Balloon Repair Station

News 05.02.17

Cameron Manual Revisions – Including the first ever Service Letter!
Cameron Flight Manual Supplement 8.61 “Kavanagh Bottom Ends with Cameron Envelopes” HABFM 10-8.61 goes to revision 2 and draws attention to cross referencing and specific use of components including EASA requirements for using Kavanagh cylinders in member states.

Revised Service Instruction No 9 “Kavanagh Bottom Ends with Cameron Envelopes” SI09-A. Appears to add Lindstrand to the list. It states that”Cameron” refers to equipment manufactured by Cameron, Lindstrand Hot Air Balloons Ltd, Sky and Thunder & Colt.

First issue of Service Instruction No 11 “Burner Pressure Gauge Replacement” SI 11-A. Long overdue procedures for replacement of defective pressure gauges within Shadow, Stealth, Stratus and Sophie Safire burners.

First Issue of Lindstrand Maintenance Manual Supplement No 6. “Alternative Repair Materials. LHABL MM Supplement 6. This allows the use of specific Cameron materials (fabric, thread, tape, rigging lines etc) in Lindstrand envelopes.

Service Letter, SL 01 “Emptying of burner fuel hoses”. SL01
Camerons’ first Service Letter. This is well worth a read and explains why, apart from the possibility of covering yourself in propane or an unexpected release of propane, damage occurs to gauges.

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John Davies takes the Queen’s shilling
John Davies, Cameron Balloons main man for everything airworthiness and technical has, after many centuries, departed for pastures new at the Civil Aviation Authority a Belgrano Building at Gatwick. He has apparently been recognised for his vast knowledge of rusty jet engines accrued from a former life. Rumours indicate that he may well play the odd role in ballooning matters in the future. Meanwhile, Dave Boxall, who has also been associated with Cameron Balloons since the birth of time and is famous for many of the stunning special shapes produced by them over the years, takes over from John. So now the primary contact for all matters Airworthiness is Dave. He can be contacted at

BBAC Website hiccup
Members of the British balloon & Airship Club suffered a website shutdown. Piers Glydon their whizzo site administrator type person, who was straight onto the case, explained that, ‘With hardly more than a day’s notice to its customers, the company hosting the BBAC website sold out to a larger hosting company. I’ve spent the last two days picking up the pieces. There are lots of aspects to the BBAC website, including the main site, the forum, the shop, the membership system, the Sensitive Area system, the Gordon Bennett 2010 site (and gallery) and the Queens Cup 2013 site to name but some of them.’ He is now almost on top of it at last but said that there could well be many more unexpected problems lurking around. Please email him at to report any strangeness (this doesn’t include those annoying “strict” errors that float around due to incompatibilities between the new operating system and the older software still propping the site up). Piers is hopeful that the new hosting company will be more progressive than the previous one. He grumbled that, ‘We had no end of problems with missing email and stupid email filters, limited disc space, etc etc, although they were quick to respond to issues (most of the time). The new server is a business-level machine and a little over-the-top for the BBAC sites, so when the contract is renewed there may be a move to a lesser-spec, lower-priced server, Hopefully that move will be less painful than the one we’ve just gone through.’

Really! – No applicants for the Royal Aero Club Burseries?
A circular from the Royal Aero Club has been sent out reminding everyone in aviation that each year the Royal Aero Club Trust awards a number of bursaries to young members of the aviation-sports fraternity. Despite a closing date of the 31st March 2017, they have not received any applications from young balloonists. Normally, they receive three or four applications from young balloonists, a half of whom have usually applied by this stage of the year, and we award a bursary to a number of those of those who apply. Young balloonists, including those who have received a previous award and wish to apply for a follow-on award, and who are still eligible, should look at the details of the scheme on the Trust website and send their application to arrive as soon as possible. In 2016 a total of 50 young sports-aviation enthusiasts received an award from the Trust to enable them to make further progress”. So, if you are aged between 14 years and 21 years (or for a follow-on bursary 24 years), have a basic air sport qualification, wish to advance your air sport qualifications but lack the funds and would like up to £1,000 help you realise your air sport ambitions Then you really ought to apply. The bursaries include The President’s Scholarships (2 bursaries each worth up to £750), the Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship (worth up to £1,000), the Breitling Bursary (worth up to £750), the Bramson Bursary (worth up to £500) and a number of additional bursaries also worth up to £500 each These are open to anyone between 14 and 21 years of age (or 24 years for a follow-on bursary) wishing to develop their interest in either air sports or aviation.

