! I know, who though up the name ‘Nano’? It isn’t exactly racy nor is it really little. Now they could have gone for NanoLite but anyway nice to see that Camerons are continuing to get into the lightweight market They have obviously learnt some lessons from their last attempt that was the travelling basket thing called Voyager or such like. 13 Andy basketIt was remarkable in that it was heavier than its equivalent wicker jobbie! Now forget all that similarity business and think design for a moment. A T-shirt is a T-shirt but give it swirls and stuff and bright colours you have a fashion statement that people actually want. Step forward Cameron’s Andy Booth who has come up with some rather stunningly eye-catching designs for his Nano which Camerons and Ultramagic should take note of. Get funky guys. Love it to bits and it doesn’t look like you’d loose you sarnies out the corner like what happens with the Tekno. My Nano was from the East End and was quite respectably old when she died having spent all her money, earnt from shares in Liquorice Allsorts, Lavender Lozenges and plastic ducks before she went. OK so maybe she was Nana but you get the point. Any idea how much they are? Baskets not grandmothers silly.

Per Lindstrand balloon – Larger than life
7 G-BXUO perNot one to things by half Per Lindstrand commissioned artwork for G-BXUO, an LBL 105A built in 1998. The black balloon now sports a huge image of the man himself on one side and the words ‘Oswestry – Home of the original Lindstrand’ on the other. Well that ought to get someone’s attention! Currently Rumour Control suggests that a new burner is being developed and the first of the new generation Lindstrand balloons will be out before the year is done. Meanwhile the spares situation for existing Lindstrand Balloon owners is being sorted by Camerons using existing suppliers so good news there. Hopefully Per’s new venture will allow him to get back into balloon manufacturing using a clean bit of paper and we can look forward to a truly new generation of hot air balloons that are lighter, simpler and refreshingly different.

Be there or not be noticed! – Grass Roots beckons
Nearly there with this years’ Grass Roots Meet. I have a couple of days I can’t make again this year so my fingers are crossed it won’t be called on a weekend where I miss a day. The format of the event remains unchanged with informal fun flying and assistance with helping PUTs. Kielder Meats will once again be providing their excellent on-site catering. Yummy. There will also be camping, gas and bar on site. Tim has been constructing three balloons this year and hopes to have them all flying at the meet! It’s never too late to enter so please advise if you intend to participate. All details and the entry form can be found at Please remember that Sackville is open to ballooning all year, so feel free to arrive before the event or extend your visit until after the weekend.

Mindboggler of the month
Here you go this is my favourite publication of the month. EASA Safety Information Bulletin: SIB 2015-13 – Safety Management of Flight Operations in Adverse Convective Weather and the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITZC) has been published and it’s a corker. Briefly, they tell us that the ITCZ is characterised by powerful convective activity which generates often vigorous thunderstorms over large areas. The position of the ITCZ varies with the seasons. In July and August, over the Atlantic and Pacific, the ITCZ is between 5 and 15 degrees north of the Equator, but over the land masses of Africa and Asia it is located further north. In eastern Asia, the ITCZ may propagate up to 30 degrees north of the Equator. In January, over the Atlantic, the ITCZ is generally located no further south than the Equator, but it extends much further south over the land masses of South America, Southern Africa, and Australia. Where the trade winds are weak, the ITCZ is characterised by isolated Cumulus (Cu) and Cumulonimbus (Cb) cells. However, where the trade winds are stronger, the ITCZ can generate a solid line of active Cb cells embedded with other cloud types, developing as a result of instability at higher levels. Cb tops can reach and sometimes exceed an altitude of 55,000 feet, and the ITCZ can be as wide as 300 nautical miles. So there you watch out if you are ballooning in them.To catch this along with some very interesting links go to

Steeper approach for Heathrow
This ought to make watching crosswind landings at Heathrow more exciting as Heathrow has announced plans to trial a steeper approach for aircraft landing. The trial is one of 10 practical steps the airport is taking through its ‘Blueprint for Noise Reduction’ to explore ways to improve the noise climate in its vicinity. London City employs the system and passengers apparently are none the wiser! Turns out that the international standard approach for most airports in the world is 3 degrees, except for obstacle clearance (e.g. buildings, mountains etc). Heathrow believes a steeper angle is possible which will lead to quieter approaches to the airport. To test whether the implementation of steeper approaches of up to 3.5 degrees at the airport is possible, starting on 14 September Heathrow will be trialling a slightly steeper approach angle of 3.2 degrees. This has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and is planned to run until 16 March 2016. While the trial is optional, a large number of airlines that have the necessary standard of navigational equipment for this approach are expected to take part.

