News on the News
Well I have to firstly apologise for the momentary lapse in concentration which has resulted in no news since the end of June! Of course this doesn’t mean that nothing happened but all the carefully recorded stories and the like seem to be wildly now out of date! We did actually stick up as couple of news updates, the last concerning Lindstrand titanium cylinders on 10/11/17 now updated and below. What then happened? Following the release of the film Dunkirk, Jane’s dad took up most of the year mainly being a Dunkirk Veteran and being feted here, there and everywhere. Aside from that, very briefly, and leaving a lot out, the One Man meet went to a new venue, The Mill House Hotel, Kingham, Oxon, and was deemed highly lovely, The Airlander floating bottom burst its braces, Metz came and went the general concensus being that it was a bit disappointing however great excitement was generated by some interesting flying with an approaching thunder storm. Sackville was postponed but a few hardy souls turned up anyway. The Capital Balloon Club is no more, the residual funds being spent on a jolly fine beano. We decided not to go to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airworthiness Directives (AD) Workshop that was held on 28 November 2017 in Cologne. Can’t remember what we did instead. Andy Rawson and Malcy the Bear Campbell retired and are now working through roundtoit domestic lists. The Cross London flight took off from London Docklands Airport and headed east meanwhile a lot further east Gavin Chadwick married a local Myanmar girl. Lindstrand Technologies built their first special shape…a big Penguin. I’m sure there was a lot more news than that but it’s a timely reminder to me that I need to get back to a far more regular posting of stuff various. It therefore follows that the news is mainly just the technical stuff that has appeared on our desk but I'm sure there will be little snippets here and there of stuff various not about balloons! Now about HS2…
HS2. Another two years?
We are jolly pleased and relieved, through Savills, to have negotiated another two years at Hartley Farm. There is still a six month break clause but hopefully we are secure until November 2019. What happens then is anybody’s guess but as they have only recently completed a few more bore-holes and they are still counting bats and climbing trees we are reasonably confident all should be well for a while yet. Please note that if you are visiting the gate may well be shut. Please leave it as you find it. Shut is the norm.
Fire & First Aid Course in Bristol 22nd January 2018
Justin Lane at Bristol Safety Ltd has a Fire & First Aid Course penciled in for Monday 22nd January 2018. This going ahead and there are spaces left. The venue will the place where they had before, The Batch Community Centre, Park Road, Warmley, Bristol BS30 8EB and it will cost £99.00. Details from Justin Lane CertEd GIFireE., Training Co-ordinator, Bristol Safety Ltd. Tel +44 (0)7709 460992 or email email@example.com. Website at www.bristolsafety.co.uk.
A very proper send off for Ray Hunt
Every so often you end up at a funeral that truly reflects the mood of not only the person but their friends as well. So it was that following the sad news of Ray Hunt’s passing an awful lot of people gathered well up north to attend his funeral and after at the Hurt Arms at Ambergate to raise a glass or three. Colin Wolstenholme broke with convention and after assembling gin, tonic, ice and lemon alongside the coffin removed his red cap and made himself a G&T to salute him before giving a very jovial eulogy in his honour, somewhat précised, below. Thanks Colin.
Ray Hunt 10.5.1950 to 12.10.2017
Not many of us knew Ray’s full name was Gladwyn Raymond Hunt - but we do know that he was a great friend to us, lived his life to the full, and had mischievous smiling eyes. My first recollection of Ray is a mid-air encounter during a competition flight over Rugby. Our friendship blossomed at numerous events in the UK and abroad and I soon found that Ray was usually surrounded by warm and hospitable friends, which I was privileged to be drawn into. He grew up on a Derbyshire farm, and progressed through various boyhood incidents into an engineering profession and worked all over the world commissioning and troubleshooting mining equipment, before setting up his own business in steelwork. Before ballooning became his passion, Ray was an enthusiastic parachutist and enjoyed the challenges it presented, turning to ballooning after injuring a knee – that had previously been damaged in a car incident. I shared the sky with him at various events and championships over mountains and lakes in the UK and further afield. Never one to shirk a challenge, he flew hard and safely, enjoying the full range of opportunities that came his way, including representing the UK at the World Championships in Japan (winning a task), Channel crossing, Alpine flying and local fun flying with his ballooning cohorts.
Ray really enjoyed his ballooning – especially the socialising afterwards. His no-nonsense approach to life, his wicked sense of humour, his smiling eyes and distinctive Derbyshire twang leaves all who knew him with unforgettable memories.
As you would expect, this big man fought a determined fight against his illness. He leaves his wife Vanessa, and whole host of ballooning friends in the East Midlands and around the world. - Colin Wolstenholme
More sad news on the Doorstep - Norman Apsey
It was great sadness that we heard that Norman Apsey passed away peacefully in his sleep around eight pm on the evening of the 20th December*. His smashing missus, Audrey Apsey, said that at the age of 85 he had suffered a further stroke and contracted pneumonia shortly afterward, so it was a relief for him in many ways. Our deepest sympathies go out to Audrey his Family and friends. He often popped into the workshop, often on his way back from work, and was always ready for a fag, a tipple and plenty of good humoured Micky-taking (No, don’t bother getting up Norman. Oh, sorry you already have!) whilst keeping us entertained with one of any number of ‘there was this tree’ stories which, in Norman’s case, there usually was.