The Trustees agreed significant changes to the Bursary Scheme in 2015. Following consultation with previous award winners, the Scheme was extended to permit applications from a wider age range (14 to 21 years) and from light aircraft trainee pilots who have flown solo. The Scheme also provides financial assistance to trainee balloon pilots who have to enter for mandatory examinations. From 2017 the Scheme is also open to those who fly drones. Additionally, a new category of bursary was introduced for well qualified air sports participants aged up to 24 years. Styled as the “Follow on Bursary”, the intention is to encourage committed applicants to reach even higher levels of achievement through, for example, participation in national and international competitions. These new opportunities should encourage an even wider range of young persons to access and benefit from participation in air sports.

The Royal Aero Club Trust has been offering bursaries for some 16 years and a wide range of grants have been awarded. Activities available in the programme include gliding, hot air ballooning, paragliding, hang gliding, parachuting, flying microlights, motor gliders, light aircraft and helicopters and the building and flying model aircraft (including drones). Bursaries are also available for Personal Computer or Flight Simulator pilots wishing to have their first experience of an air sport. Applicants must be UK citizens, resident in the UK and the training and flying can only be conducted at clubs, associations or training establishments in the UK. Applications, which must arrive at the Trust by 31 March 2017, are to be submitted through a Sponsoring Organisation, Club or Association. Parents, you need to tell the little darlings about this now.

Full details and the rules of the recently changed scheme, as well as the relevant application forms, are available on the Royal Aero Club Trust web site, To Contact the Bursary Administrator, David Bills, email

EASA sorting out Global Warming
Seen it all now. EASA now invite us to comment on the implementation of the CAEP/10 amendments on climate change according to their latest mail which reads,
‘Please note that NPA 2017-01 ‘Implementation of the CAEP/10 amendments on climate change, emissions and noise’, 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 17 Apr 2017. Thank you for your interest in and contribution to the European Aviation Safety Agency’s rulemaking activities’. Kind regards, The EASA consultation team. So there you are, no argument no doubt any more climate change exists and has an EASA reference number. Brilliant. Must have a read and comment on this one for sure.

Jobs for the boys (and girls) Cameron Balloons advertise vacancies
Spotted on their website as at 20th January Cameron Balloons have two job positions available. Cameron Balloons Ltd., Bristol, are now starting the recruitment process for 2 full-time (37.5hr per week) sewing machinists to join their existing team. The advert explains that, the Cameron Balloons’ machinist’s role involves working on all aspects of hot-air balloon manufacture using both twin & single needle techniques. Meticulous work involves being part of an existing team on a wide range of aeronautical and fabric-engineered projects. Cameron Balloons would provide additional on-site training to ensure familiarity with the specialist aviation sewing-work and unique fabrics. Cameron Balloons vibrant, friendly, busy environment is also the World’s most popular manufacturer of hot-air balloons and special-shape balloons and was founded 46 years ago. Previous industrial sewing experience is a distinct advantage but good domestic or college sewing experience will be considered too. All applicants should initially write or email enclosing their CV & full contact details to: Hannah Cameron, Director, Cameron Balloons Ltd, St John Street, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 4NH, Telephone 0117 963 7216 ( Shortlisted applicants then will be invited for an interview day which will include standard job interviews with Production Director and one or two colleagues and sewing practical assessment work. A payment of £50 towards expenses will be paid for attending this day but please note applicants would be responsible for any Tax etc on this payment.