Metz – slow start then finishes in a flurry
4 Sunday at MetzThis years’ Metz got off to a slow start with very unseasonal weather. Despite this they managed to get their internationally acclaimed runway line done and broke the world hot air balloon mass take-off, a record they already held. It was by all accounts absolutely spectacular. The previous record stood at 391, or some claim 409, and was set in 2013 and it was easily topped when 433 balloons representing 40 nations lifted from the Chambley Aerodrome on the first Sunday, 26th July. Two other records were claimed, the largest line-up of balloons and the most balloons involved in a Night-Glow. Unfortunately the weather then shut the event down until later in the week.

Visitors to the event by air included Phil Dunnington and Co in his Beech 31, 3 Team Zebedee at Metzprobably the most expensive way to arrive and Lindstrands turned up with the ‘He’s Back’ balloon G-BXUO sporting a very big picture of Per Lindstrand on one side and ‘Oswestry-Home of the genuine Lindstrand’ on the other promoting the new Lindstrand company. Spotted on bikes complete with Bertie the dog was Team Zebedee, there for a few days without a balloon but enjoying the social side of the event.

Following some unfortunate farmer related incidents in 2013 this year the Organisers held meetings with local farmers prior to the event and much stronger guidelines were issued for the pilots and as a result no incidents were reported. Reports of problems with the refuelling seemed to be limited to the lack of Tema connectors and possibly some rather grubby fuel causing some liquid pilot light regulators and jets to get clogged up. A few commented on the amusing incident when they were locked into to airfield but all in all it was agreed that despite the lack of slots, seven in total, which towards the end of the meet were described as ‘quick’ a grand time was had by all and no-one got arrested with migrants on board on their return! The new arrangements at Calais means that there is no longer any queueing on the approach roads as you now drive right into the fortified ferry terminal. Brilliant short put together by Kelly Roake, Steve ‘Hopper’ Roake’s daughter, showing the event from the crew’s perspective aerial press footage of the mass lift off.

EASA BPL and current licences – unconfusing the confusion
The main CAA Balloon man Mr Chadwick has issued the following guide to help understand the current position and the possible future for balloon licences. There are a lot of abbreviations but I think he’s got them all covered. Thanks.

Conversations with stakeholders at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta demonstrated some confusion with regard to the EASA Part-FCL Balloon Pilot’s Licence [BPL] and Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (Balloons) [LAPL(B)]. The current situation is that many (relevant to ballooning) requirements of Part-FCL, that were scheduled to become mandatory on 8th April 2015, have now been deferred until 8th April 2018 by way of an EASA derogation. The UK has opted to take the maximum derogation and has formally informed EASA of this. We understand that many other EASA states, including France, have also opted to take the maximum derogation. However, some states (like Spain and Germany) have already fully adopted Part-FCL and others (like Belgium) have declared that they will not take advantage of the full derogation period.

Key CAA and BBAC subject matter experts – the BBAC through the European Balloon Federation [EBF] – are involved with EASA Rulemaking in reviewing and revising rules relating to licencing, medicals and training organisations [FCL] and air operations [OPS]. It is extremely likely that there will be considerable changes to Part-FCL, Part-NCO, Part-SPO and Part-CAT(B), as currently written. For example, one of EBF’s objectives (supported by the BBAC) is to have only a single Part-FCL balloon licence (BPL) which would require a GP medical certificate for purely private flying or an EU Class 2 medical, commercial endorsement and appropriate balloon Groups for commercial flying. The EASA Committee are about to consider an EASA proposal that all remaining final implementation dates for ballooning FCL and OPS are aligned to 8th April 2018 (and for sailplanes [gliders] aligned to 8th April 2019) by way of EASA derogations.

