Balloon Repair Station

News 07.11.15

Big ones - apologies that is
Now before we get embroiled in bits of news and stuff that should have been stuck up here ages ago apologies for the delays, omissions, scantiness and general nonsense that will follow. We generally put the really important stuff up first like what we get from the CAA and EASA and technical stuff but this time we are putting a bit of our own news first followed by the other stuff and a rake of pictures and nonsense. Thankyou for reading that. Onwards…

All change at the Workshop? - On Hold
Big and huge thankyous to everyone who has called to offer help and support in connection with our possible departure from the current workshop. It has been much appreciated. We have been pretty much working full time to sort the situation out hence the lack of attention to the website but now the situation, for the moment, is that it is looking like we may be able to stay. This is entirely thanks the to the intervention of our local MP Mr David Lidington and his brilliant researcher Kiernan Sinclair and we are now hopeful that we may be able to stay for a couple of years. The entire process has been fraut with difficulties and involved negotiations and interventions at high level by Mr Lidington but things are looking reasonably positive now. The turmoil has meant that we have had a huge clearout of stuff and a tidy up which has been an unexpected bonus but the downside is that our rent is likely to double so we will have to put our rates up. This will be the first increase in quite a few years. We will keep them to a minimum but sadly if we don’t we won’t be able to afford to stay. More on that once we get confirmation that all is well, hopefully in the next week or so. Thankyou all again.

In case you missed it bit! - News update 06.10.15.                               

Be amazed - Ultramagic BA.014 goes to Revision 19
Heads up everyone. Ultramagic have taken their TCDS (Type Certificate Sheet) to the heady Revision of number 19. This apparently happened on 1st September 2015 but has only recently been flagged which is a bit naughty. Now this may seem either not newsworthy or something that is meaningless to you but for inspectors and those in the know it is a nod to the official introduction and launch of the new Ultramagic Mark 32 burner which we hope is neither complicated or heavy. A quick scroll through shows it also concentrates on changes and updating on the Solo and Duo bottom ends, S130 baskets and of course the addition of the Mark 32 burner. Do you need to read it or check it out? Depends what else you were planning for the evening! Here you go, the link straight to the TCDS. Brilliant and exciting stuff I think you’ll agree, as Bob Harris would say. http://easa.europa.eu/system/files/dfu/TCDS%20EASA_BA_014%20Issue19.pdf

Lindstrand Service Bulletins & Service Instructions
Lindstrand Service Bulletins and Service Instructions can now be found on the Cameron Website. Go to http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/support and scroll down to somewhere near the bottom and lo and behold fair angel, there they be. We have updated our Airworthiness Directives & Service Bulletins page accordingly.

That's that then so moving on...

Anthrax found on Wiltshire farm
Recent press stories have included the rather disturbing news a cow infected with Anthrax has been found on a farm in Wiltshire. The animal found to have the disease has been disposed of and incinerated. Bio-security measures were quickly put into place closing the farm to all outside visitors, restricting all animal movements and closing a local footpath. DEFRA has classified the situation as 'Low Risk’ and there are presently no symptoms of Anthrax in anyone who might have come in contact with the infected animal. Balloonists are strongly advised to follow the protocol of ‘No Landing’ and ‘No Access’ to the farm until restrictions are removed. The farm is Brook Farm, Westbury, Wiltshire. Reference Map 183 Ref: 855 516.

Exemption from Display Licences re-issued.
Tony Rapson of the CAA has re-issued the General Exemption for balloon pilots from Article 162 of the Air Navigation Order which requires a pilot to have a Display Licence Authorisation (DA) and for organisers of flying displays to obtain permission from the CAA. In the case of balloonists the CAA have issued an exemption for balloon pilots on the requirement to hold a DA and this has been recently re-issued as a General Authorisation. The CAA advise any balloon pilots attending a flying display that they ensure that they have as copy of this. The authorisation has been issued on the premise that balloon training and testing for both PPL and CPL Balloon licences covers the requirements for a display authorization and is valid until 30 September 2016. To download a copy go to http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/1132.pdf and tuck it in the back of your licence. You need it to be legal.