Cameron Work Experience packages 2017
Cameron Balloons also accept students for work experience. The new work experience placement application period for Cameron Balloons will opened in January. ‘Most students, if they are up for a challenge get a lot out of our work environment. Each student takes up a great deal of our work time and here and we are lucky to have a mix of academic and skilled practical work. Student days aren’t just filled with ‘shadowing’ the staff who are actually working but they get some proper ‘hands on’ work.’ explains, Ian Lewis, Artwork & Cutting Department Manager.
For further information or to apply contact Cameron Balloons at

Its always good to do a bit of homework before applying for any job or position so here is the Cameron Resources list. Website is,
Facebook pages You Tube Twitter Pinterest

Nic Amor Bigs balloons
Drunk me tea on Wednesday 17th January listening to Nic Amor from Bristol Balloons being interviewed by Chris Evans who, although an advocate of balloons is not that keen to go in one! Nic’s interview was really rather good and did an awful lot of good both promoting the sport and encouraging people to think about taking a balloon ride. The Ride Operators should benefit at what is a quiet time of the year. Here it was glorious sunny frosty morning so no doubt the booking figures for this week should have shown an upward turn. Be interesting to see what the net result is. Radio 2 is probably the most want to but can’t advertise radio station there is so jolly weel done. What we really did like? He bigged up the retrieve crews. Nice one Nic.

New dates for the Dairy – sorry Diary
Weston Park has hosted balloons many times before but they are invited back from 23rd to 25th July as part of MFest300 which celebrates 300 years of Freemasonary in the UK. I trhought they’d been around for ages, well they have, but it turns the first Lodge to open in theUK was in London in 1717. We have a relation in Thomas Dunckerley who was a sea-going mason but that is as close as we go! Don’t know if women will be allowed to this event. Entry is free but….i true masonry thingy a £10 per team will be requested in aid of the local air ambulance. Propane is on site and is free for balloons participating in the Nightglow to be held on Saturday after which the Abba tribute band will be performing. Camping available on site at £15 per night. More about the event itself is at

The next is an event to be held in Hampton Park, Eastbourne from 28th to 30th July which, if the winds are good, should be brilliant. This is an event put on by Hampton Park. Free entry and propane on site, free for balloons participating in Nightglow on Saturday. May well try and get to this one. For full details of the events and to register please contact Peter Grey at

Instructor Returns and Instructor Days
As is customary the word has gone out that Instructors need to complete and return their Instructor Return Form for flights carried out in 2016. Also of note are two training days for those wishing to become Instructors. First is 12th March and the second 10th June. Attendance at an Instructor day is required every two years. If you wish to become an instructor then you will have to attend sufficient to have covered the various modules especially if you intend converting to the EASA system when it finally comes into force. For full details or get a Return Form, if you haven’t already had one, contact the BBAC Training Officer Dave Court by email To book into the Instructor Day you can do that through the BBAC Online shop at

2017 BBAC member discount for sailings on DFDS services
Dave Such has advised us that following considerable time and effort by his new contact at DFDS, the 2017 BBAC member discount for sailings on DFDS services can now be booked through a new dedicated hidden web page at For those members who prefer not to book that way you may book your sailings by calling the DFDS contact centre on 0871 521 1531 and by quoting Partner Offers and BBAC during the call. As a BBAC member, you can take advantage of one of these very special, exclusive offers. DFDS have offers on their routes from Dover to Dunkirk or Calais and also from Newcastle to Amsterdam, so whether you live in the north of England or Scotland, or further south, you can take advantage of these great deals. 15% off Dover-France ferry crossings from £34 each way, Dover-France 3-day return (no caravans or trailers) for just £54 return, 2 for 1 Newcastle-Amsterdam mini cruise from £43pp return and 10% off Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry crossings from £63pp each way.

