Balloon Repair Station

News 05.09.16

Playing catch-up and failing
It is with amazement that it transpires we haven’t published any news since the last time (sorry, bit of flippancy) like on 18 April 2016 so the religiously noted news that was filed, stored and was going out is now largely out of date, not relevant or the details changed so being a responsible save the planet sort of person we have dumped a lot of it in the re-cycle bin. What is left is probably still old ‘at but nonetheless (love that word) some does remain and by being a bit choosy we still have some items of interest. Quiye a lot of CAA stuff as it 'appens on account that the new service they have launched called Skywise bombards one with stuff.

In case you missed it
Firstly, in the traditional way, a couple of airworthiness bits that we put up as News Updates that may not have caught your eye.

News Update 29.04.16: was the news that Cameron Balloons Mandatory Service Bulletin SB24 about broken Sirocco burner mounting brackets was re-vamped and reduced to ‘Recommended’ from ‘Required’ when it was discovered that a degree of abuse had led to the failure. This means that the there is now no mandatory requirement to replace the mounting brackets however it is now strongly advised. We have come across these brackets in various stages of bentness and it has to be said that the new ones are a lot stronger and better made than the originals. If you do manage to bend or distort the bracket linking the two burners together then the Mk2 is a big improvement. For more information speak to your inspector or call John Davies on +44 (0) 117 9637216, email jdavies@cameronballoons.co.uk.

News Update 27.07.16: concerned EASA AD 2016-0151 which was issued on 26 July 2016 and published on 27 July 2016 and relates to fuel hoses supplied by Kubicek Balloons using EGEFLEX hoses some of which sprung a leak. Inspection to determine if an affected hose is fitted must be made within 14 calendar days of the effective date of the AD (09 August 2016) and all affected hoses must be replaced before the next flight. It applies to almost every balloon known to mankind as the hose type could be fitted to other manufacturers’ balloons. In the case of Annex 2 balloons check the burner assembly to ensure the affected hose type has not been fitted. If the hose type has not been fitted then the details need entering in the ‘ADs Not Applicable’ bit in the back of the logbook with the reason ‘Not fitted’. To see the full details of this Publication go to http://ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/2016-0151 where it can be downloaded in full.

News Update 16.08.16: is all about our favourite read, CAP 747, which went to Issue 3 Amendment 2016/01. This mighty and historic tome which covers Annex II aircraft and if you have never seen it then it is worth a look, especially Section 1 Part 2 which reads like the old Airfix catalogue. It makes reference to such icons as the Comper Swift, DC3, Westland Lysander and even the Messerschmitt 109 which, being German, you would have expected to be EASA! Steve Charlish’s Auster is in there along with the Gipsy Major engine.

The updates are to Section 1 Part 1 ‘Introduction and Guide to Use’. Section 1 Part 2 comprising the Products List and an update to Section 1 Part 3 the Sources of Data which now advises that ‘Links to foreign NAA websites are listed on the Airworthiness Directives webpage of the CAA website’, which is handy. Additionally UK CAA AD: G-2015-0001R1 which refers to the Kidde Graviner Automatic Fire Extinguishers has been added.

Generic Requirement (GR) number 10, Painting of Aircraft’ has been re-written and GR17 (variable pitch propellers) and GR24 permitting some engines to be run beyond the manufacturers' recommendation has been updated. This is the notice that EASA have introduced the “Minimum Inspection Programme” (MIP) under European Regulation 2015/1088. Owners of EASA aircraft which qualify for the use of the MIP and who elect to self-declare their programme under the provisions of that regulation do not need to comply with this GR. Sadly though unless they are installed in a powered glider all Rotax engines are still not covered by the GR so airship operators please take note. CAP 747 is available to view online at http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%20747%20JUL16corr.pdf. Enjoy.