At the moment, most UK balloon licence holders have chosen to remain with the UK PPL (Balloons) or the UK CPL (Balloons). In fact, the CAA has noted a marked increase in the number of candidates sitting the technical knowledge examinations for the UK CPL(B). However, it is still possible to transition a UK national balloon licence to a Part-FCL example upon application to the CAA Shared Services. Transition is based on a detailed Conversion Document that the CAA has written and submitted to EASA. This document ensures that following transition the licence holder receives the equivalent licence and ratings to the national example that he/she currently holds. Of course, if the valid medical held is a LAPL Medical Certificate, the licence can only be converted to a LAPL(B). If a valid EU Class 2 medical certificate is held, the licence will be converted to a BPL.

The BPL is both a private licence and a commercial licence. If, at conversion, the licence holder has only a UK PPL(B), this will be converted to a BPL with the following endorsement “FCL.205.B(b) & (c) apply”. Unfortunately, a few pilots who have transitioned to a BPL have thought that they immediately hold commercial privileges on their BPL. They do not! FCL.205.B(b) is reproduced below:

FCL.205.B BPL – Privileges and conditions
(b) Holders of a BPL shall be restricted to act without remuneration in non-commercial operations until they have:
(1) attained the age of 18 years;
(2) completed 50 hours of flight time and 50 take-offs and landings as PIC on balloons;
(3) passed a proficiency check with an examiner on a balloon in the specific class.

FCL.205.B(c) is concerned with Part-FCL examiners and instructors, so is not applicable to most potential BPL holders. The key sentence is FCL.205.B(b)(3) “Holders of a BPL shall be restricted to act without remuneration in non-commercial operations until they have passed a proficiency check with an examiner on a balloon in the specific class.” Once this has been achieved, the CAA will, upon application, remove the restriction and re-issue the BPL. Only thereafter will the BPL be valid for any commercial activity.

As the BBAC asked the CAA to freeze their Approved Training Organisation [ATO] following the EASA derogation to 8th April 2018, there are no UK ballooning ATOs at this time. Therefore, there are currently no UK Part-FCL examiners that would be authorised to conduct the proficiency check required by FCL.205.B(b)(3). However, there still are a number of UK CPL(B) Flight Examiners who are able to exam candidates who wish to attain or renew the UK CPL(B) licence. Additionally, the BBAC are working with the CAA to ensure that the national CPL(B) technical knowledge written examinations remain available to sit into 2016 and beyond.

Finally, all UK AOC (Balloons) holders’ Operations Manuals require that company pilots hold a valid UK CPL(B). In the future, it may be possible for an AOC(B) holder to employ a BPL holder (with commercial privileges), but this would first require extensive amendment to the operator’s Operations Manual complete with a mature risk assessment of the different licences.

Bristol Bonanza – best yet
10 Paul Mckelvie bristol 2015This years Bristol Balloon Fiesta appears to have been the biggest and best yet which must have made the main sponsor, the St Austell Brewery in Cornwall, beam from ear to ear. Every slot was flown watched by crowds estimated at topping half a million over the four day event. Over 130 balloons turned up and flew six consecutive slots.
On the downside its enormous popularity combined with the stunning weather meant that at six thirty on the Saturday evening the Organisers took the unprecedented decision to close the site to any further visitors disappointing thousands who were still trying to get to Ashton Court to see the Night Glow. The entire area was pretty much gridlocked confirmed by our neighbour Angie who was trying to get across the City for the birth of her first grandchild and told us she was stuck in traffic for three hours. Luckily the birth dragged on for a fair while. Jane Oakland, Chair of the Organising Committee for the balloon fiesta, said: “The popularity of the event did mean that we declared the event full for a family audience to ensure the safety of the visitors and protect the historic site. This decision was made ahead of the crowds arriving for the Night Glow. With years of experience of this event and site, when the security and site safety teams identified the rate at which audiences were growing, it was clear the site for a family audience was full and it was necessary to take the appropriate action.” Elsewhere there were rumours of counterfeit pilot and crew passes being used which caused mayhem in the arena and balloon team parking areas. That’ll be the power of the latest generation of the colour printer then.