There are a number of changes from the 2016 booking procedures and Terms and Conditions going forward. The discount level has been decreased from 20% to 15% on the Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk routes. A three-day short break return offer at £54 for a vehicle and up to 9 passengers (no caravans or trailers) has been added on the Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk routes (Please note the 15% discount is not applicable to the £54 return fare). Two new discounts have been added to the Newcastle-Amsterdam route but these are only applicable to customers NOT CARRYING ANY HOT AIR BALLOON EQUIPMENT. These discounts are offered to members who just want to travel for leisure/holiday or travel to the Netherlands or Europe without a hot air balloon. These discounts are 10% off for ferry crossings with a vehicle on the Newcastle-Amsterdam route and 50% off for a mini-cruise from Newcastle to Amsterdam and back (foot passengers only). Please note that vehicles carrying hot air balloon equipment will have to be booked as freight on the Newcastle-Amsterdam route. You can find more information about freight shipping and contact details for the Newcastle-Amsterdam route at

Another change is the webpage validity is open ended but DFDS do not load the following year’s departures until October/November time. My contact will let me know when the 2018 (and subsequent years) departures are loaded and looking ahead, that should be of help to those of you going off to the Alpine balloon meets in January and February each year. Dave has successfully booked a return crossing using the new-dedicated hidden web page without any issues. If you have any queries or experience any problems using the new web page, please let him know by emailing

DFDS Terms and Conditions on the Dover to France Routes updated.
DFDS procedures have always permitted tourist vehicles to carry up to 47kg of Propane in any number of cylinders. Following discussions with the British Balloon and Airship Club and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), DFDS have extended this exemption to vehicles carrying hot air balloon equipment (for private use) are now permitted to carry the following, providing the current BBAC member who made the booking is travelling in the vehicle and carrying their current membership card during both the outward and return sailing. Up to 47kg of a class 2.1 flammable gas (usually propane or butane), a small canister of class 2.2 non-flammable gas (helium) and Fire extinguishers for use in the operation of the balloon.

The MCA Marine Guidance Notice (MGN320) exemption states that the shipping operator should be informed by a customer when carrying the above equipment. Therefore it is important that DFDS is informed at the check-in stage then the loading team can inform the vessel so they are aware (in case of an incident onboard).

We have previously been allowed to carry a petrol fuel can for use with the inflation fan but following conversations by my contact with the DFDS port manager and Health & Safety manager, unfortunately no petrol cans are now permitted – please ensure you respect this decision – as the following Terms and Conditions apply to all bookings and clearly state the requirements:

10. Dangerous goods or luggage – Passengers must comply with all applicable laws and international conventions relating to the transport of dangerous goods or luggage. Goods or luggage which might cause considerable inconvenience to the other passengers or the crew, or endanger the safety or security of the ship, human beings or goods, must not be brought aboard. It is therefore not permitted to carry dangerous or offensive weapons, explosives or drugs, spare cans of fuel (petrol/diesel-cans) or similar items. Paint, chemicals and related products are also considered dangerous goods and are not allowed on board DFDS Seaways’ ships. Any passenger not complying with this provision will be refused boarding and no refund shall be given. We are also entitled to, for safety and security reasons, request a search of passengers and inspect their luggage.