A regular visitor to him at the nursing home, Geoff Lescott circulated the sad news, ‘Hard to write this as it was only a day after we paid him our last visit. So many of us have reaped the benefit of Norman's skills, engineering knowledge, leadership and instructional abilities over many years. His friendship has touched us all at various times and his chairmanship of several BBAC affiliated Clubs, including our own Black Horse, not to mention Chairmanship of the BBAC itself will indicate how much he put into our sport’. The funeral will be held at 1345 on Monday 15th January 2018 at The Chilterns Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham HP7 0ND (just off the Wycombe Road) and afterwards at Missenden Abbey, London Road, Great Missenden HP16 0BD. *Always one to make light of a difficult situation, as an ex RN officer he would probably have rendered this as at, Eight Bells of the Second Dog Watch....RIP, Norman’. - Geoff Lescott.
The newspaper cutting comes courtesy of Peter Dowlen, who, along with Norman in his trade-mark hat, ran the 1st All Fools Meet at the Black Horse back in April 1983. Shortly after the piccie was taken the skies cleared and flying commenced.
What’s your Vector, Victor? - Conversion to 8.33 kHz Channel Spacing
The UK remains committed to the implementation of EU Commission Implementing Regulation (IR), (EU) No.1079/2012, published on 12 November 2012, set requirements for the transition to 8.33 kHz channel spacing for VHF aeronautical communications in the EU. The UK applied for exemptions from the need to comply with the 8.33 requirements for certain 25 kHz frequencies, including the UK Ballooning Frequency 122.475 MHz. This has been granted, but only until 31 December 2018. So, what does this mean for UK balloonists who either choose to or need to use an Aircraft Radio Station in a UK registered aircraft? Those pilots and crews who already operate 8.33 compliant handheld radios should continue to operate them and, for the foreseeable future, keep both bands selected. Those pilots and crews who have yet to transition from 25 kHz may now continue to use these radios beyond 1 January 2018 on the UK Ballooning Frequency, but only until 31 December 2018. All aircraft are now required to have 8.33 kHz ‘capable’ radios by 31 December 2018. Air Traffic Service Units (ATSU) across the UK will be converting to 8.33 kHz channel spacing at different dates throughout 2018 and beyond. If an ATSU is still using a 25 kHz frequency then you can still communicate with it using a 25 kHz radio (until 31 December 2018). Once the ATSU has converted, you must use an 8.33 kHz capable radio to communicate with it, and only on the appropriate 8.33 channel.
Clearly, in order to comply with this, detailed flight planning for any balloon flight will need to be undertaken. Therefore, the CAA continues to strongly recommend that radio owners transition to 8.33 compliant equipment as a priority. Remember that all 25 kHz frequencies will be referred to by ATC as “frequencies”, whereas all 8.33 kHz channels will be referred to by ATC as “channels”. This is because every 8.33 channel is not the exact frequency that will be selected on the radio itself. As an example, selecting 122.475 on a combined 8.33 / 25 kHz radio will actually select frequency 122.475 MHz from the 25 kHz band. However, selecting 122.480 will actually select frequency 122.475 MHz from the 8.33 kHz band, but this will be known as “channel 122.480”. Clear as I reckon!
In summary, you can only continue to fly with just a 25 kHz radio if throughout your entire flight you only need to communicate on 25 kHz frequencies. Finally, remember that any VHF aeronautical radio (25 kHz or 8.33 kHz) used for flight use or for a ground station (balloon retrieve use) requires the owner to hold a Radio Licence for each radio unit. This is administered by the CAA Radio Licensing Unit on behalf of Offcom, with the current fee for a transportable radio used for air use being £15 for a 3-year licence.In addition, to operate any Aircraft Radio Station in a UK registered aircraft the operator (pilot / student pilot) will also need to hold a Flight Radio-telephony Operator's Licence [FRTOL] (other than purely for certain fixed frequencies, including 122.475 MHz. After 1 January 2019, the use of any 25 kHz only radio will be very restricted, principally to only the emergency frequency of 121.5 MHz. For more details have a crack at CAP 1606; http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201606%20833%20Limited%20Time%20Exemptions_NO V17.pdf or check the CAA website; http://www.caa.co.uk/General-aviation/Aircraft-ownership-and- maintenance/8-33-kHz-radios/
The Great British Long Jump Results published
If you didn’t enter you should have done. October was a cracking month for Long Jumping with a winning distance exceeding last years’ amazing 260 miles. Organiser Robin Batchelor told us that just five teams entered the Long Jump this year, seven last year, six in 2015 and seven in 2014. The 2013 Queen’s Cup attracted 13 teams and was deemed a great success. Looking back at the numbers of entrants in the past, 20 and more, he does wonder how to encourage more pilots to enjoy the challenge of planning a long flight during October. Out with the calculator and the five teams flew a combined distance of 634 miles taking a combined time of 25 hours 35 minutes on four different October days. 1,650 litres of propane were consumed. Robin hopes other pilots will be inspired by Alex Court’s story of building his own balloon at Sackville in just 25 days after Tim Wilkinson persuaded him to build a 90 rather than a tiny 14,000 cu ft hopper. It passed its inspection and they flew a five hour Long Jump. Next year he will surely beat this year’s 25 mile distance?