8 Solar balloonHighlights of the event included the appearance on Friday of Camerons answer to Green Ballooning, a Hybrid solar powered envelope based on a Cameron Z-150, G-CIRX. Pete Dalby, he of Bertie Bassett fame, piloted it and described his flight as1 G-BLKU(2 ‘an amazing experience’ and reported that it used only five litres of fuel during the 25 minute flight. Recording the most hits on Youbend for a balloon related incident Cameron Balloons demonstrator demonstrated how to brush through trees to the merriment of many. For us we were pleased to hear that the Gas Flame G-BLKU was inflated to the delight of many. Brilliant Bristol Tree Incident
Credit for G-CIRX piccie – Richard Payne
Credit for aerial shot Paul McKelvie

Airspace infringement hotspots face big reduction targets
A warning shot from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in relation to the number of serious airspace infringements at six of the highest-risk air traffic zones in the UK, states that they need to be cut by as much as 50% over the next 12 months, to head off the need for further action. Possible options currently under consideration, should the target for the particular hotspot not be met, include the deployment of bespoke ‘Surveillance Mandatory Zones’. That’ll be a SMZ then. Working teams, made up of local pilots, airport operators, air traffic controllers and CAA representatives, in each of the ‘hotspots’, have agreed the targets and committed to delivering the reductions through improvements to current procedures by December 2015. The six hotspots, which account for a significant proportion of the annual UK total, are Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southampton and Stansted.

The new strategy follows significant efforts over a number of years to educate General Aviation pilots on how to avoid infringing Controlled Airspace, Danger Areas and Temporary Restricted Airspace but despite such campaigns, by the Airspace & Safety Initiative (ASI) and others, infringement rates have shown no significant decline over the last ten years.

The reduction targets include both high risk and the overall numbers of infringements, with a success target based on high risk event numbers. Cripes, that’s a fine bit of spiel-talk. The Southampton Local Airspace Infringement Team (LAIT), for example, will need to see high risk infringements reduce from the current annual average of 23 to 12. Failure to achieve the target could see the future introduction of Surveillance Mandatory Zones (SMZ) to provide a conspicuity (like as in conspicuous) buffer around a particular hotspot. The aim of the SMZ will be to provide a ‘Known Traffic Environment’ around the hotspot’s class D airspace. This could lead to a requirement for the mandatory use of radios and transponders, or both, in that buffer area. Other options, such as rationalising airspace boundaries, are also a potential solution. The LAITs for each hotspot have been established and regular meetings are already underway. ASI will notify the general aviation community of their progress over the coming months.
The Airspace & Safety Initiative is on Twitter @airspacesafety

Waterford tethering incident – lucky escape
5 tether accident waterfordNo not the Irish Waterford place! A quite extraordinary video has popped up showing the effect of serious gusty wind conditions hitting tethered balloons on July 18th at the Waterford BalloonFest in Wisconsin, USA. Apparently the gust came through very quickly dragging one deflating balloon up into the air. Now unfortunately the Americans use a tether rope attached to the crownline, a practice frowned upon here. Why we don’t favour the method is amply demonstrated in the video. The downwind crown line attached to the back of a 4×4 means that the balloon acts like the counterweight on a trebuchet as it is picked up by the wind. Fortunately there were only minor injuries despite the tether vehicle ending up amongst stalls and tents.
picture courtesy Bob Sommer

Cover-up – More naughtiness spotted at Bristol Balloon Festival
Earlier this year AOC (Balloons) operators were alerted that there were photographs on social media of a UK commercial pilot flying a passenger balloon with bare arms. At that time, CAA reminded operators that it is an Operations Manual requirement to offer advice to all company pilots about appropriate clothing for balloon pilots. This normally includes a strong recommendation of the wearing of long sleeved clothing made from natural fibres and the wearing gloves at all times whenever possible. CAA colleagues, present at the recent Bristol Balloon Fiesta, have reported that they observed several passenger balloon pilots not wearing the recommended long sleeves. In the event of a fire in the air, fire on the ground or propane leak, balloon pilots should be well aware that the wearing of long sleeves and suitable gloves will facilitate the best possible opportunity of being able to follow the balloon Flight Manual emergency procedure.