Exciting news from EASAland
The faceless folk of EASA have published two bits of information that might be of interest. Consultation paper NPA 2015-17 'Airworthiness review process' is now open for consultation on the EASA website. Quite how this may or may not overlap with the proposals to move airworthiness for balloons into a separate area isn’t known but it may be prudent to have a look through it (we’ll give it a go). The deadline for submission of comments is 05 Feb 2016. To place comments you’ll need to use the automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT) which is available at http://hub.easa.europa.eu/crt/.

Brian Lecomber - Sad news on the doorstep
12 brian lecomber jaguarIt was deep sadness that we heard that Brian Lecomber passed away on Thursday 24th September at the tender age of 70 after a long illness. I first met him through my parents when he joined the Rothmans Team many years ago. Later he had his office in Wendover and lived up the Ellesborough Road over which he would practice aerobatics often dropping into the Missenden valley and aiming whatever he was trying to turn inside out at the workshop! We watched him practising time and time again until he got a particular manoeuvre just perfect. Despite his incredible skill as an aerobatic pilot he was the kindest, most modest person who would always have time to offer sound advice (quite often accompanied by his wry sense of humour) or listen to others. Amongst the teams and aircraft he went on to run, the Firebird Team was probably the most spectacular, performing absolutely perfect choreographed formation aerobatics. You probably remember him flying the Jaguar and Microlease branded Extras at some of the bigger balloon events. He also wrote some great books including Talk Down and many, many articles for Pilot magazine. His best advice to me was that once you start thinking that you hope you’ll get away with it, its time to stop. He managed to get aeroplanes to do things that they were not supposed to, defying both gravity and physics in the process. His funeral was held at Great Missenden church on Friday October 9th. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Joyce and daughter Amy. There is to be a full obituary in the December Pilot Magazine. If you’ve never heard of him or seen his amazing flying then go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcghm-kX9vc solo display
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Znkii0BUEko Microlease pair

Enjoy a couple of days in Cologne with EASA offer
Just when you didn’t think things would get anymore exciting EASA are holding a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airworthiness Directives (AD) Workshop on 09 and 10 December 2015 in Cologne. The event is aimed at all interested stakeholders (hate that term why can't they say 'parties'? We'd be there!) such as operators, CAMO, maintenance organisations, design approval holders, who want to have a better understanding of EASA processes related to safety publications. They rather entertainingly state that, ‘For reaching this objective, during the two-day Workshop, some general presentations will be provided by EASA AD experts.’ That’s handy seeing’s they are running it. It will cost you €100.00 per person. To get further information, agenda and online registration form go to https://webshop.easa.europa.eu/3rd-EASA-AD-Workshop

Charity Flights - CAA Issue another General Permission
The CAA have issued a long overdue and very welcome General Permission for private pilots to carry out Charity Flights. The Permission is pretty broad and the Guidance Notes very simple and straightforward to understand and comply with. Basically it is the responsibility of the pilot to to explain that the flight will be a normal recreational one with the possibility that associated risks may be higher. What follows is a copy of the Guidance Notes to save you looking it up!

Legal Basis
This guidance is for private pilots who would like to offer a flight as a charity prize where the only valuable consideration (payment) is given or promised to a registered charity. This means the pilot will pay for the entire cost of the flight. The CAA has issued a General Permission which allows such flights to be conducted as a private flight. This means there is no need for pilots to make individual applications to the CAA if they are conducting flights under the General Permission. Similar flights conducted by Air Operator Certificate holders would need to be completed in accordance with the Air Operator Certificate.

Charity flight guidance for private flights
If a member of the public wins a charity flight in a private aircraft it is important that they understand that the level of safety is the same as if they were arranging a flight with a friend or colleague who is a private pilot. Where the law and privileges of an individual pilot’s licence allow the carrying of passengers then that pilot can offer flights to any individual they enter into a private arrangement with. How those
people are known or introduced to the pilot does not matter. Therefore the winner of a charity raffle, auction or similar can participate in flights under these arrangements.

To avoid any misunderstanding we recommend that any pilot intending to fly passengers who have won the flight as a prize should confirm that the charity understands this is a private recreational flight and should be considered as a prize in the same way other recreational prizes are considered. That is to say, they should realise that the flight is not without risk and the levels of safety and oversight are very different from a commercial flight and potentially from those of a flying lesson provided by a training school. If this is not acceptable to the charity, and it requires higher levels of safety, then it should be suggested that they consider offering a prize of a commercial aviation activity such as a flight with an Air Operator Certificate operator or flying school. In addition to their normal pilot in command responsibilities for passengers, for a private flight as a charity flight, pilots should also make sure the passenger understands that it is a recreational private flight and like any recreational activity carries an element of risk. Whilst that risk may be similar to other recreational activities it does not achieve the same safety standard as buying an airline ticket on a commercial flight. Pilots may use whatever means they think appropriate to set the context of the flight as a recreational activity. Every opportunity should be given for the passenger to decline the flight if they so choose.

