Balloon Repair Station

News 09.01.17

Super exciting TCDS updates
Trying to sneak under the radar Camerons nudged BA.013 HAB to issue 16 on or about 24th November. Seems to be in connection with volumes of the A425LW and the A500LW. Over on mainland Europe Kubicek slipped in two revisions. BA.017 SSHAB has nipped a nifty notch to Issue 21 on 9th December and somehow, according to our lists, Kubicek BBs, BA.003, leapt two points to Issue 33 19th Decemeber putting them in the lead we think. The changes on the SSHAB one appear to relate to KB 72L and KB 97L flight cylinders being added. Not quite so clear as far as BA.003 goes but we suspect its the addition of the BB64Z, BB78Z and BB92Z. Odd sizes but I’ll bet there’s a neat metric option!

Tessa Tennant
Very sadly we learnt that Tessa Tenant passed away on 23rd December 2016. We had only recently held a bit of an impromptu Night Glow come mini meet in her honour on account we had heard she was quite poorly and many had missed both her wedding to Lou de Marco and her birthday. There is more about that elsewhere. I’m very pleased to say that the weather did us proud and a very lovely evening was had by all. Tessa was The Hot Air Balloon Company and later what became Flying Pictures. She managed to keep a bunch of egotistic and finnicketty showmen and women under some sort of control. That in itself was remarkable but she also seldom missed an event and involved herself fully in the proceedings getting sponsors, clients and press coverage organised. Without her, HABCo and FP modern ballooning and its association with publicity would not be where it is today. OK! Colin Prescott helped by starting the idea but it was wih Tessa’s drive and enthusiasm the business took off like it did. The funeral is due to be held on Monday 23rd January in Boldre near Lymington. Tessa was a very good friend and without her I certainly wouldn’t have had half the fun I did or done as much as I have done especially involving balloons. I reckon that goes for all of us. Thankyou.

Her husband and great friend Lou wrote this lovely note.
Hello to all you dear friends,
This is the bulletin which I didn’t want to have to write but that I knew that I would have to. Our lovely Tessa died peacefully in Oakhaven Hospice at 0045 this morning. Our music was playing quietly and I held her hand. She had been unconscious and out of pain for almost a week and the great wonder is how she kept herself going for so long. A strong lady, who decided for herself when the time was right. Some of you will know that I was with her for most of the week that she was unconscious and, perhaps strangely, I found it a deeply satisfying experience. For the first time since we met we had long, one-sided, conversations that I think she heard, we spent all that companionable time together and for the last four days had the music that has been part of our lives for the last seventeen years, quietly playing. I would have regretted not doing it. I also took occasional walks along the seawall that she loved, particularly now that the overwintering geese and ducks are with us. And I write this from the house that she took so much delight in us re-modelling together. This is HER home, with her stamp all over it.

And what of the future? Who knows? I shall get myself into practical mode to give her the send-off she wants and deserves. The original party girl will be disappointed if her final gig doesn’t live up to her usual standards. It will have to be fun. With lots of champagne! Tess well knew that life isn’t a rehearsal, and as you all know she lived it to the full. She leaves behind literally hundreds of relatives and friends who love her, and nobody who wishes her anything but good. I think that is a pretty good legacy. She has given me the best seventeen years of my life and I shall relish that for as long as I breathe. She has left a big gap in all of our lives, but wonderful memories too. Please pass on this dreadful news to all of her friends not on this list and I’ll send on the party details in due course. During Christmas, drink a toast to Tess in champagne and remember the joy she gave. She never wanted anyone to be miserable. With thanks for your good wishes these past months and very much love from us both, Lou and Tess

Cameron Service Bulletin 23
Following a note from Peter Johnson at Cameron Balloons we would just like to clarify that we fully appreciate their concerns and re-iterate that the inspection is of value and that in the interests of safety it would be sensible to fit the mod kit however, this does not have to be done immediately as the inspection or the fitting of the kit is not currently mandatory. On the point of wear it was suggested that our picture did not clearly reflect the measurement required. Obviously the wear that could result would be between the nipple of the stem and the part of the carrier that it bears on. This, as we said, is virtually impossible to measure. If there appears to be a visual wear step within the carrier then that is the measurement required and agree that our description could be confusing. A secondary photograph would help which we will add. We have still not encountered any wear steps but would continue to suggest that should there be a problem with a valve that requires it be stripped down then it would be sensible to fit the new design of stem along with a new carrier and seals.