Last year was Adrian Brown’s first Long Jump and he flew 99 miles in 4 hours 2 minutes. This year he flew 101 miles in 4 hours 40 minutes so we confidently predict he will fly 103 miles in about 5 hours next year! We enjoyed his well-illustrated report last year featuring Helen’s delicious muffins and this year is no different except his maximum height was all the way up there at 10,000 feet! Thomas Lee and David Medcalf went that much higher to 11,000 ft and flew 103 miles in 5 hours 40 minutes. Their report details how they obeyed air space restrictions without which they would have flown much further. They end by announcing next year’s ambitious plans… bigger balloon, more fuel, better organised, etc etc. There’s something about gas balloonists and Will Wood celebrated his 141 mile Long Jump flight by posting a very entertaining video on the internet showing him discharging ballast from his hot air balloon (mostly half eaten paninis). He did this for 3 hours 56 minutes and found speeds of 44 knots but the best bit is driving miles on his own to the launch site, inflating with just the camp site owner to help (no crown line) and then going all the way back there next day to collect the empty van. Proper youthful enthusiasm! Mike Scholes enquired if Debbie’s flight of 264 miles was the furthest flown by a woman in the Long Jump? Robin’s decisive answer was ‘YES’. They flew together for 6 hours 19 minutes, saw the altimeter read 12,466 feet and briefly enjoyed 42 mph. Debbie confesses she wanted to beat Dave Bareford’s winning distance of 260 miles last year. She succeeded. She had already made a flight of 103 miles earlier in the month, and then had a scheduled back operation which put her out of action for two weeks. The smile on her face is evident as she wrote the last line of her report… “ Long distance flights are brilliant, the furthest we’d flown in a balloon and the fastest!” Huge congratulations then to these plucky pilots who consistently demonstrate admirable determination against all odds. They will polish the splendid silver trophy with pride and during the next 12 months be talking about 300 miles…. Now is the time to start planning for the 2018 Great British Long Jump so come on lets have a dozen teams competing. If you are having doubts check out the reports. Its really is the taking part not the winning.
You can read the reports here at http://www.thelongjump.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/longjumpreports2017.pdf
Here is Will Wood’s hilarious video of his Long Jump https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsbQ00O1rSk
GASCO Safety Evenings 2018
The informative and well attended GASCO Safety Evenings are running again in 2018 under the title Aware Today, Alive Tomorrow . The talks will cover, maintaining situational awareness, the use of threat and error management to prevent loss of control accidents, mid-air collisions and airspace infringements. The presentations will be made by GASCO Regional Safety Officers in a ‘non-preaching’ manner accompanied by the usual thought provoking facts and figures interspersed with relevant video clips. In addition to the traditional pack of information will be, amongst other things, a printed copy of The Sky Way Code.
For details of dates and locations check out http://www.gasco.org.uk/safety-evenings.aspx
Kidde Hand-Held Fire Extinguisher recall
The FAA has issued a Special Awareness Information Bulletin (SAIB CE-18-05) concerning the recall of various types of Kidde hand-held Fire Extinguishers
advising of concerns with certain Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles, which may become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. Following a death the manufacturer has issued a recall notice that involves 134 models of fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017 which notes that there have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachments. Fire extinguishers usually have a life expired stamped or printed on the body and generally ten years is the accepted life. Problem is that the printing is often so badly worn to be unreadable. If you can’t be sure of the date or model or you have one of the listed extinguishers then bin it.
The complete list of affected Kidde fire extinguisher models can be found at
The FAA document is at
Bless him - Birdman tethers inside Liverpool Cathedral
Whatever next? There cannot be many balloons that have, never mind been inflated, but actually tethered inside a cathedral but Robin Batchelor only went and did just that in the proper Liverpool Cathedral. The inflation of Hamish Ogden’s balloon ‘Deemster’, which celebrates his collection of Deemster cars produced by the Ogston Motor Company between 1912 and 1924, was part of a large celebration to mark the donation of £384,000 from Hamish Ogston CBE, a leading British entrepreneur and philanthropist to sort the organ out. Following a practise, run the service, on November 15, 2017 featured specially commissioned music including a trumpet fanfare written by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning composer George Fenton and the inflation of the balloon inside the Cathedral’s 174ft (53m) high Main Space.
The money donated by Hamish Ogston will complete the cathedral organ's restoration, which was built during the interwar period by Henry Willis & Sons, the renowned British firm of pipe organ builders founded in 1845. Professor Dr Ian Tracey, DL., Mus. Doc., Organist Titulaire, Liverpool Cathedral, said, “The Grand Organ of Liverpool Cathedral is internationally renowned as one of the greatest church organs in the world. When it was built in 1926, it was the largest musical instrument ever conceived, and is still the largest organ in the UK today. With its 8 manual divisions and pedals, 200 drawstops, and its staggering total of 10,268 pipes it is one of the wonders of the musical world. Having been in continuous service for over 90 years, a major Appeal was launched in 2009 to which Hamish Ogston has been our most generous benefactor. Hearty thanks for that great munificence were given at a special service of Evensong, on Wednesday 15th November, as fanfares of trumpets, full-voiced organ & choir performed the anthem specially commissioned by him, ' God is Gone up', as his hot air balloon filled the Main Space and rose heavenward.”