Lindstrand Technologies Limited hot air balloon stuff
Lindstrand Technologies Limited have got the manuals and service bulletins (none at present) for their new hot air balloons available to read online or download on their website at http://www.lindstrandtech.com/hot-air-balloons/. On the top line click on ‘Technical Data’. In the little box that pops up you will find LTL Manuals and the balloon ones are at the bottom. Also here is Service bulletins & Instructions. Everything is downloadable. Their Flight Manual is now LTL HAB Issue 2 and the Maintenance Manual LTL HAB Issue 1. Their TCDS, EASA.BA.026 went to Issue 2 on 14/07/2016. The details have been stuffed in the Manuals and TCDS pages.

Enquires on-going following the Texas balloon accident
Sadly during our absence there was the tragic accident in Texas when a ride balloon hit high tension cables killing all 16 on-board. Enquiries, are reportedly focusing heavily on the pilot and are still ongoing but the accident has provoked many questions not least why, despite warnings and strong recommendations from the US NTFS (National Transportation Safety Board) that a much better oversight of ride operators should be instigated by the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) before a serious accident occurs were dismissed. How are US balloon ride operators  regulated? The Balloon Federation of North America, rather carelessly this time responded by stating that this accident, ‘is unspeakably tragic but it is rather unique’. What is even more tragic is that it is reported that in March 2016 that the NTFS had criticised the FAA for its inaction and reiterated its earlier recommendations, reporting that 25 balloon accidents had occurred since the 2014 letter was delivered. They wrote, 'We are concerned that, if no action is taken to address this safety issue, we will continue to see such accidents in the future'. The reaction in Canada has been very similar with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada suggesting that it 'continues to be concerned' that operators are not regulated in the same manner as operators of other commercial aircraft. Let us hope that EASA take note and decide to stick with the very effective and safety-driven AOC and commercial licencing system used in the UK and give up the ‘Self Declaration’ system they and the EBF (European Balloon Federation)  are pushing for.

Status Quo for the Mo following Brexit
In a statement from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) it appears we are still all systems go for EASAland rules for the moment. They stated that, 'Following the referendum on EU membership there will be no immediate change to civil aviation regulation nor the CAA’s role in the EU and the European Aviation Safety Agency. Any future changes will depend on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations on exiting the EU. We will be working closely with the Department for Transport in assisting the UK Government in the months ahead as discussions progress.' It is reasonable to think that with all the time money and effort put in, along with the largely shared desire for a common European policy on airspace and regulations, then it is more than likely that the UK (or is it GB now?) will opt to stay in EASA and adopt their policies to a large extent. Leaving the EU will mean that even if we did elect to stay in EASA then we would no longer have any voting rights when it comes to any further EASA policy development or change however we would still probably be able to be involved in the consultation process.

The BBAC’s latest take on the situation is to look very closely at the situation bearing in mind the changes that are due to come into force. They currently perceive that Certification and Airworthiness which moved in 2009 to come under “Part M” will probably move to “Part M Light” in 2018. Licensing will change in 2018 or 2019 with Operations (Part Ops) and Training coming into force in 2018. The BBAc have stated that, ‘In all cases, whilst the rule-making is not fully completed, the BBAC is confident that (through the European Ballooning Federation, which is the only voice that we have directly in the rule making process) the final outcome will be workable for UK balloonists, with some bearable additional new rules and a lighter touch in some areas. There is no clear timescale for Brexit, but it seems that no laws will change until 2019 at the earliest and that there will then be an extended process to undo laws made over 40 years in the EC/EU, presumably starting with what is seen to be the highest priorities. Until that is done EU laws that have come into force will be the UK law and will require intervention from the UK Parliament to dis-apply them. Aviation is an obvious area where European harmonisation is probably going to be seen as desirable, even post Brexit. It also seems likely that aviation law will not be high on the list of urgent changes for the UK parliament. However, subject to working within the “Brexit process”, there may be possibilities for some aircraft types within, or some aspects of, General Aviation to move from the European regime (EASA) to a UK regime (“national rules”)’.