Fire & First Aid Course-places available
Mr Sharpe on behalf of the Surrey & Sussex Balloon Group invites all those interested to a Fire & First Aid Course at Dunsfold airfield for Saturday 4th February. Forget whether you are a private or a commercial pilot that has to attend one, it is very highly recommended that all pilots and crew get at least some basic first aid training. Peter Edwards of 1st Fire will lead the course and it is fully CAP611 compliant as per CAA requirements which means you will get a meaningful certificate. The cost is £50.00 per head and worth every penny. You really never know when you may find yourself having to save a life. For full details please contact Sharpy at

News from EASAland – training outside of Approved Training Organisations
EASA have now published the final deliverable ‘Review of the Aircrew Regulation in order to provide a system for private pilot training outside approved training organisations (ATOs), and of the associated acceptable means of compliance and guidance material ‘, as well as the related CRD to NPA 2015-20 , have been published on the EASA website. Heavy going but all pretty relevant to private flyers.

Playing in Portugal
Here’s an event that’s well worth a look. The Rubis Gás Festival Internacional de Balonismo 2017 is being held in Coruche near Lisbon, Portugal from 28th March (check-in 27th) to 2nd of April. Deadline for registration is 20th January. Requirements include a Class2 medical, 100 hours and 2 flights in the last six months. Entry is €385.00 for pilot plus one crew for balloons upto ‘120 and pilot plus two crew for ‘140 to ‘210. Extra crew are €275.00 which includes accommodation for seven nights, dinner for six days along with propane and a survivors dinner. Incentives are available for special shapes. The main language will be English. For more information and to register go to Windpassenger Ballooning’s website (which I can’t seem to get the link to work) and scroll down to the bottom. If that doesn’t work contact Helena Sa at and she’ll be happy to help.

Fire, Phones and tablets
EASA Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) 2016-13 has been issued in connection with Galaxy Note7 phones. The Agency took note of the official communication1 issued by Samsung Corp. informing its customers about the recently reported incidents concerning the Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. According to Samsung Corp., as a result of the investigation carried out the company learned that there is an issue with the battery cell. As a consequence, Samsung Corp. has decided to replace the devices. Considering the above mentioned information, the European Aviation Safety Agency recommends that operators ensure that passengers and crew keep any Samsung Galaxy Note7 device that has not been replaced as mentioned above turned off, do not charge it while on board of the aircraft and do not put these devices inside the checked baggage and passengers are reminded of the need to immediately inform the cabin crew when a device is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost, or falls into the seat structure. We reckon they would make great distress flares.

Malcolm Dear
It is with sadness that we learnt the of the death of Malcolm Deare who passed away on 26th October 2016. Our sympathies go out to all his friends and family. Kevin Meehan was a very close friend of Malcolm and send us this nice piece. Malcolm learnt to fly with Bob Jones in the early 80’s and did his GFT with Kevin. He was one of the founder members of the North West region of the British Balloon & Airship Club. His early flying done in G BFIX Â Thunder AX7-77A which Kevin seems to think was built out of li-lo material as it was so heavy!! There’s a photo of it at He was already a successful headmaster in the Wigan area when Kevin, who was the Operations Manager for Virgin Airship & Balloon Company, asked Malcolm to do a few shows and eventually persuaded him to give up the day job. Over the years Malcolm operated may of VABC’s clients’ balloons including DHL, Monster, Cadbury’s Creme Egg, VAA. The school tours were made for Malcolm and VABC received many letters, drawings and thankyou notes from the schools that he had visited with his crew. Professional to a T he always managed to do something despite the weather conditions. He was always willing to accept a job and did his very best to do a good job. In later years he worked for Renault Formula 1 delivering essential parts to various race circuits around the world, ferrying the F1 drivers to the races and also working with the PR department on various projects and always wore their logo wherever he was and whatever he was doing. At the request of the family the funeral was a quiet private affair. Amongst those present at the funeral were NW pilots Derek Grimshaw, Ray and Sarah Owen and some of Malcolm’s crew members. Peter Bird, Charlie Sanger Davies and Rupert Stanley.