Opening the service, the specially commissioned trumpet fanfare was written by George Fenton, the composer known for writing film scores and music for television such as the BBC series ‘Blue Planet’ and ‘Planet Earth’. The ‘God is Gone up’ anthem has been written by Richard Shepherd, the former Director of Development and Chamberlain of York Minster and an acclaimed composer of church music, to herald the uplifting of the balloon during the service. Hamish Ogston, a former chorister and music exhibitioner, said, “I am delighted to be involved in this truly community-based project to save Liverpool Cathedral’s culturally significant pipe organ. The restoration and preservation of this magnificent instrument and its history will ensure that the rich musical traditions of Liverpool Cathedral will continue to thrive for many years to come. I also hope the entertaining service with the hot air balloon helps to inspire other places of worship around the world to think about how they can use their majestic, but under-utilised, spaces to raise substantial income each year and attract the next generation of visitors.” A fuller version to follow, we hope.
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 SB26-2. 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 manualsback and forth, 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 now at revision 2 which which will be here to stay.
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 so it is NOT Mandatory, however 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, already at SB26-2 ten minutes after being issued, ‘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 of its own. 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 all 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 that there is no need to implement SB26-2.
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.
SB25-3 ‘Highly Recommends’ the withdrawal from use of 10 listed T30 cylinders. We advise that this should be followed.
SB26-2 ‘Highly Recommends’ X-raying T30 cylinders. We see no reason to implement this. We consider this unnecessary and if Camerons had chosen to issue another SB then it should have only bee issued at ‘Recommended’ level. We advise that there is no need.
Inspection of the T30 cylinders is covered in the CBL MM 10-4 at 126.96.36.199.
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.
The Lindstrand Balloons Ltd Flight Manual has now gone to Amendment 46 as part of SB25 putting the LBL T30s back in so basically apart from the SBs hanging over them they are more or less back in all the manuals and supplements controlled by Cameron Balloons Limited. No other manufacturers issued or appear to have acted on the Cameron Service bulletins and their manuals remain unchanged in respect to LBL T30 cylinders.
SB25-3 is at http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/uploads/Approved%20Modifications/Support%20Files/Service%20Bulletins%20-%20All%20Types/SB25-Issue_3-Signed.pdf
SB26-2 is at http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/uploads/Approved%20Modifications/Support%20Files/Flight%20and%20Maintenance%20Manuals/English/SB26-Issue2_web.pdf
Cameron TCDSs updated
Cameron Balloons have now added the O-26 to their range of balloon envelopes, this has resulted in changes to the EASA.BA.013 TCDS to Issue17 and the Cameron Flight Manual was amended to issue 15 on 07 July 2017. As well as adding the O-26 they took the opportunity to make a few minor amendments to the permitted damage, equipment description and personnel handling sections. “What?” I hear you mutter, “Personnel Handling?” Well if you have a troll through you will find that it includes additions to crew briefings, passenger briefings and a new section on passenger fitness to fly (I suppose this includes the pilot’s health?). The addition to inflation fan briefing now requires crew to “remove or secure any loose clothing, long hair or other items that could be drawn into the fan”. The addition to passenger briefing states “long hair should be secured before landing and scarves, neck straps, or other long neck wear should be removed before landing”. The new section on Passenger Fitness to Fly describes the pilot's responsibilities and gives information on flying children and people with infirmities or disabilities. All pretty sensible 'cover your wotsits' stuff and best heeded. The complete new manual is on the web or if you are updating an existing manual then updated pages are available as a separate file. They also updated their Special Shape TCDS to BA.012 Issue 33 with the addition of a ‘Heart 100’ envelope on 04 December 2017.
Safety Information Bulletin 2017/13 Issued – Suspected Unapproved Parts
Better known as SUPS on 27 August 2017 EASA issued Safety Information Bulletin 2017/13 Issued – Suspected Unapproved Parts which is all about exactly what it says on the tin, unlike the parts that may be involved. The term SUP refers to refers to product(s), part(s) or appliance(s), and components whose origin and or supporting paperwork may be suspicious. If you think it doesn’t affect balloons then you would be wrong. There have been incidents where unaccounted and untraceable parts have been presented for fitment and where attempts have been made to acquire Form 1 certificates. This SIB covers the subject simply and thoroughly.
One of the of the Occurrences which are subject to reporting is SUP. Reported SUP cases cannot always be resolved by the Agency and the National Aviation Authorities, mainly due to the lack of required information. Examples are when a SUP with an allegedly forged EASA Form 1 comes from a non-EU maintenance organisation, supplier or distributor and it is difficult to obtain feedback from the local aviation safety authority, the origin of the SUP is impossible to determine, an allegedly forged EASA Form 1 has been sent to a potential buyer of a part (not in the supply chain yet) for pre-assessment, indicating that a SUP case might exist for the part concerned or a part was unlawfully removed from a maintenance facility or aircraft and it can be expected that it will appear on the market with forged documentation or untraceable history.
This SIB aims to raise awareness among European aviation industry of SUPs that they may encounter. To this end, the Agency has published a list of unresolved SUP cases on the EASA website. This list is being maintained and updated based on information available, including responses received from the European aviation industry. It is expected that the webpage will be updated every three months. This is information only. Recommendations are not mandatory. Initially, the website list will contain new SUP cases from 24 August 2017. EASA SIBs and foreign notifications on SUPs, already published in the Safety Publications Tool, will remain there until further notice. The intent is to centralise information on SUP in a single location in the future. This SIB will be revised to inform on new developments.
