Balloon Repair Station

News 04.03.18

Aidan Murphy
It is with a deep heart that we report the passing of our good friend Aidan Murphy. He passed away peacefully on Monday 26th February 2018 after a long illness. He made no secret of his long and hard fight with cancer and had, until recently, written of his struggle. That he flew at all is pretty astonishing but he was nothing if not determined and having lost the sight in one eye early on he managed to get a helicopter licence before going for his balloon licence. We were very lucky to have visited him with Leo Forde for his 50th birthday proper and again a couple of weeks ago. Despite his own troubles he was always exceedingly generous to a fault and contributed immensely to the well-being of others not least the Barretstown Children’s Charity for which he commissioned the Clown Balloon and purchased a disabled basket, so he could fly the severely handicapped and disabled, and generally just being a good sort, always willing and happy to offer encouragement and help. He even presented a cup to BBAC to be awarded in connection with Good Farmer Relations. Our deepest sympathies and love go out to his missus Alison and his lovely daughter Aoife and all his family and friends. We had some good old times, even a memorable trip to Taytoland. He will be greatly missed.

What!!! Cameron TCDS BA.013 goes to Issue 18?
Now the change of the Type certificate data Sheet doesn’t really ever throw up anything of serious interest unless it’s a top secret special shape but this time is different. Well not really as there seems little or no activity to support the announcement. This time round, on 7th February, BA.013, relating to Cameron Hot Air Balloons, went to Issue 18 in celebration of a new range from them called ‘Sport’. This range was advertised in the December Aerostat but does not appear on their website yet. In the TCDS these are described as vertically cut 16 gore jobbies with 16 flying wires and comprise 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90,000 cubic feet variants. Now the piccie in the advert shows a horizontally cut balloon? Additionally they have added a TR-65. Now the way the TR-type is described is amusing in that they are described as having 16 or 24 vertically cut gores with 12 or 16 flying cables. I expect they meant 16 or 12 flying cables otherwise they are going to have a few over or maybe its just random.

BBAC AGM postponed due to weather
Well it read like balloon-speak! The AGM of the British Balloon & Airship club got postponed on account of the weather. That doesn’t happen very often. Sadly so did the Examiner’s Meeting and Pete Bish now has to decide whether to leave his van packed for the new date of 18th March. The AGM will still be held at the Mercure Warwickshire Walton Hall Hotel & Spa, Wellesbourne, Warks CV35 9HU. Now its on a Sunday. The great and the good in ballooning will be there, no doubt. The event usually opens around tennish along with trade stands and stalls (possibly). The meeting proper kicks off at 1.30 pm sharp. Now there was me all huskies and sledge and wrapped in a dead caribou stranded north of Banbury when the news came through.

Unlicensed site owners asked to update details by 7 March
The CAA and NATS have extended the deadline of a survey to help update the details of unlicensed airfields and aerial sporting activity locations that are made available to airspace users. Fine as it goes but first we’d heard of it. Is the balloon symbol still over Marsh Benham? The details will be updated on the NATS AIS database and be published in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) and included on CAA VFR charts. As the sites are not licensed by the CAA the survey is the only way to confirm the details published are accurate and made available to airspace users. As well as establishing if existing sites published in the AIP are still current the survey will check that details are accurately reflected in safety information and identify a principal point of contact for each site. Users of unlicensed sites are asked to ensure that site owners or landowners are aware of the survey to avoid information being removed from the NATS AIS database. If details are removed from the database site information will also be removed from all future AIS products, including CAA VFR charts. Site owners are asked to complete the online form by 7 March 2018 to help make sure their details are correct and up to date:

Carriage of Defibrillators in aircraft
Following on from the first aid summary, in last months News, Safety Information Bulletin SIB 2018-03 all about the carriage and use of Automatic External Defibrillators has been published by EASA, bless them. To see the details this publication have a look at which we couldn’t get to work. Then we tried to search the little blighter out and in the end gave up. Found 2018/02 mind, all about runway surface condition reporting! Meanwhile on the defibrillator front Barry Newman of the Chiltern Region has started a Crowdfunding Page to purchase defibrillators for youth teams and clubs in the Northamptonshire area. If you would like to support him please go to his Crowdfunding Page: Any donation however small will be appreciated and will help save young lives. Thank you very much.

8.33 Radio Arrival Imminent
A reminder from the CAA that the long awaited changeover to 8.33 kHz radio is about the happen. There was a SkyWise alert regarding the transition to 8.33 kHz radio frequencies in the UK and by now pilots and operators should be aware of their responsibilities. UK balloon operators should, by now, have an action plan to convert to 8.33 radios and, indeed, many have already converted. The CAA kindly ask you to remember that it is the responsibility of balloon operators and balloon pilots to ensure that you can legally operate any planned flight prior to undertaking such a flight. This includes checking whether any ATSU that they may have a need to contact have themselves converted to 8.33 channels or are still using 25 kHz equipment and frequencies. Further information may be found on the CAA website, or by following the link