As for a policy they state that, ‘The BBAC needs to develop a policy for Brexit and post-Brexit. The BBAC will look at all areas (maintenance/airworthiness, licensing, operations, training, and medical) to gauge the balance of benefit or dis-benefit of (known) EASA rules versus reversion to (assumed) national rules’. The BBAC Main Committee (MC) will meet on Tuesday, 11th October 2016 (from 6.30pm) at The Clarendon Arms, 44 Castle Hill, Kenilworth CV8 1NB. One agenda item for that meeting will be to formulate and approve an initial BBAC policy for Brexit, i.e. in simple terms whether BBAC prefers to remain under EASA or to advocate a change to a UK regime. Any BBAC member, or affiliated organisation, is entitled to attend the MC meeting and can contribute their views. Alternatively, contributions can be sent to easa@bbac.org'.

Dobbo Productions
2 Chris Dobson UMDelighted to have heard that Chris Dobson’s new Ultramagic G-CJXD went for its maiden flight on the 6th May launching from Warborough Green and ending up at Kennington, since when it has been the star and platform for some rather nice whizzy short films, including the maiden flight, that can be found on that clever Youbend thingy. If you type in G-CJXD they all pop up.

Changes to the Medical Requirements – confusion solution
Some welcome clarification has come from Ian Chadwick of the CAA in connection with the changes to the medical requirements in relation to the new ANO 2016. Chapter 3 of the new ANO carries full details, Articles 160 through 166. After 25th August 2016 it will no longer be legal to attain a DVLA1/2 medical certificate from one’s GP. However, all such medical certificates issued prior to 25th August 2016 and remaining valid (in so far as their validity period) will remain valid until their expiry date.

For UK PPL(B) and UK CPL(B) Restricted holders the new medical declaration is the required medical certificate on or after 25th August 2016. However, not everyone will be able to meet the requirements and therefore other options may need to be considered. A LAPL medical certificate is already available to the holder of a Part-FCL LAPL(B) and remains so. Any balloon pilot that already holds a LAPL medical certificate or attains such after 25th August 2016 will be considered compliant for the UK PPL(B) and UK CPL(B) Restricted licences (as well as the LAPL(B)) until their expiry date. An EU Class 2 medical certificate remains the requirement for the UK CPL(B) (Unrestricted) and, at the moment, for all holders of the Part-FCL BPL. There are no changes to the periods of validity.

The CAA has acknowledged that there will be some “losers” as well as many “winners” with the new arrangements. An example is a pilot who cannot meet the requirements of the new medical declaration by way of a “disqualifying medical condition” or who wishes to carry more than 3 passengers (four persons onboard) in their balloon. In such cases the LAPL medical certificate or the EU Class 2 medical certificate will be required. The ANO 2016 came into effect on 25 August 2016 and CAP 393 will presently be amended.

Reminder - Rules for the Yard
HS2 now have tenants in the farm house, Shannon and Nicole, who are extremely nice, they do have a rather untidy Boxer called Wesley (rescued from a film set) and a large German Shepherd called Tuesday. Please don’t ask whereabouts in Australia they are from as they are Kiwis. Despite appearances, the dogs obviously, both are very friendly but Wesley can get anxious with other dogs it doesn’t know so please beware if you bring your pooch it could get a kicking. Polly the Collie is rather fearless and inclined not to get out of the way so please keep a good eye out for her when driving in the yard. When visiting please leave the gate as found, although it will usually be open during the day, and drive slowly through the yard. If you are dropping or collecting a trailer out of hours, if possible, please let us know in good time. Thanks.

Cross London Flight goes East
4 Rob Cross londonWe’ve had a rake of Cross London Flyers in over the past month or two all who have added to their personal 'there was this tree' stories. Rob Cross reckoned it was great despite not quite going where he thought and sent us this piccie of him and trusty balloon Windrush heading out of town having been tempted to hitch a ride on the cable car. This years Cross London Flight, which is in aid of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal Charity, the two main beneficiaries this year being The Sea Cadets and global diabetes charity, JDRF, and better known as The RICOH Lord Mayor’s Appeal Hot Air Balloon Regatta got away on Sunday June 19th 2016. This was a tough call for organiser Andrew Holly as the forecast was looking like it may be calmer than they wanted. In total 47 balloons got away to fly east taking in Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf then headed for the O2 with some temptingly overflying City Airport. All the balloons cleared the City and landed in Essex. Although not quite over the centre of London, as happened last year, to overfly any part of London is pretty exciting for any aviator. Many had taken more than enough fuel expecting light winds but in the event they made good progress. VIP guests included The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of London Alderman The Lord Mountevans along with The Lady Mayoress. This year’s flight raised £46,750 bringing the total raised so far by the Regatta, in its second year, to over £125,000. Exclusive Ballooning have announced that applications for 2017 will open on December 26th 2016 at 3pm.