Annex II – paperwork created!
As the question was asked about Annex II balloons attending Metz this year we quickly put together an inspection schedule (very generic) and a Release Note. Please note that neither are a CAA requirement. This was enough to allow the French DGAC to grant a French Permit to Fly for them but only for the duration of the event. Ian Chadwick of the CAA is continuing to liaise with the French to see if the permit can be extended to other events but at the moment this is not looking too promising. We have sent copies of the paperwork to the BBAc to use as they wish and with a bit of luck these two simple bits of bollix may help in the future. If you have an Annex II balloon and want a copy of the Schedule then please drop us a line and we’ll send one. In the meantime I’ll see if we can post it on the website somewhere. Please don’t suggest any more paperwork because in the UK it is not a requirement and we don’t want to burden ourselves with unwanted paperwork if we don’t have to! More later.

Team Wellwick clean up at the Royal London Show
Team Wellick ventured to Daventry in Sue the Lorry for a few days of 9 Shrek!intense competition having qualified Treasure the Pony for the Royal London Show. Mary managed a brilliant first place in the Working Hunter Pony on Treasure and came fourth in something else as a result of getting it wrong. Never mind. Jane’s mental dog Daisy got second place in the Lorry Dog Stakes and Treasure, the now champion pony, with ears sewn on to make him look like Donkey in Shrek with a very impressive green Alice as Shrek, Nicole as Puss in Boots with Holly as Princess Whoever helped get a second prize in the fancy dress. You see it isn’t all hard competition.

EASA Part M light details published
A very important EASA document has been published on their website proposing the amendment of the Airworthiness Regulations. Known rather quaintly as Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) NPA 2015-08 ‘Light Part M’ it lays out the proposals that ought to lead to a lighter alternative to the cumbersome requirements under Part M for those operating in the lower echelons of aviation which includes balloons which should never have come into Part M in the first place but I digress. It is important and one which all balloonists and especially inspectors should respond to.

As far as the ballooning aspect of the NPA is concerned the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAc) have announced that it was devised by Paul Spellward and Graham Hallett representing the elusive European Balloon Federation along with Don Cameron and Petr Kubicek representing the balloon manufacturers.

As a result of this the BBAc have themselves issued a guide to completing the NPA which we will publish a stand alone article called, equally quaintly, Responding to NPA 2015-08 ‘Light Part M’ in the next day or two. We have been studying the document and for the main part broadly agree with the BBAc’s stand point however there are bits that need serious consideration and clarification. It doesn’t make for easy reading and the bits where you invited to respond somehow appear to limit the way in which you can respond. This is a standard EASA ploy though. Please have a look and respond accordingly before close of play on 9th October 2015. Comments need to be supportive or constructive if they are to be accepted seriously by EASA, assuming EASA haven’t already decided, like they usually do!

The NPA itself is at
To place comments you’ll need to register with and use the Comment Response Tool (CRE) which can be found at

Percy Pilcher – New date for the Diary
11 Pilchers triplaneOur attention has been drawn to what is to become Percy Pilcher Day which is 30th September or 2nd October (just got to decide) and marks the sad end of Percy Pilcher, the first pilot to die as a result of pressure to fly when the conditions were not right.

