Balloon Repair Station

News Update 10.11.17

The Great Lindstrand T30 debacle - SB25-3 and SB-26 issued

Now appearing as an update on their website, Cameron Balloons have issued SB25-3 and SB26. It has probably not escaped your attention that Cameron Balloons Ltd have been having a rather Cossack Kick-about with Lindstrand T30 cylinders. Camerons have now equaled their existing record for amending a Service Bulletin (PRVs) and excelled themselves re-revising manuals various. The long and short is that these cylinders have now been put back in the manuals and supplements so are once again ‘approved’ by Camerons for use in their balloons and they now, it would appear, somewhat reluctantly support them again. To cover this they have issued SB25-3 which supercedes SB25-1 and SB25-2. Unfortunately they have issued SB26 which we hope contains a typo.

Service Bulletin 25-3 now ‘Highly Recommends’ that the numbered cylinders listed are removed from service. That’s fine. We have no evidence that any of them are in service in this country or in G-reg balloons. No supporting Airworthiness Directive has been issued as yet. We would not recommend that any of our inspectors release them to service in the unlikely event that they come across them.

The all new shiny, and frankly deeply disappointing, SB26 ‘Highly Recommends’ that T30 cylinders in service are X-rayed. This is not what was agreed between the BBAC and Camerons. Following some very harsh testing, where a T30 cylinder with known faulty welding failed to give in at the agreed 9-12,000 cyclic pressure testing, which would be deemed a pass, it was then, without consultation, taken to over 30,000 cycles yet still had a grin on its chops and was quite capable of singing the Song of the Volga Boatmen and doing a few Cossack Kicks. It seems Dave Boxall, Camerons main technical bod, was intent on destroying one but failed. X-rays were taken on one in service as part of the assessment and these were found to be fine. Historically the original Lindstrand cylinders were X-rayed before being certified and released to service as were the uncertified ones which were later, very kindly, adopted by Lindstrand Balloons. As a result it is our opinion that further X-raying is not necessary nor should the cylinders be removed from service if X-raying is not carried out. Please, once again, note that ‘Highly Recommended’ is not ‘Mandatory’. It will only become Mandatory if an EASA Airworthiness Directive is issued. Our advice is not to implement SB26.

In the Manual and Supplement departments, as far as inspecting them goes, the only change to the annual inspection is the removal of the top and bottom rings if damage or corrosion is suspected. At the periodic inspection (10 year) the top and bottom rings must be removed. They are pretty tricky things to get on and off but Cameron Balloons has said that new ‘improved’ fittings will be made available. It would be a good idea to use them! This isn’t a job you want to do in the field.

In Summary;
SB25-3 ‘Highly Recommends’ the withdrawal from use of 10 listed T30 cylinders. This should be followed.
SB26 ‘Highly Recommends’ X-raying T30 cylinders. We see no reason to implement this. We consider this unnecessary and, at worst, it should only have been issued at ‘Recommended’ level.

Inspection of the T30 cylinders is covered in the CBL MM 10-4 at 6.6.7.5.
Periodic Inspection of T30s is in CBL Supplement 10-7.52.
CBL Flight Manual Supplement 8.6 covers LBL bottom ends with Cameron envelopes but does not have the T30s in it. Don’t panic, these are now in 8.52 issued on 02/11/2017.

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