As there are no legal airworthiness and licencing requirements for paramotors, paragliders and hang gliders, it is strongly recommended that such flights meet the standards as detailed in the rules and requirements of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) or an equivalent Organisation.

Insurance
Before conducting a charity flight, it is recommended that pilots check that the level of insurance cover is adequate for the intended purpose of the flight, and ask the recipient of the flight to check that their own life and/private health insurance covers the intended flight.

The General Permission
1) The Civil Aviation Authority, pursuant to Article 266(1)(c) of the Air Navigation Order 2009, permits any flight in respect of which the only valuable consideration is given or promised to a Registered Charity to be conducted as a private flight.
2) This permission supersedes Official Record Series 4 No. 1100, which is revoked.
3) This permission has effect from the date it is signed until 6th January 2017, both dates inclusive, unless previously revoked.
T Rapson for the Civil Aviation Authority

Notes:
1. This means a charity which is registered under section 30 of the Charities Act 2011. If a pilot wishes to conduct a flight for the benefit of a non-registered charity the CAA should be contacted at GA@caa.co.uk.
2. The General Permission is at ORS4 No. 1122.
3. Charity Flight Guidance Note is at http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201330%20Charity%20Fight%20InFocus.pdf or
see www.caa.co.uk/ga

JCB Fleet addition interlude
1 JCBWell now isn’t it refreshing to discover that there is more to ballooning than ballooning. Turns out that not only does Gary Davies collect full size JCBs but he is also not adverse to the odd model. He found this beauty in Australia courtesy of eBay. For you less knowledgeable people its a very rare vintage JCB crawler excavator from 1972 complete with its all important original box. That may be the case but I suspect he’ll have go with it in the garden! We reckon it might be a German-made NZG model in 1:35 scale, (Part No. 141) in which case the cab tilts, but I may be wrong. (o: In reality the JCB 807 was a very fine machine indeed and very Thunderbirds. I changed a drive wheel on one of these things a long time ago. Took me two days, most of the time spent getting the thing off. When I got it all back together and tested it I scooped up a bucket full of cobblestones which were buried in the field it was in! Turned out they were a cache left over from the Civil War. They were much cheaper than cannonballs and caused considerable injury. We flogged them if I recall.

Occurrence Reporting - changes in Civil Aviation procedures published
The CAA have published Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 on the Reporting, Analysis and Follow-up of Occurrences in Civil Aviation. 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.

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: http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=33&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=6854

Air Operator Certificate (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: pedro.pinheiro@caa.co.uk

Ladybird threat
4 ladybird basketStrange things that we find in baskets have included vast amounts of dental floss, a shoe, foreign coins (usually valueless euros) batteries various, a mobile phone (very flat) and strange seeds but now things are moving on. In the bottom of one basket we found a large number of ladybirds. Immediately identifiable as the Harlequin Ladybird. These horrible little pikey things started invading the UK in 2004 and have now got past the line of the old Fosse Way and are heading north. They are extremely invasive and pose a serious threat to many of our native varieties. Fortunately all this lot were dead so no frantic stamping was required.

Radio Mandatory Zones and Transponder Mandatory Zones
Now here’s a very interesting policy statement and stuff about Radio Mandatory Zones and Transponder Mandatory Zones. Published by the Safety and Airspace Regulation Group it is actually quite interesting reading and, if you take the trouble to read it, then you may discover that in some circumstances you will be able to enter them without a radio or transponder! That ought to catch your eye. There are only ten pages and we rate it as a 6 in the ‘simple to understand stakes’. The document sets out the Civil Aviation Authority’s policy for the establishment of, and operations within, Radio Mandatory Zones and Transponder Mandatory Zones and can be found at http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/20150814policystatementrmzandtmz.pdf

Welcome back Kelvin
10 Kelvin LindstrandsGreat news that ahead of the launch of their range of hot air balloons Lindstrand Technologies have announced that their new Sales Manager for hot air balloons will be Kelvin Oakley. A long time member of the Lindstrand Team its good to hear he is back. Kelvin has worked within the hot air balloon industry for over 30 years, first joining Per’s team after finishing school. His experience expanded within other sales roles in the aviation industry and they are reported as being ‘thrilled to have Kelvin rejoin the Lindstrand Team’. Per said that “His in-depth industry knowledge and excellent approach to customer service will help us to deliver the kind of five star service that is a hallmark of the Lindstrand way.” We wish him all the very best and are pleased he is back in a role he is extremely good at.