At Stanford Hall on the 30th September 1899 a large crowd had gathered to see Percy, a British aviation pioneer demonstrate his latest invention. It was pouring with rain that day, and he didn’t want to fly let alone risk his new untried aircraft (some say his new craft was broken that day, but opinion is divided on the matter). What is known is that a large crowd had come to see him fly, so bowing to pressure, he said he’d demonstrate his ‘Hawk’ hang glider instead. He’d previously flown the Hawk many times. In fact, he’d previously set the world distance record in it. They hitched the glider to the towing rope, but because of the heavy rain, the canvas covering the wings was very wet, and the added weight of the soaking canvas overstressed the fuselage when the glider was towed aloft by a team of horses. As it climbed higher something broke and the fuselage broke up and Percy and his glider came crashing to the ground. Pilcher died of his injuries on the 2nd October. Later a monument was erected at Stanford Hall marking the spot where he crashed

15 Percy monumentSadly and what is remarkable about Percy Pilcher is that he very nearly became the person that changed the course of aviation history. The ‘invention’ everyone had come to Stanford Hall to see him fly that day, was an engine-powered triplane. Following his death interest in Percy Pilcher, his aeroplane and powered flight in Great Britain largely got forgotten. Then in 2003 Cranfield University in association with BBC Horizon programme built a replica of Pilcher’s design along with an engine of similar power and incredibly the aircraft flew in still air unlike the Wright brothers who depended on a decent headwind. Brooks, the pilot of that replica aircraft said after the flight across Cranfield Airfield, “I can remember two things, One is that there was a pair of seagulls off to the right-hand wingtip that were looking at me, going along at exactly the same speed. The other one was that as I was flying across the airfield, I could see rabbits and things running about in front of me. I only landed at all because there’s a little house there, the only one on the airfield – the old farm. If I’d carried on much longer I’d have landed in his garden.” Had Pilcher survived he would almost certainly have beaten the Wright brothers’ powered flight by four years. Best we have the day off then and have a pilgrimage to Stanford Hall.
On a few seconds of the man himself in flight 1897

Bishy asks – what is this?
6 Lindstrand clone burnerSent over via email was this piccie of an unidentified burner sent to him by that cobbler of days-gone-by Andre van Wink. We had a stab at an early prototype Lindstrand as it seems to be composed out of Lindstrand parts but eventually Andre himself, sleuth-like, tracked it down as an Aeromagic burner from Brazil and sure enough there is a picture of one on their website. Is this a bit of reverse Latin engineering?

CAA assault on drones
Well its been coming for a while now. I’ve spent most of the year watching one slowly die in the tree down the garden. For a surprisingly long time one set of rotors continued to whizz but the onslaught of the wind and rain and finally those rascals the jackdaws has seen it dismembered to a skeleton. Now the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a ‘drone code’ after several near misses when drones buzzed passenger jets using British airports.

“In the wrong hands drones can be very dangerous’” say the CAA. Drone operatives have been warned they face imprisonment if caught as the number of companies and unlicensed individuals making use of the relatively low-cost flight technology continues to grow. “Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies, they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world,” said Tim Johnson, CAA Policy Director. “They must be aware of the rules and regulations for flying drones that are designed to keep all air users safe.”

The warnings from the CAA come amid a growing number of privately owned drones in use in Britain for photography and recreation. There are now more than 800 companies registered to use drones, including the BBC Natural History Unit and Berkeley Homes, the house builder. However members of the public do not have to register drones and none of those who buzzed planes in the past year have been caught. “Recklessly endangering an aircraft in flight” is a criminal offence, the CAA has warned and anyone convicted of the charge could face a custodial sentence. So there. All you need to know to prevent having your drone confiscated and ending up in the Nick is at not to be confused with Droneware, possibly a range of cooking utensils, as that is how I first read it.

Answer on a postcard
Do you know what I am beginning to develop a respect for people who manage to completely confuse me with diddly knobby speak only because I don’t understand a word of it! Here’s great one that popped into the intray. Please note that NPA 2015-12 ‘Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to Part-21 for changes to Operational Suitability Data (OSD)’ is now open for consultation on the EASA website. To place comments, please use the automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT) available at The deadline for submission of comments is 20 Oct 2015. Thank you for your interest in and contribution to the European Aviation Safety Agency’s rulemaking activities. Well I would be, interested that is, if I knew what they were on about (o:

Missing the CHIRPing?
Now no longer coming through the post don’t miss out on CHIRP the Confidential & Independent Reporting paper open to all to read or contribute toin strictest confidence. The aim of CHIRP (Aviation and Maritime Confidential Incident Reporting) is to contribute to the enhancement of aviation safety in the UK and maritime safety worldwide, by providing a totally independent confidential (not anonymous) reporting system for all individuals employed in or associated with these industries. The latest issue is at
To register for online copies go to

While we are at it, and in a similar vein, on 20th April 2014 EASA published Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 on the Reporting, Analysis and Follow-up of Occurrences in Civil Aviation. It becomes applicable on 15th November 2015. On 29th June 2015 in support of this Regulation, Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 2015/1018 was published, laying down a list classifying occurrences in civil aviation to be mandatorily reported. The CAA has just issued Information Notice IN-2015/065 (amending IN-2014/141 published in August 2014) which provides an updated set of FAQs and answers following the recent developments and updates from both the European Commission and EASA. This may be found care of the following link:

AOC holders and other organisations should be aware that they have until 15 November 2015 to comply with this Regulation. AOC holders should review their Operations Manuals and consider whether amendment may be required. For further CAA assistance, please contact Pedro Pinheiro (

Crash bang wallop – Blue Corsa gets a kicking
12 unimog versus corsaNow back in the day we used to do a lot of mending of agricultural machinery various and thankfully these days do very little apart from at harvest time but mainly because even tractors are afflicted with computer nonsense (nearly wrote crpa). Who would have thought that your tractor won’t change gear because the onboard computer needs re-programming? Anyway, I digress dear old farmer Ferrit had an issue with his Unimog. Now if you have no idea what a Unimog is I would say that if I stand in front of the bottom of the radiator it comes to my head. This is a Tonka toy on steroids. Anyway the thing is that first off it wouldn’t start and then when we’d finally rewired and it did the air didn’t build up. For you lovely people that are already lost a modern Unimog is all air, cables, hoses and hydraulics, brakes and all. It also has the world’s most complicated gearbox arrangement and then there are all the other hydraulics. This is manifested in a fine array of levers and diagrams stuck to the dash various assorted. Problem was that firstly it wouldn’t start. A wire or two and check on the circuit tester confirmed it was the ignition switch. Not a problem we can by-pass that. Then the engine won’t stop unless you stall it. But beyond all that it won’t move until the air pressure builds up. In reverse it isn’t a problem, probably because the brakes have never been adjusted but forwards it is stuck. So I arrive and it is so close to the wall I can’t get the bonnet open. Short circuiting the solenoid fires it up good as gold. I select reverse then shift the gearlever and back I go not remembering until it is far too late that trusty blue Corsa is parked behind. One bar of the three point linkage contacts around the same time I remember that my lovely £150 Corsa (that I hate because it doesn’t have power steering, the passenger window falls down and is held up by a pair of scissors, the seat belt is an arse to put on and the driver’s window handle repeatedly falls off. Then there is a bad clunk from something underneath but I never seem to put diesel in it so its love hate) is behind. It is all too late but fortunately in a very professional way only one arm drives its way into the middle of the door. Tipping over at a jaunty angle. Dog looks not best pleased. There is no other damage. Now the behemoth will not move forwards on account of no air releasing the brakes so the only answer is to put the remains of the Corsa on full lock and reverse it off using the one wheel that is still on the ground and the other with just enough grip to prevent the diff working. At least it’s a nice day so at least I can still drive it around although there isn’t much room on the front passenger seat anymore. As for the Unimog. It is rather unsurprisingly unharmed or unmoved. We hung buckets on the linkage to avoid the grain trailers hitting them. Beating the brake cable linkage that operates the air valve via a lever which in turn operates the hydraulic brakes the Unimog builds up air very quickly and rolls quietly onto the blocks I took the liberty of placing behind the wheels. That’ll be a job for another day, meanwhile good old Aylesbury Scrap Metals sort me a nice silver door (surprisingly heavy) for £30 and Corsa is a go-go again and the scissors are returned to the sewing machine box. All is lovely but I have had better days. Laugh, the pub certainly did as they’d already heard even without Faceache! That’ll be village life then!