EASA make a number of recommendations when dealing with suspect parts or paperwork. When in doubt about the origin of a part then maintenance organisations, aircraft owners, operators, independent certifying staff, manufacturers, and parts suppliers are invited to consult, in addition to the content of the Safety Publications Tool, the information reflected in this SIB and in the SUP list (see link below) before accepting such a part into their organisations or before fitting it, or presenting it, to be fitted to an aircraft. If any part listed in the SUP list is found in stock, it is recommended that the part is quarantined to prevent installation until a determination can be made regarding its eligibility for installation.
For information on confirmed unapproved parts, SUP under investigation, and stolen parts (from 24 August 2017) go to https://www.easa.europa.eu/easa-‐and-‐you/aircraft-‐products/suspected-‐unapproved-‐parts
For further information on the technical content of this SIB and the SUP list, contact the EASA Safety Investigation and Reporting Section, Safety Management Directorate by email at IORS@easa.europa.eu
Ultramagic Service Bulletins SB 01/07 and SB 02/17
The latest batch of Flight Manual Supplement updates from Ultramagic also included two Service Bulletins. SB01/17 and SB02/17, both issued on 19 September 2017.
SB01/07, now at issue 2, concerns Vincke liquid fuel hoses in both three eighth (marked 1106 on the hose) and half inch (marked 1108 on the hose) diameter hoses manufactured between March 2014 and April 2016. Small leaks close to the crimped ends have been found. The date of manufacture can be found stamped on the hose fitting itself. The SB is categorised as Mandatory however until, or if, an Airworthiness Directive is issued it is actually Highly Recommended. Replacement of affected hoses must be made before 18 December 2017. There is a exemption to immediate replacement which requires the pilot to check for leaks using soapy water or leak detector fluid as part of the pre-flight check prior to flight and enter the details in the logbook accordingly. We would advise that if you have the affected hoses fitted then you get them changed tout en-suite! In addition to the hoses you will also need to order new Dowty seals. We have had no notice from Ultramagic concerning traceability through Form 1s so visual inspection is the only way to be sure. Please note that vapour hoses are not affected this only applies to liquid hoses. At the moment Ultramagic are supplying replacement hoses free of charge. Any problems please contact your inspector or give us a call.
The second, SB02/17 concerns the Tekno baskets fitted with optional external cylinder fittings. This is more of a caution re-enforcing the issue of Flight Manual Supplement 39 issue 10. Basically they are saying that if external cylinder fittings are fitted then they must be used. If they are not to be used and the cylinders carried internally then they must be removed prior to flight. This affects Tekno baskets CT-01, CT-02 and CT-03. This too is classed by Ultramagic as Mandatory but the same rules apply and it is really Highly Recommended. This is presumably to prevent damage to the bottom brackets going un-noticed if the cylinders are not fitted and the risk to crew from getting snagged on the brackets or clips fitted to the outside of the basket, but as Ultramagic are not specific about the reasons then we may be way off mark! For inspection purposes, if external fittings are used they must be present at the time of inspection.
As far as the other Flight Manual Supplement updates are concerned Supplement 39 Issue 10 (39/10), in addition to the requirements not to have unused external fittings, also adds the Mk32 double to baskets CT-02 and CT-03. An all new Supplement 54 issue 1 dedicated to external fuel cylinders has been added. This covers baskets CT-0 to CT-03. Apart from the use of external cylinders it states that only Ultramagic M20, M20D, M30 and M30D cylinders can be used. This somewhat contradicts 39/10 which mentions Worthingtons. We will seek clarity Clarence! It also reminds users that the maximum basket load must not exceed that engraved on the basket plate or 650kg.
For those across the pond notice is also made that the US Ultramagic Flight Manual has now gone to Issue 8 (FAA) and their Supplement 39 has gone to Issue 5.
And…more news on the TCDS front
Ultramagic TCDS for special shapes, EASA BA.517, went from issue 07 to issue 08 on 09/06/2017. The event was marked by a large cake in the shape of castanets being baked and paraded through Iguala. Meanwhile, in jolly Francais, Nouvelle Manufacture d’Aerostats has popped out the MA-Type with TCDS BA.119 Issue 01 issued on 30/06/2017. I wonder if they had a stand with a flag flying at Metz.