CAA Issue Congested Area Exemption
Somehow forgot to put this in the last news which was back in April! The CAA have renewed and published General Permission and Exemption No: E4162 which is actually the General exemption for Congested Area Take-Off, Becalmed Landing & Open-Air Assembly which you should print off and stick in your flight bag. It remains fundamentally unchanged from the last one. To find and print off the Exemption go to: http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/1157.pdf

David Barkers new website and email address
Keeping up with the times David Barker has now changed, or apparently had his old site erased without a link to the new one being put in place but fear not his great little site is still there but now at http://dbarker.atwebpages.com. Please also be aware that his new email address is barkerdavidc@gmail.com. His details have been changed in the ‘Inspectors in the Field’ page.

BT goes to Twickers
3 BT balloon twickenham The Fabulous Baker Boys scored on the new envelope front with another new BT balloon, an Ultramagic M-77 registration G-CJEI, back in late May and delivered, registered and granted its Certificate of Airworthiness in time for its launch tethereing at Twickenham promoting the BT Sport Internet service.

Infringing airspace - More than a slap on the wrist
The CAA is set to tighten up dramatically on those that infringe controlled airspace. Travelling at the speed of a pushbike and navigating using an OS map we have little or no excuse to wander into such areas so any form of defence is likely to be difficult. In an attempt to reduce the number of infringements the CAA have now published this statement: ‘Pilots who infringe controlled airspace could have their licences provisionally suspended while the incident is assessed, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced today. The decision is the latest attempt to try and reduce the number of infringements occurring in UK airspace, which remain worryingly high despite previous attempts by the CAA, air traffic service providers and General Aviation (GA) representative bodies to tackle this serious safety issue. In 2015 there were over 1000 infringements reported to the CAA. Under a new process, a pilot who is identified as having infringed controlled airspace, a Danger Area or Restricted Area, could have their licence or licences provisionally suspended, while the details of the incident are investigated and follow-up action considered. The CAA is committed to delivering a speedy resolution to any investigation and will only impose a suspension for as long as necessary. Details of new infringement events received by the CAA are assessed on a weekly basis by a team of experts made up of in-house pilots, investigators and air traffic controllers. If an incident is deemed to reach a certain level of seriousness then the licence of the pilot involved will be provisionally suspended until further notice (the criteria used to determine the level of seriousness of a particular infringement has also now been published www.caa.co.uk/cap1404). Depending on the outcome of the subsequent follow-up action, a decision will be made about lifting the provisional suspension.’

So, to put it bluntly, if in doubt best stay out.

Kavanagh’s bottom ends with Cameron envelopes
Cameron Flight Supplement 8.61 “Kavanagh bottom ends with Cameron Envelopes” listing the requirements for using Kavanagh gear under Cameron envelopes. The Supplement is straightforward and uses the same codes for the baskets, burners and cylinders as found in the Cameron manual making cross referencing pretty straightforward. The little gem can be found at http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/uploads/Approved%20Modifications/Support%20Files/Flight%20and%20Maintenance%20Manuals/English/i10-8-61-Iss1%20Master.pdf.

Lobbing parachutists out of Passenger Ride balloons
The CAA have published a note reminding AOC(B) holders that they must fully comply with Articles 130 and 270 of the UK Air Navigation Order when considering the dropping of parachutists from company balloons. The following requirements apply to UK licensed pilots and UK registered balloons wherever in the world the activity is to take place. In addition to holding a valid British Parachuting Association [BPA] drop rating, operators are reminded to check whether a CAA parachuting Permission is required in accordance with Article 130. If necessary, operators are recommended to seek the advice of the BPA and/or independent legal advice.