A lesson for car makers (and burner manufacturers)
I’m constantly frustrated by the Green Lobby banging on about the inefficiency of aircraft and the pollution they cause. Probably not that balanced considering we burn raw propane when we use the whisper burner and nylon is a long way from a ‘green’ product however, Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK airlines, have just published their report setting out how carriers are reducing carbon emissions and helping to meet the global industry target of a 50% reduction in global aviation emissions by 2050. The report, “UK Airlines – Responding to the Carbon Challenge”, details the size of CO2 emissions from UK aviation and how UK airlines are working to reduce these while delivering sustainable growth across the sector. They draw attention to the investment airlines are making in new, quieter aircraft already 470 over the past 10 years, with a further 400 on order and the impact this is having on the ground. Now here’s the thing, since 2005 new aircraft and more efficient flights have carried 23 million extra passengers whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 20 million tonnes in the process. Add to this that flights by UK carriers are also 12% more fuel efficient and you have some pretty impressive figures and all done without resorting to installing mis-leading computer software! Quite why it is that passenger aircraft are considered to be fuel inefficient I have no idea (Oh! there goes the Antonov out of Luton!). Modern aero-engines are the now the most efficient engine you can get, more efficient than a car engine and when you start factoring range and payload into the equation the car fails badly. Rover once built a gas-turbine car (and gas turbine stationary engines-honest) but these were not very efficient at all. So critical is efficiency that Emirates are trying to get their Airbus 380s re-engined in a bid to gain a 2-3% better improvement in fuel burn (like what is consumption). It will very interesting to see the way aviation goes in the next few years especially the rivalry between Boeing and Airbus. In ballooning it is re-assuring to see that the manufacturers have finally realised that the balloon is lighter than air and the use of modern fabrics and some lighter components are making them more efficient but burner development still has an awful long way to go. A powerful burner is not necessarily an efficient burner, it is all about how you manage your heat-ball you know. Even the Bonanno-designed BMK008 Ultramagic burner isn’t that efficient, still relying on squirting raw propane into the mix to increase output and opening up and closing down with copious amounts of sooty flame. While we are at it, why are burners all heavier than the old and faithful C2? I will look forward to getting some figures on burn efficiency from the players in due course no doubt (o: Adios.

Wheel-Tug gets approval
Well now just when we are banging on about efficiency finally Wheel-Tug has got approval. We reported this a few years ago and its potential fuel saving for airlines during the most thirsty part of a flight, taxiing, is enormous. We really like this and have followed its development with a keen eye. The innovative system that allows an aircraft to taxi backwards and forwards using small electric motors in its nosewheels rather than jet engines or a tow tug has taken a major step to being able to enter general use. The Oregon-based WheelTug company said last week the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had accepted the certification plans for its aircraft electric drive system for the Boeing 737NG. WheelTug claims the system will benefit airlines by “well over” $1m per aircraft per year, reduce fuel consumption and emissions at airports, and save up to 20 minutes in ground time between flights. Entry into service for the B737NG family is expected in late 2018, with versions for other aircraft types planned. WheelTug’s order book so far totals almost 1,000 systems for aircraft from 22 airlines worldwide. Bet Ryanair get these fitted.

Baby Boom Zooms into the frame.

Boom supersonic plane in flight. (PRNewsFoto/Boom Technology, Inc.)

Another one to watch. Probably the most exciting news we’ve heard for ages. A one-third scale prototype of the aircraft that could resurrect commercial supersonic transatlantic flight by 2023 has been unveiled by chief supporter Sir Richard Branson. The XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, nicknamed ‘Baby Boom’ after the start-up company building it, is scheduled to undertake its first supersonic test flights later this year at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The aircraft is planned to be “technically representative” of what the final airliner will offer and includes General Electric engines, Honeywell avionics and Tencate structural carbon-fibre elements. Branson’s Virgin Galactic company is helping Boom to build the first production model with engineering, manufacturing, testing and operations support and has optioned Boom’s first 10 aircraft. If all goes to plan the new aircraft promises to halve air travel times across the Atlantic, carrying 40 passengers between London and New York in 3hr 15min, for a princely £2,500 each way. Cruising speed will be Mach 2.2 or 1,451mph, 10% faster than Concorde and 2.6 times faster than other airliners. Boom’s CEO Blake Scholl said, “Sixty years after the dawn of the jet age, we’re still flying at 1960s speeds. Concorde’s designers didn’t have the technology for affordable supersonic travel, but now we do.” Not sure how the environmental lobby will take to an aircraft named Boom! Check out their website at

You won’t believe this – We wouldn’t have!
Just when you think you’ve seen most of the problems that turn up with burners and balloons it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise when another pops up. We had a Cameron Sirocco burner in for a bit of a sort out mainly on account of the poor flame pattern. This was put down to spreading of the outer jet ring, quite often caused by overtightening of the nuts holding the inner ring in place which in turn retains the two foils (got that then!). Anyroad down a fluffy flame we took the darling apart and blow me down in a well poorly somewhat flat state we found the remains of an earwig. Yep really. Sadly for the owner it wasn’t the earwig causing the problem but indeed the outer jet ring as suspected. A very expensive new one along with new foils and various bits and bobs other were fitted and before re-assembly thoroughly checked for insect life. We have found bees and wasps in pilot lights, various insects in flight cylinders and interesting stuff attached to filters but this is the first time we have found an insect inside a burner! Silly earwig.