And………more updates from Camerons
Some rather nice changes (for a change) to the Cameron Flight Manual Supplements have occurred and are now up and running. Supplement 8.5 “Raven-Aerostar Bottom Ends”, 8.6 “Lindstrand Bottom Ends”, 8.7 “Ultramagic Bottom Ends”, 8.8 “Schroeder Bottom Ends” and 8.33 “Sky Bottom Ends” have been updated so that they now include Lindstrand envelopes. (The Cameron issue 10 flight manual amendment 14 or later may now be used with Lindstrand Balloons if Supplement 8.46 is used). Rather wonderfully Supplement 8.32 “Out Of Production Hoppers” has been amended to correct a historic anomaly where the Skyhopper and Colt Cloudhopper were in basket category A1, but all other hoppers were in basket category A. This unnecessarily restricted the range of envelopes these bottom ends could be used with. Now you can fill your boots. Cameron Flight Manual supplement 8.46 “Lindstrand Envelopes” has gone to to Issue 3 updating the Lindstrand envelopes supplement to expand and to correct an error in the tables 2 and 3, Weight Calculations. It also now includes the Lindstrand permitted damage limitations and 188.8.131.52 adds Superchute / Q Vent limitations and normal procedures. Any questions then drop Dave Boxall, Chief Engineer Cameron Balloons Ltd a line firstname.lastname@example.org or check the website at
Met Office Ballooning Forecasts feedback requested
Don’t know if you’ve used the new improved Met Office ballooning forecasts but they are pretty good. To make them even better the CAA and the Met Office are seeking feedback and comments on the Ballooning Forecasts. The forecasts form part of the free range of weather forecasts designed for private pilots. Recent changes and improvements to the balloon forecasts include the spot winds ballooning forecast being issued four times every 24 hours (reduces to three times over the winter period). Currently being trialed for individual location forecasts, is an update 4 times a day (at present this is updated twice a day). This will offer detailed forecasts 24 hours ahead of any flying slot, then updated at 6 hour intervals. Your views, suggestions and comments submitted on the online questionnaire will be included in the agenda for the annual meeting, usually in February or March, between the CAA, Met Office, BBAC, BABO and balloon industry representatives (Clive Bailey, Richard Allen and Jon Rudoni). To make suggestions or comments go to https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/forms/balloon-questionnaire. More details of the Briefing Services can be found at https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/ga-briefing-services
The Capital Balloon Club Lindstrand G-BUWI sold off
Declining numbers and a distinct lack of demand meant that it was inevitable that the Capital Balloon Club was destined to close. This also meant that the remaining club balloon also had to go. Long gone are the times when there was a fight to book one of the two balloons. The old ’90, G-BTRO, died a death several years ago leaving the Lindstrand ‘77 to hold the fort. With the lack of interest in learning to fly and no takers the remaining members of the Capital Balloon Club took the bold decision to cut their losses and sell. Within minutes of the advert going live there were a number of interested people wishing to buy. So it was that the trusty old balloon complete with trailer, cylinders, proper C3 burner and T&C basket found a new home with young Gavin Chadwick’s pal Ollie who is now training for his licence. The Capital Balloon Club is now no more so in future there will only be the London Region which is also suffering from a diminishing membership. The end of an era. As an aside, if I recall correctly, we replaced the faded red panels with spare Caramel Bunny fabric. Well there’s a thing.
CAP 747 gets an update to Issue3 Amendment 2017/01
CAP 747 is that esteemed read covering Mandatory Requirements for Airworthiness,
and providing a single source of mandatory information for continuing airworthiness as issued by the CAA. Now even better with the news that Airworthiness Directives for Annex II aircraft, formally published in CAP 476, are now included. Airworthiness Directives issued by EASA are available on the EASA website. CAP 747 is now at Issue 3, amendment 2017/01. This all happened on 21st July 2017. Back in 2011 on 21st July Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida marking the last flight of NASA's space shuttle programme. I think if you purchased a Space Shuttle it would be Annex II and end up in CAP747. Brilliant.
CAP 1590 Cost Sharing Flights explained - Guidance and Information
There has been a lot of discussion, misinformation and misunderstanding about how much others can contribute to private flights without the flight becoming a paid-for passenger ride. The CAA, in their wisdom have issued CAP1590 making everything Crystal Tips and Alistair.This is worth a look as it sets out the actual terms and conditions that defines a cost sharing flight and what you can and cannot charge for. Of course all this will change when the new now further delayed EASA legislation comes in in 20-something or other. CAP1590 can be found at
Pilatus PC-24 about to enter service
Now you would have thought that with its reputation as the nation of the very rich the Swiss would have developed a business jet years ago but no. With the sad news that the legendary Pilatus Porter will cease production in 2019 its nice to hear that the aircraft manufacturer is now well on the way to entering the business jet marked with the type certification of the PC-24 by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US-American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and has 84 customers already on its books. Certification of the Pilatus PC-24, tagged as the Super Versatile Jet (bet that will be the SVJ!), prepares the ground for initial customer deliveries less than three years after the first prototype completed its maiden flight in May 2015. The three prototypes used in the certification programme have flown a total of 2,205 hours worldwide so far, with some flight tests conducted in extreme environments and at altitudes and speeds not usually encountered in everyday operations. Other tests have included bird impacts, structural stress tests, noise tests and general function. It is just as impressive performance-wise as the Porter. Certified for single-pilot operation it offers both hard and rough field, including grass, operation with a maximum take-off distance of 2810 feet, a maximum speed of 440 knots, an impressive ceiling of 45,000 feet and range of 2,035 nautical miles. With a payload of 2,522 pounds it is configured to carry a maximum of pilot plus 11 or just lots of posh expensive stuff! If you have to get Medi-vaced in anything go for one of these!
The Pilatus Porter has been produced uninterrupted since 1959 making it one of the longest running production types in the world. Famed for its tough rugged and reliable performance it has come a long way, or should that be ‘gone’ a long way, since then and many of the 500 or so aircraft built are still in service operating in some of the remotest places on the planet. Just remains to be seen whether the Swiss can get Trump to let them flog the SVJ in the States but luckily the Porter was built there under licence! Piccie courtesy of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.