Operators are also reminded that Article 270 renders a parachuting flight to be Aerial Work, not Public Transport. It also prohibits the carriage of occupants (other than the crew) who are not carried as part of the said Parachuting Permission. It is therefore not possible for any parachutists do be dropped from any Public Transport balloon flight. Operators must also give due consideration to the balloon’s minimum landing mass when planning a parachuting flight. If an AOC (Balloons) holder intends to undertake Aerial Work parachuting flights utilising one of their AOC balloons, they must include full operational procedures within their company Operations Manual.

Icicle Refrozen open for entries
The ever popular whatever the weather Icicle Meet is open for business again on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th January 2017. Entries are now being taken through their website at http://www.icicle-refrozen.com/index.html. Following the big thumbs up it will once again be held at Donnington Grove Hotel & Country Club, Newbury who even cut the grass and allowed the traditional bacon butty van to attend. Can’t be fairer than that. The meet, headed up by the 3-4-40 Region, as always remains informal, un-sponsored and open to all balloonists.

Marathon success for 2016
1 marathon3Thanks to Sandy Mitchell for this neat picture from the start line of the 2016 London Marathon. Nice to get a shot that shows the balloons in their proper setting doing their job. Four balloons braved the less than ideal conditions having got there at stupid dark-o’clock to set up. Regulars Woodrow and Virgin Money were there along with G-OINN, Glen Everett’s Holiday Inn Ultramagic H-31 and G-CIGI, property people Jones Lang LaSalle’s Lindstrand busy being squished.

Exciting new website from the CAA
Information Notice IN:2016/054 concerning the Implementation of Part NCO was published on 28 June. Yep, its old hat but remains current until 2017 and as rake of changes came into force on 25 August 2016 best you pretend to know about it. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Air Operations Regulation (EC) No. 965/2012 contains implementing rules for all aircraft operations which fall under European legislation. The Regulation already applies to those undertaking commercial air transport and is being extended to other sectors of flight operations.

The purpose of the Information Notice is to notify interested parties that a website has been created by the CAA giving details of the introduction of the next set of implementing rules, those which will affect non-commercial operations using other-than complex motor-powered EASA aircraft (like balloons). These implementing rules are referred to as Part-NCO. This Information Notice should be read in conjunction with IN-2013/143. Operators, owners and pilots of other-than complex motor-powered EASA aircraft, undertaking non-commercial operations, should be aware of major changes to their operating rules which will affect them from 25 August 2016. The CAA has established a website containing information which will be of assistance to those who will have to comply with the new rules. The website can be accessed www.caa.co.uk/nco. There you go.

Big Ones to the Irish
5 Sean celebratesNorthern Ireland got a new pilot during the Sperrins Meet when Sean McGuiggan confidently checked out with flair and determination. If you’ve never been and flown there the Sperrins Meet, based in and around Draperstown is rather splendid. Accommodation at the rather nice Apparo, owned by balloonist Peter Hegarty, is backed up by a proper pub opposite called The Market Inn which provides plates, knives and forks for any take-away you want to bring in! It also hosts local and not so local bands and musicians. Anyway I digress, after the flight we did adjourn to the pub and under the rather fetching red plastic shaded lights presented Sean with his captain’s pips and drunk to his health until a reasonable time when we eventually managed to stagger across the road which fortunately was deserted apart from a wandering donkey (honest).