Celebrating 100 years young
5 100yr oldHere’s a happy picture taken by Martin Cowling of Virgin Balloon Flights of Chrissie Miller celebrating her 100th birthday by taking a balloon flight from Auchterader near Gleneagles in Scotland. The weather was perfect and the happy passenger said that she enjoyed every minute of her flight and on landing immediately declared that she would like to go up again. Forgetting the traditional champagne Chrissie celebrated with a splendid single malt!

Little and Large dates confirmed for 2016
Dave Such and his team are delighted to announce that the Little and Large Meet have been invited back to Lakeside Lodge Golf Centre at Pidley, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire by David Hopkins for its third gathering. They will be running the event on Friday 3rd (evening), Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June 2016. The event is being organised by Dave Such with support from David Hopkins, John Tyrrell and Mark Tomlin and rather nicely they have kept the entry fee at £20 for next event. The event is limited to 25 balloons so an early application is advised to avoid disappointment. Everyone is welcome but the balloon whether ‘Little’ or ‘Large’ IT MUST BE FLOWN SOLO and not be larger than 80,000 cu ft.

The entry procedure has changed to enable you to complete, save and email your entry form as a Word document to littleandlargemeet@btinternet.com and pay the entry fee by bank transfer but please if you choose to do this please ensure you include your surname and balloon registration as the payment reference. If you cannot or prefer not to complete the electronic entry form or pay your entry fee by bank transfer, you may send a paper copy with a cheque in the time honoured traditional fashion. If you are entering one or more balloons with only one of those balloons flying at any one time, there is only one entry fee to pay. If you are entering two or more balloons and two or more will be operated at the same time by different pilots, its an entry fee for each balloon. Also new for this year is the event’s own Facebook page rather than a single event page which cannot be rolled for ongoing events. You can browse the Facebook page and see who is coming as well as find more information about the event at https://www.facebook.com/littleandlargesolomeet?fref=ts

On arrival at the event and before the first flight, pilots will be required to sign a Pilot Declaration to confirm that all paperwork in respect of the balloon and pilot are in order and that the balloon is properly maintained for the purpose of flying at the event, as well as confirming the balloon they are operating will be insured in accordance with current legal requirements at the time of operation. Lakeside Lodge Golf Centre’s Bar and Restaurant will be open throughout the event offering an extensive range of Food and Drink (alcoholic drinks are served from 10am) and last food orders are taken at 9pm (later if an evening flight has taken place) with the Bar closing at 11pm.

For those not wishing to take advantage of the free campsite for tents, caravans and motorhomes, there are a total of 64 en-suite bedrooms located throughout the Lakeside Lodge complex. 30 twin rooms, 28 rooms with a double and single bed, 4 double rooms and 2 singles. To make a reservation for accommodation please call Lakeside Lodge on 01487 740540 or email reception@lakeside-lodge.co.uk

Dave and his team look forward to receiving your completed entry form, together with your entry fee if would like to join them for the 2016 event at Lakeside Lodge Golf Centre. Any questions or queries or get an entry form please contact Dave at Tel/Fax: 01763 849287, Mobile: 07989 988082 or email littleandlargemeet@btinternet.com

Alert all balloon crews
Now I may have just read this wrong and its nothing to do with handling but Safety Information Bulletin: Unreliable Airspeed Indication at High Altitude/ Manual Handling at High Altitude SIB 2015-17R1 is now out. To see the details of this Publication, please click or copy the following: URL: http://ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/2015-17R1

New bloke to head up National Air Traffic Services
3 Martin RolfeThe NATS (National Air Traffic Services) Board announced the permanent appointment of Martin Rolfe as its new Chief Executive Officer following a full selection process. Martin has led the company since May. NATS Chairman Dr. Paul Golby said: “Martin has proved himself an excellent candidate through both a robust selection and the way he has successfully steered the company during this interim period. Air navigation service providers face a period of significant change in the years ahead, and Martin’s proven intention to work closely with employees, customers and stakeholders make him the right choice to lead the company. Our priority will remain bringing a safe and excellent service to our airline and airport customers in the UK on behalf of the travelling public and to capitalise on sound international opportunities as they arise. I look forward to continuing to work with Martin at this important time for NATS.”