EASA Ballooning Air Operations Regulations finalised
In early July Paul Spellward, Vice Chairman of the British Balloon and Airship club, reported that the EASA regulations for Air Operations, which forms part of the ‘EASA Road Map’, calling for simpler and more proportionate regulations for the General Aviation sector, had been finalised and should become law in late 2017, or early 2018, or sometime soon and possibly coming into force in April 2019 along with a six month period to October 2019 during which time “national rules” will run in parallel allowing a ‘seamless’ transition. The new regulations have been developed and produced by a working group of ballooning experts, drawn from EASA, National Aviation Authorities (NAA), balloon manufacturers, balloon representative bodies and the European Balloon Federation (EBF) and followed by various consultations with the “ballooning community”. Goes without saying that a number of changes then came from the legal experts of the European Commission. Paul explained that, ‘It is clear that this successful conclusion has only been possible due to the ballooning community coming together to create EBF and from very close cooperation with the key NAAs. Balloonists need to understand that without this initiative for balloon-specific and proportionate regulation, ballooning would have ended up under a much heavier legal framework, largely derived from the fixed wing world. The BBAC will issue guidance on the preparations for, and transition to, the EASA Air Operations once the law is published (i.e. probably in early 2018). Balloon Air Operations encompasses all operations of balloons, including private ballooning. In due course, all balloon pilots and operators will need to become familiar with, and comply with, the new regulation. There will be a need for current AOC holders to transition to being Commercial Passenger Ballooning operators and this will require making significant changes, including the preparation and submission of a completely new Operations Manual. Commercial balloon (aerial work) operators will have a new requirement for a “Declaration” and Operations Manual. EASA, assisted by the ballooning expert group, will publish both guidance material and acceptable means of compliance, which will be of assistance to pilots and operators in preparing for the transition from national rules to EASA rules. Non-EASA (“annex II”) balloons will continue under the UK ANO.’
The main changes will be that Commercial Passenger Ballooning and some ‘Aerial Work’ operations will operate under a ‘Declaration’ system and Operations Manual. The immediate benefits of EASA standardisation should make it easier for UK Rides Operators to operate in other EASA countries. For sponsored balloons and general aerial advertising there will be no changes, something that was hard fought for. ‘Special Operations’ will include parachutist dropping, competitions and ‘Air Displays’ will need a ‘mini Operations Manual’. Cost sharing private flights will be limited to four on board but can include an appropriate proportion of specified annual costs such as insurance, storage and maintenance.
Self declared medicals - Clarification Clarence
The CAA has issued an exemption from the Requirement to Inform an Aero Medical Examiner of Illness or Injury. Put in the official spat, The Civil Aviation Authority, in exercise of its powers under Article 266 of the Air Navigation Order 2016 (‘the Order’), hereby exempts any person who has made a declaration of medical fitness in accordance with Article 163 of the Order, from the requirements at Articles 166 (2) and (3) of the Order. This exemption supersedes Official Record Series 4 No. 1193 which is revoked. This exemption has effect from the date it is signed until 30 September 2018, both dates inclusive, unless previously revoked. What it means is that during the drafting of the Air Navigation Order 2016 the requirement for holders of medical certificates to inform an Aero Medical Examiner (AME) of unfitness to fly (in the circumstances set out in Article 166) was additionally applied to those flying in accordance with a medical declaration (self declared) under Article 163. That is not what was intented. This exemption alleviates from that requirement. Therefore, in accordance with Article 163(4)(b), a person who has made a declaration under Article 163(3) must however withdraw their declaration and cease flying if they no longer reasonably believe that they meet the medical requirements for a Group 1 Licence issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, or become subject to a disqualifying medical condition as set out by the CAA. If they wish to resume flying they could apply for a Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence medical certificate from an AME.
In simple terms. If you fly on a self-declared medical certificate and you don’t, or no longer, meet the requirements then it is your responsibility to stop flying until you are fit again. There is no requirement to inform an AME however, you can use their services if you wish. If you fly with a disqualifying medical condition then you will invalidate your licence. The exemption can be found at http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/1243.pdf
New Skyway Code - CAA online guide launched
The CAA have launched the all New Skyway Code has been launched to give General Aviation pilots a one-stop shop for safety rules and advice.
Published online, the new guide is aimed at private flying rules, regulations and best practice. The Skyway Code is designed to provide private pilots with quick and easy access to key information and condenses 'must know' information on UK GA flying into an easy to navigate PDF. Lost me there for a moment. The guide includes illustrations throughout and as well as covering regulations, includes examples of radio phraseology, tables to work out crosswind components and ground marshalling signals. We’ve had a gander and although primarily aimed at flying machines with wings or spinny bits there is a lot of stuff there. Well worth a look. It will be updated annually to include key updates, and amendments will be available at www.caa.co.uk/skywaycode. Comments and suggestions on the content of the guide are welcome and should be sent to email@example.com.
Inspection Schedules go west
With the updating of the Cameron Maintenance Manual to amendment 4 the Cameron Inspection Schedule now includes Sky and Lindstrand and accordingly, to close the circle, the updated Lindstrand and Sky Maintenance Manuals no longer have inspection schedules in them and refer the user to the current Cameron Maintenance Manual. As stated in the various TCDSs the current Maintenance Manual must be used.
Passport renewal made easy
Not much reported on but, apparently, all passport holders aged 16 or over can now use the latest and most convenient way to renew the document online. The service, which takes an average of 10 minutes to complete, had previously been available only to those over the age of 26. The move follows a Passport Office survey that found that more than the 300,000 16-25 year-olds renewing passports every year, 63% would prefer to use the online method. A spokesman for the Passport Office said the expansion of the scheme meant they would all now be able to benefit from the service, which provides an easy, convenient and secure service to British nationals across the globe. In another digital development, the Passport Office has now introduced an option for applicants to upload photographs taken on their tablets or smartphones or at photo shops or booths. When a photograph taken in this way is uploaded, a special code is generated and is then used to start the online application. In a statement Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said’ “We are harnessing technology to transform our services. we want to ensure we have a modern and easy-to-use service for our millions of passport holders and applicants.”