And the really Rusty Club
6 Nick Compton check flightThe weather, having taken nearly as long to play ball as the potential pilot to check out, finally submitted and it was with a great deal of relief that Nick Compton (started training on early paper Montgolfiers burning old shoes) managed to take-off and land without incident in Mr Bish’s everso slightly wheezy (please, someone, make him an offer for it) Viva 77, G-HENY and thus pass his GFT. After several attempts at getting crew, days, times and weather sorted this was the second attempt in real terms the first failing badly when fog moved in and covered the Folly Dog Leg field as we pulled in at just about light o'clock. The following week did better and we got away in light winds and 50 minutes later touched down firmly to be greeted by our intrepid retrieve party who had miraculously found us down a mile long track being used by large tractors pulling even larger grain trailers. Aboard the Zebedee bus was Celia and her very short long haired dog and, to our surprise, a confused Ross Powell that had abandoned his 2CV in a field somewhere nearby or so he thought. Fortunately Pete had brought along the bubbly (£5 deposit on the glasses) and we drunk to Nick’s good health and my lack of injury. The evening turned into a bit of a beano at the world-renowned Tally-Ho where we had some fine scoff and local ale. Thanks to everyone.

Acceptable damage to Ultramagic basket wires
At present no damage is permitted to Ultramagic basket wires. Now other manufacturers do permit limited damage so when a single broken strand was found during the inspection of a basket the question was asked and Ultramagic issued an acceptance note, Technical Note Publication Ref No 150. This was only for the actual basket stated in the report however in the future they will incorporate the requirements in the Maintenance Manual. If you have damage to a flying wire that you think may fall into this category please get it inspected and send the details along with supporting photos to Ultramagic’s Technical boss Josep Llado.

DFDS Seaways BBAC discount offer for 2016 travel
Apologies if you’ve already been and gone but DFDS have extended the 20% BBAC (British Balloon & Airship club) members’ discount for travel on both the Dunkerque and Calais cross Channel routes in 2016 using the discount code BALLOON 20. Bookings must be made by email to travel.sales@dfds.com once you have decided which crossings you would like to book – see www.dfdsseaways.co.uk for crossings. Additionally as a BBAC member, not only are you entitled to your 20% discount when travelling with a balloon or as part of a crew, but also for any non-ballooning related journeys you make during the course of the year, such as holidays or business trips!

The details of the offer will remain the same; however the following terms and conditions will apply: Valid for travel between 4th January 2016 and 16th December 2016. Subject to availability at time of booking for both single and return bookings. Can be used on both the Dunkerque and Calais route. Non-refundable if cancelled, but fully amendable. Valid for cars, motor homes, vans and trailers/caravans (trailers/caravans can be towed on any of the stated vehicles). Valid for BBAC members only. BBAC membership number must be provided at time of booking and carried at time of travel (evidence may be requested). 20% discount from the online economy fare only and cannot be used against premium tickets. Amendments to dates and times will incur a £10.00 amendment charge per sail leg plus any increase in fare. Bookings must be made by email to travel.sales@dfds.com . Limited availability on peak days (Friday and Saturday from Dover, Saturday and Sunday from France) between between 24th March and 10th April 2016 (Easter), 27th May and 5th June (Whitsun) and Summer sailings between 22nd July – 4th September 2016

The 47 kg maximum propane allowance per reservation can be spread between unlimited cylinders but must not be exceeded under any circumstances. It could only take one person thinking they are being "clever" to jeopardise what we have been given. If you experience any issues booking your travel and you cannot resolve them with DFDS in the first instance, please let Dave know by emailing him at davesuch@btinternet.com.

What to send the dear old CAA to get a licence
If you want to be getting a licence then there is a bit more to it than getting trained and completing your check flight. A guide produced by the BBAC Training Officer Dave Court, Chief Examiner Kevin Meeham and the CAA’s Ian Chadwick sets out clearly what you need to do with regards to the luscious paperwork. If you don’t submit correctly completed forms (and enclose the right amount of folding) you will not get a licence. So take note….

The CAA have informed the BBAC that recent PPL(B) licence applications and log books have contained errors that has led to additional work and delays in the issue of licences. This does not reflect well on the BBAC, when we are working with the CAA towards approval as a formal training organisation from April 2018 under EASA requirements. The PPL(B) application form has guidance notes and we would strongly request that any Instructor, Examiner or pilot who gives training to a student, reads the guidance notes and assists the student pilot in completing their paperwork correctly. Often another pair of eyes will spot something that the student has missed.