New bloke Martin Rolfe said: “NATS is such a capable organisation, it will be an honour to lead the company into the next phase of its development. We are very clear in our company priorities. My job is to help ensure our employees deliver the best results for customers.”

Martin Rolfe joined NATS as Managing Director Operations in March 2012, overseeing the delivery of NATS’ en route business. Previously, he worked for Lockheed Martin where he was Managing Director of the UK Civil business. He has worked in the air traffic management domain for 18 years leading large multinational teams across Europe, the US, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Far East, with customers including air navigation service providers, central government departments and military organisations.
To find out more about NATS go to http://www.nats.aero/about-us/

Spitfire ace takes over TAG at Farnborough
2 Brian Smith 001Following the enormous success of his Spitfire simulator (more on that soon) we are pleased to learn that former Bristol Freighter pilot and former British Airways Captain, Brian Smith, has taken over the running of TAG Farnborough. This prestigious post was awarded to him during a visit to the facility at Farnborough. “It was a complete surprise’” said Brian. “One moment I was on a tour next I was making an acceptance speech and sorting out my new office. To say I was gobsmacked would be untrue. I have been looking forward to this sort of recognition ever since I managed to land an Albatross flying boat on water!” We wish him every success in his new post and look forward to a trip in a Lear Jet.

Icicle Refrozen - well maybe thaws out?
Well, bit puzzled by the title but then again it was seemingly frozen so a natural reversion (is that a word?). Its all official committee like confirmed now. The successor to the long-running Icicle meet will take place on the 2nd and 3rd January 2016 at Donnington Grove Country Club on the North West edge of Newbury. The 3.4.40 Region of the BBAC (British Balloon & Airship Club) has taken on the organisation of this iconic event and they are pleased to announce this new venue for flying, accommodation, trade show and social events. The meet remains informal, un-sponsored and open to all balloonists. The Organisers invite you to join them at dinner on Saturday evening where Per Lindstrand will be talking about “12 years in the wilderness”. They are delighted to welcome Per and Hong to the Icicle and know that they are looking forwards to meeting everyone at Donnington Grove.

Donnington Grove is offering a special package for the weekend (2 nights, two persons) B&B for £90 per night per twin or double room, or £80 per person per night for a single. The single night B&B rate is £100 per night for a twin/double or £90 per night for a single. Please note that these rates are considerably reduced from the normal rates and that there are fewer rooms available (36) in this hotel than at previous venues. Booking is only available via the registration mechanism. To reserve a room you will first need to register for the event. In your confirmation e-mail will be a booking code that will need to be given to the hotel at the time of making your reservation. Contact details for the event are; Icicle Refrozen Chairman: Colin Butter, 07973 381086, colin@marshbenham.org Meet Registration, Dinner Bookings: Geoff Lescott, 07711 638526, geoff.lescott@gmail.com Trade Stand Bookings: Peter George, peter@george.net 3.4.40 Chairman and meet Landowner Relations Officer: Nick Bland, 07793 495223. Further details, including the registration and dinner booking forms, are available from the website a http://www.icicle-refrozen.com

Stormin Norman breaks down
6 regulator forkliftJust when it all seemed to be going a bit Pete Tong it got worse but fortunately Stormin Norman (still in desert camouflage), our faithful forklift, didn’t fail until after a week of loading large ride balloons was over. It had played up under the watchful eye of John a couple of days before but gallantly worked fine until the last 375 was collected then elected to go into limp mode. The problem was soon tracked down to the regulator and local Dave the Forklift soon had a replacement sorted. We raided the adaptors box and using bits salvaged from old C2 and Dynaquip valves the old chump was soon running again only to fail the following week when the condenser (remember this has a pre-crossflow Anglia engine in it) failed. New points and condenser soon had the old fellah sprinting about. Next up will be mending the brakes.