Best year for mushrooms for a long time
One really good benefit of early morning flights or walking early in 2017 was the very good show of mushrooms. Now it is true to say that wild mushrooms are not everyones’ cup of tea (meaningless statement) but very few will do you much harm and fewer still will do you in, however care should always be taken. It is understandable that many that love mushrooms only like those from the supermarket shelf. Having said that we do also appreciate many inedible ones for their beauty and sheer tenacity. They are strange things. Many of our compatriots are avid mushroomers and exchanges of harvest are frequent. Advice and identity is also often sought from each other so here are few samples from this years’ crop.
One not to eat:
Found in, of all places, a small gathering of oak and birch saplings near a Gruffalo this is probably the best example of a Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria, or 'mascara' which is easier to remember) I have ever found. More often referred to as ‘toadstools’ and turning up in just about every traditional fairy story written or illustrated they are quite magnificent. Although they are of the family Amanita, which includes the very deadly, aptly named, ‘Death Cap’ (A.phalloides), they are not actually poisonous or fatal unless extreme amounts are eaten, they do however, produce some rather extraordinary side-effects if consumed. They are listed as a poisonous mushroom as they contain traces of Muscarine, which occurs in much higher concentrations in the more deadly mushrooms which will kill you. What they also contain are some pretty effective hallucinogens including muscinol which if eaten in the raw state affect people in very different ways, some alarming. They are prepared and eaten by some in a traditional sort of way to make them more predictable (both the people that eat them and the effects!). Reindeer are also big fans, and that is what gets them airborne at Christmas. Closer to home you have to about early to beat the local deer and muntjac who then spend the day mainly tripping out and gazing at the sky. Admire and leave alone.
One of the best edible mushrooms which is reasonably common and easy to identify is the Giant Parasol (Macrolepiota procera). There are a number of types of parasol and not all are edible but the true giant parasol is a beauty and probably one of the best tasting mushrooms about. To be sure they are what they are if they look like this and are over 6 inches (150cms) in diameter (they can be over a foot across) go for it. Leave smaller specimens and come back in a day or so when they will be much bigger! Just to be sure to be sure a giveaway is the stem, or rather ‘stipe’, which has a snakeskin appearance. These were found over a period of three weeks on Coombe Hill but will lurk as solitary examples or in troops or rings in grass in open woodland or around the edges of fields. The Shaggy Parasol is also a large parasol that we find in the coniferous woods around here but often turns up on muckheaps, compost heaps and in gardens. It as a smooth stipe and more ‘cracked scaly’ looking cap. It too is scrummy, possibly even more-so than the giant variety but, according to my new Black’s Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools can cause stomach upset to some so they must be cooked. I’ve suffered but by eating a lump raw and my palate is not that fussy!
Golden Rule to remember if you go foraging. If you aren’t sure leave it. If you pick one pick another complete with stipe and root bulb and keep it for reference just in case you get poorly! Two really good guides are The Mitchell Beazley pocket guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools by David Pegler, which is the one I tend to use most. The first copies up until 1992 are the best. The one I keep at home and isn’t quite as descriptive and but does have good photographic illustrations is Black’s Nature Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstool of Britain and Europe. Good to take abroad. Chemists, mainly rural ones, in most European countries will often have someone who can identify doubtful specimens for you free of charge. I don’t think this service exists in Boots! I feel a proper article coming on.
Happiness is a sunny day and a fine wobble
Great piccie sent in by Messrs Andy Austin and Martyn Turner as Martyn re-validated his licence when the trees were green and the fields dry. Seems a while away now but the weather this year did afford some lovely flights. That being the case why was it that the last check flight we did took place in gloomy skies over Lincolnshire with a landing in a well boggy field with the retrieve unfortunately bogged down in another very boggy field. All ended well though as the local pub had draught Hobgoblin so congrats to Simon Cripps. Other congrats go to Pas Ferando from Sri Lanka who did a cracking flight from Bicester Airfield and managed to drop me off to complete his solo in what one can only describe as ‘brisk’ conditions. Also hats off to Alan Still who after a break, involving emigrating to Australia, re-validated his license with a lovely flight from Quainton and celebrated with a fine full English in his local café. All in all a lovely year.
Talking of wobbling
Just to prove that Colin Wolstenholme doesn’t spend all his time mending his 1935 Riley Racing RME (sorry should have been MPH) he managed to get out and nearly win the Snetterton Vintage Sports Car Club Sprint event at Snetterton on 17th September 2017. “Only one step away old matey,” he quipped. Colin is one of the few racing drivers that gets his glass under the flowing champagne. “Its better than winning really. If you win you have to shake the bottle of fizz and spray it about. That takes two hands so nothing for you.” He explained. We reckon it’s a great philosophy. When you see the winners at balloon events standing there holding an un-opened bottle you do wonder sometimes. His second place victory was remarkable as he was laying fifth in the practise with a fastest lap time of 2.03.14 at an average 58.06mph. In the race proper, aptly named the 'Snetterton Mug Race', he started out seventh on the grid and charged through recording 59.08mph on lap 8 to finish in second place closely pipped by a chap in a replica Irish Riley wotsit. Well there you go, at least Wobbly raced the genuine thing.