On completion of training, a student pilot needs to send the following to the CAA:

Red pilot log book - Before sending this, the student will need to ensure that all training exercises (1-20) have been completed at least once with a BBAC Instructor, recorded in the remarks column and signed by the Instructor, with the Instructor's licence number. These flights must be clearly annotated “Instructor Flight”.
Any training flights with other (non-Instructor) pilots should also have the exercises listed and signed by the pilot giving the training, with his/her licence number.
All training tethered flights must also be recorded. If any exercises are not listed and /or signed, the CAA will return the application for further training.

Licence application form completed by the Student and the Examiner available from https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/SRG1115FF.pdf.

Passport or Birth Certificate - a certified copy signed by a CAA Balloon Examiner is acceptable for this, provided that the examiner has actually seen the original and that he/she certifies the copy with the exact wording required by CAA.

Medical certificate or declaration – again a copy a certified copy signed by a CAA Balloon Examiner is acceptable for this, provided that the examiner has actually seen the original and that he/she certifies the copy with the exact wording required by CAA is acceptable.

YOU DO NOT need an English Language Proficiency (ELP) Certificate but you will need to have an ELP if you apply for an EASA Licence however the ELP can only be issued when you have a CAA licence number, so when you have your CAA licence, contact a UK CAA appointed (and UK based) Balloon Examiner who will conduct a simple, ground-based assessment of your English skills for a level 6 proficiency endorsement. If you are not of Level 6 standard (natural English speaker) only a recognised language school can assess you for other ELP levels. UK appointed examiners may not assess overseas based candidates nor candidates holding a Part- FCL licence issued by any other EASA state, without first meeting a number of additional requirements.

DO NOT send the BBAC Pilot Training Record (blue student log book) to the CAA – this is a record of your BBAC training and this should be sent by your examiner to the BBAC Training Officer, who will analyse and record the training info. Your BBAC Pilot Training Record will then be sent back to you.

Freudian slip shock horror
Now we only have a couple of balloony pics at home and try and avoid balloon related knick-knacks at all costs. The old Corsa I rammed with the Unimog is now retired on account of needing work as is the multi-coloured jobbie. Both have done very well including the Unicorsa making to Normandy and back via the Tunnel so a new car was sought. I quite like the old diesel Corsa. They do more miles to the gallon than anything I’ve ever owned. I hated the blue one but had to keep it as it only cost £100 and ran for four years 8 corsa breeze(trouble free) before rotting out. The multi-coloured job was originally Alice’s and cost a snip over £200 but we’ve had it for ages. It ended up being multi-coloured as someone took the rear quarter out with a triple axle ride balloon trailer. It got painted with the paint we had! So faced with the need for a new car we hunted about and found another Corsa ‘S-reg’ on eBay called Salad with a towbar. I stuck £140 on it and promptly forgot about it until the owner sent a note asking when I intended collecting it! Its quite a straight car and sailed through the MOT with new wipers courtesy of one of the other Corsas but will eventually need a clutch release bearing. Anyway, point is that having a towbar means it’s a great tug around the yard (no wiring at present). Sadly though it has been pointed out that the model is a ‘Breeze’ and the badge on the side? Well it depicts balloons and probably Vivas at that! Gutted.

And finally…
7 Sink Hole by corner of garden studio roomThink you have problems with moles? Well in London, living in a house built largely on a former bombsite you would think moles would stay away. Actually they do but imagine waking up one morning and looking bleary eyed at your somewhat lopsided garden seat and trying to figure out who has stolen the legs from one end then realizing that it has gone down a hole is pretty alarming but then, on venturing forth you find the hole is actually quite deep and runs under your shed (palace) then it is understandable that one should become concerned. So it was that our old mate Mr Usill poked about checking for the fins of an unexploded bomb or landmine. He explained that following the war the site was leveled and topsoil spread over it. Then building on the site commenced. When he built his grand shed and installed gutters little did he realize that the rainwater downpipe was now busy washing away all the soil that had settled into the rubble and come a large downpour settlement took dramatic place and away went his seat. Rumours that it is to become a plunge pool have been dismissed. Best we go and inspect.

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