Cross Channel Flight 2017
Mr Sharpe has only managed to sort another Cross Channel Balloon Flight for 2017. This time it will be sponsored by Datum RPO and organised by Exclusive Ballooning. Looking them up it appears Datum RPO ‘is revolutionising the vendor neutral market with a fresh, innovative approach to recruitment process outsourcing’. No idea what that means but they have a balloon. To be known as The Datum RPO Cross Channel World Record Flight it is scheduled to take place in the Spring of 2017. Plans, we are told, are well underway. The idea is to break the existing record of 49 balloons across the channel at one time. The official website is open and applications to take part in the flight will open shortly. Entries are open to pilots from all around the world. The UK entry fee is anticipated as £120 and overseas pilots £250. Entry includes a return trip for the retrieve vehicle, basket banner and pin. Overseas pilots get up to 300 litres of propane. Requirements include minimum 50 hours P1, maximum size of balloon 105,000 cubic feet minimum of two hours duration (3 hours recommended), life jackets (life raft optional). Full details and an application form are available from

8.33kHz Radios latest requirements published
To overcome aviation radio frequency congestion across Europe, more channels are needed. By moving to 8.33 kHz channel spacing, three times the number of channels can be created within the VHF band. On 1 January 2018 the law changes and all aircraft operating in airspace that requires the carriage of a radio must have 8.33 kHz-compatible equipment fitted and operational. After this date all 25kHz radios can no longer be used, unless specifically exempted for a particular channel such as the emergency frequency 121.5MHz. This means that all General Aviation (GA) aircraft must comply with this change to UK law to maintain safe communications with ground stations. The UK leaving the EU will not affect the implementation of this new legislation so you need to plan early. Manufacturers, suppliers, maintenance organisations and licensed engineers may struggle to cope if there is a rush to buy and fit radios in late 2017. Consequently, the CAA is encouraging GA aircraft owners to purchase 8.33kHz radios early as we anticipate demand will be high as the deadline approaches.

The GA Unit, along with associations and key stakeholders, has identified a small number of common frequencies that may qualify for a temporary exemption from the 8.33 kHz implementation. They have submitted a proposal to EuroControl and should hear the outcome in early 2017. If they are successful it will help reduce the equipage burden for a minority of users. Any exemptions granted will be for a short period of time and will not delay the change in UK legislation. Formal engagement has started with radio manufacturers, suppliers, maintenance organisations and licensed engineers to allow them to highlight any concerns that the 8.33 kHz implementation might have. Our main focus is to understand the capacity of industry to support the GA Community from now until 31 December 2017. In line with this requirement the CAA has published the criteria for claiming a 20% rebate against a new 8.33kHz radio. The application form is currently being developed and the CAA GA Unit hope to publish this early in the new year. The CAA will send information when the application form is live. The information for transportable 8.33 kHz radios is contained in section 4 pages 13-16 and describes who can claim, what radio types and hardware (spare battery, headset, aerial) can be claimed for and the receipts required.
The criteria have been published at

Horsing about – Rosey rides out
You may remember a few years ago, about four actually, ‘my horse’ Ruby had a foal named Rosey. Six months ago she was backed and now is learning the ropes. She has already been pretty successful in competition and is every bit as nice as her mum. Naturally she has to pass the dad test before she really makes the grade. This involves transporting me safely to the Swan and back and behaving herself as in not letting me fall off. Although a tad icy the other weekend Mary, Jane and I rode down to the back door of The Swan and enjoyed a tipple before heading back up the hill to Wellwick. Suffice to say Rosey did the job admirably. Unlike Ruby she stood reasonably patiently whilst I supped me brandy. She isn’t that brilliant yet at walking out preferring to have a good look round the scenery and, unusually for horse, up at passing 737s and kites. She isn’t at all flustered by traffic and took a keen interest at the cars and lorries whizzing under the bridge over the by-pass. Yup, I reckon I rather like her. Thundering across the wheat was banned.

Now here’s something interesting
When researching the article on the Varsity Line (Two go by train) I came across this rather intriguing piccie. I was mulling through a day spent in early 1974 when we stood on the platform at Verney Junction, made famous by John Betjeman in his Metroland, when Flying Scotsman, along with a couple of support coaches, slowly rumbled through exhausting the minimum of steam and so steadily we exchanged full sentences with the driver. We used to go over to Leighton Buzzard car auctions, buy something daft and re-convene at the Verney Arms. The landlord was called John Riches if memory serves and a very fine fellow he was. He was the one that said we should amble down to the long abandoned Verney Junction platform with a pint as Flying Scotsman was coming through. Obviously back then we had no idea that the line stood a chance of re-opening but it was still used for goods traffic. Someone, somewhere must be able to corroborate this story within the world of estuff. I searched for pictures and found one of the famous engine pointing the right way on the Bletchley fly-over. Must be true then. What I hadn’t anticipated was a picture taken in 1974 by a chap that investigated derailments, which were not uncommon on the line which was effectively retired but not closed. Blow me down in the sky was a balloon. Now how weird is that?