Wow for the Owl
Once in a while we come across a balloon we do actually really like. In the past it has been Rob Cross’s Windrush balloon. Unusually we liked this one before it was even built. Jeff Lawton has long been bemoaning the weight of his kit so finally he bit the bullet and decided to go lightweight. Well he also fancied a special shape, at least a special shape that didn’t take an hour to pack away. His daughter Rosanna did the design based on a chat last summer about possible ideas . “We have a picture of an Owl on the conservatory wall and she said ‘that will work’ and the Owl was born,” explained Jeff. Well when he showed us the artwork we had to agree! Her initial drawing formed the basis of the design and the final outcome turned out to be a fairly good representation of her idea. They had lots of tweaking of colour arrangements due to the limited range in lightweight fabric colours but were all well-chuffed with the end result. Jeff wanted the owl to inflate face down but unfortunately something was lost in the translation and it inflated face up! In the short term the solution was move the scoop but re-rigging will follow to correct the error. As Jeff said, “Shame my build instructions were not actioned as otherwise Ultramagic were great to deal with and brought this 105 in at 105kg which is a joy compared to my other 105 at 143kg.” We reckon this is pretty stunning. With penguins and a lion in lightweight already out there this has to be the way to go.

While we are on the subject of owls – The Hogwarts Sorting Hat
Now the thing is that balloonists are an eclectic lot. Leoff Gescott the Wizard decided that as a somewhat vital part of Temple Cowley Library’s Harry Potter Evening for around 20 six to nine year-olds he’d have to provide the Hogwarts Sorting Hat. Well, although he says it wasn’t much to look at and he says he’s not proud of the craftsmanship, it went down very well, spooking some of the adults and engaging with the children. He had just over 24 hours to find the hat, get the supporting technology working and make a supported top that would conceal the working parts so the hat appeared to speak and interact with the young mind wearing it. Starting off placed on the Sorting Chair, it addressed a spell-bound audience seated in front of it with a pre-recorded speech before the Librarian called each child to be Sorted. Out of direct sight and switching apps to a direct microphone PA one, he successfully “sorted” them into the Four Houses of Hogwarts for the competitions that followed.

In a darkened Library, dimly lit with flickering lights and surrounded by “magical” potions and artifacts such as owls, frogs and bats, it certainly looked the part. Only one child (there’s always one) worked out that there was someone working the Hat remotely, but even he didn’t know how it was done. Geoff was dressed in black from head to foot with gown and hat, so he was pretty brave to ask, but wizards are good at haughty staring contests and being evasive. “Great fun to do,” he explained, “I’ve just got to lose the habit of speaking in rhyming couplets……”

Proper rusty stuff – Model steam engine discovered
Doug Beckwith has unearthed a rather wonderful half built model steam engine. Following a bit of a dis-jointed conversation it would appear that he has for sale a part-built Pacific-style (4-6-2) engine and tender in steel. The main and bogey frames for the engine all appear to be cut out and drilled. The running gear and frame of the tender is all assembled. It is quite large with the main frames on their own being over five foot long. The boiler has not been built which is probably a good thing as boiler technology has evolved quite a lot in recent years especially in the modelling world. Quite what else comes with this I’m not sure but there are driving wheels and bogey wheels all of which need finishing. The driving wheels appear to be about six inches in diameter. Being a high voltage electrician this isn’t really Doug’s thing so it is all up for sale. If I recall there are drawings for it and a lot of sundries. Love it for meself but it would be at the back of a very long queue under the bench for the considerable! For details please drop him a mail