Russian Round the World Attempt
9 Fedor CBl Sept15 2Cameron Balloons have announced that Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov is planning a non-stop global balloon flight with a Cameron Balloons built Roziere 550 Balloon. Cameron says that they have agreed and committed to a contract for the construction of a new around-the-world balloon for famous Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov. The balloon is wanted for a launch from Northam in Australia during a specific weather ‘window’ between May to September 2016 period. Cameron Balloons will build a composite gondola which will house the balloon’s control systems, oxygen supplies, flight communication and navigational instruments, a sleeping-bunk, water supplies, food rations, life-saving emergency equipment, first-aid supplies and clothing, all of which will be flown under a Cameron Balloons Roziere-550 helium/hot-air combination balloon. This is a similar setup of equipment used by the late American Steve Fossett, who also took-off from Northam and made the first solo circumnavigation of the world by balloon in 2002, in just under 15 days. “Fedor and his son Oscar visited the factory in Bristol last year and they will be returning again before the end of 2015 to view the construction process and for Fedor to start his Roziere balloon ground-training with Don Cameron.” Said Sales Director Nick Purvis. Organiser and Flight Director will be Alan Noble, who previously filled similar roles with Steve Fossett and Breitling during their successful global flights

Fedor Konyukhov was born near the Black Sea in December 1951, he is married with three grown-up children. He has successfully completed lots of expeditions, over land and over the sea in yachts and has even spent 160 days (16,800km) across the Pacific in a rowing boat! He has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and trekked in the most inhospitable of environments completing extreme polar expeditions, but he has never adventured before into the air! These amazing feats also seem to provide creative inspiration too as Fedor has published 9 books and painted over 3000 pieces of art. Fedor started his balloon-training in 2014 and has already with Cameron Balloons’ Russian representative Ivan Menyalo broken the Russian hot-air balloon duration record for the AX-9 (approx. 120 thousand cubic foot) sized hot-air balloon flying for over 19 hours and 10 minutes in well below freezing temperatures. Steve Fossett’s world record stands at - Northam, Western Australia to Queensland, Australia. 13 days 12 hours 5 minutes (14 days 19 hours 50 minutes to landing), 20,482.26 statute miles (32,963 kilometres).

Of hold-ups and Hodmadods
7 snail cylinderHow often this year have we inspected balloons that have only done a couple of hours. Tony Patey was always minded to write bodly in the logbooks of such balloons that were not clearly getting out “Needs to be flown more” a trait we are inclined to use from time to time. Indications of lack of use range from dried out baskets to mouldy envelopes. One customer very apologetically called explaining they would be a bit late as the trailer brakes had seized! Thinking this may be some sort of meek excuse and that they had merely slept in imagine our surprise when we discovered this fellow having a kip on a cylinder!

Lindstrand-Shape of things to come
8 Camper-van-FlyingOswestry-based Lindstrand Technologies has revealed the new basket being developed for their new compact hot air balloons. In a bid to disguise the product initial tests were carried out under a gas balloon! Only kidding this is a Bedford Rascal camper van in the skies above Shropshire. The stunt was for the forthcoming Channel 4 for the programme 'Helluva Tour', to be aired exclusively on its digital platform 'All 4' this Autumn. The unlikely combination flew for a couple of hours, closely followed by a helicopter for filming, before landing near Ellesmere. Unfortunately as the engine had been removed to keep the weight down it had to be towed back. 'Helluva Tour', which will consist of 10 five-minute episodes, will follow a cast of four strangers as they take the road trip of a lifetime from London to Australia. That’ll take more than a couple of hours then.

Finally - Pork Pie Friday clean up
11 pork pie wholeLast weeks pork pie Friday was marked in some style by the arrival of not only Nick Godfrey and Stuart Seager, both ballooning legends in their own right, but a fantastical pie baked by Mel the landlady herself. It was truly spectacular and still warm when it arrived on the bar. Now it is fair to say that the menu in The Swan hangs on the door so something this wonderous was not going to last long. Nor did it. Sad to say neither John or Barry were present and the event didn’t actually happen until well after six on account of me running late but no matter more for us. I understand that Mel sent Barry an eEface of the pie while he was ‘in conference’ on his computer at home. How gutted was he? We have promised never to mention the event again and we won’t.

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