SkyWise? Really, you do need this.
Seems that the CAA have discovered that an awful lot of pilots have no idea that SkyWise has replaced CAA Information Notices or what the scope of SkyWise is. As described by the CAA, aviation is a dynamic industry and SkyWise allows you to stay up-to-date with news, safety alerts, consultations, rule changes, airspace amendments and more from the CAA. It replaces their previous information and safety notices with a more instant, tailored service. With SkyWise, you can access all their alerts through the website or have personalised alerts sent to you through email subscriptions or the SkyWise app, which, as it happens, works well (no idea about the app mind as my phone doesn’t do that). Subscription categories ranging from airside safety to private pilot training allow you to see only the information that matters to you. Now, believe it or not, subscription is free!!!!! Updates come in the form of alerts which are short and to the point, providing a top level overview with a link to more information if you want it. Clearly this is an ever-evolving service and any comments or questions can be directed to Skywise and all the services and links it provides including subscribing to it can be found at

The joy of EASA rulemaking
I love the updates we get from EASAland telling us what particular bit of currently working well legislation they are about to tosh over or already have. I also love the way they never even bother to explain, in a simple sentence, what the subject matter really is in some form of language that is understandable. This is one of the latest:
‘Please note that the final deliverable 'Technical review of the TK syllabi, LOs, and examination procedures for ATPL, MPL, CPL, and IRs: Subjects 010, 031, 032, 033 & 034', as well as the related CRD to NPA 2016-03(C) , have been published on the EASA website’. Thank you for your interest in and contribution to the European Aviation Safety Agency's rulemaking activities. Kind regards, The EASA consultation team.’ Well you can’t say they aren’t polite, but private club? I think so.

St Helena Christmas flights cancelled
Ever since they started seriously siting an airport on St Helena we have followed the tricky little airports progress with interest. It hasn’t been smooth flowing it has to be said, which is what makes it so interesting and challenging, however we were saddened to learn that, despite a proposed Christmas service to St Helena direct from the UK, the results of a survey by the newly formed airline Atlantic Star showed that, while there was a good level of interest in the flights on the UK to St Helena route, there was a much lower level of interest on the St Helena to UK return route as the planned service stood. In a statement issued by Atlantic Star they explained that “This differential in demand makes it difficult for Atlantic Star to deliver a commercially viable charter programme in 2018 as the northbound originating flight would be nearly empty, which would result in a substantial increase in the price of the southbound tickets. It is with a very heavy heart that we have therefore decided that we will not be launching a Christmas charter flight programme for 2018.” So no PD whistlestop ballooning there for the moment unless you use the regular Airlink service from Johannesburg and Capetown. These flights are said to be doing well although there are no plans to up the weekly service. For details of accommodation check out and for the Atlantic Star

Air accident investigation under scrutiny
From our favourite half sensible publication BT News we heard that academics at Cranfield University have developed the first competency framework for aircraft accident investigators, which aims to distinguish the ‘great’ from the ‘good’ in this highly-specialised and demanding field. Not quite sure what that translates to but sounds interesting. Researchers from the university’s Safety and Accident Investigation Centre analysed tasks typically carried out by investigators and interviewed current post holders to find the qualities of the most effective investigators. They discovered that, alongside the high level of aviation knowledge and technical skill that is common to all of the incident experts, those working at a high level shared certain other behaviours and abilities that elevated their work above the rest. The research was carried out by lecturer in human factors Dr Jim Nixon and professor of safety and accident investigation Graham Braithwaite. Dr Nixon said: “In recruitment, the idea of using someone’s qualifications and experience as evidence of their ability to do a job is well-established. It is now also routine for many recruiters to employ psychometric testing and/or work assessments to differentiate applicants”, adding, "But when it comes to roles like air accident investigation, it can be difficult to articulate what differentiates the ‘great’ from the ‘good’, and how to transition the latter to the former”. He noted the UK’s excellent safety record in aviation, but emphasised that quality still needed investment.

Royal helicopter flight airspace and drones
When royal flights in helicopters take place airspace known as a Royal Low-Level Corridor (RLLC) is established between the departure and arrival sites; the details of the flights, including the route and timings, are published by NOTAM and so will also be depicted on airspace mapping apps. A RLLC encompasses the airspace five nautical miles either side of the intended track of the Royal helicopter, a five nautical mile ‘circle’ around the departure and arrival sites, and extends from the surface up to 1,000ft above the royal helicopter’s highest planned transit altitude. RLLCs are also divided into 20 minute ‘sectors’, with checkpoint locations nominated at the start and end of each sector. The key requirements for operators of small unmanned aircraft are to be aware of the flight, keep a good look out and maintain adequate separation from the royal helicopter; however, small unmanned aircraft operators are strongly advised to keep their aircraft at least one nautical mile horizontally clear of the departure and arrival sites during the published active periods (15 minutes before until 30 minutes after the planned departure/arrival time detailed in the NOTAM). So what does this have to do with balloons? Well now there is the obvious that they, like any published NOTAM affect us but for the knowledgeable there is an app that sorts all this and its localised. In line with EASA the info is a tad non-direct but if you go to and scroll down to the bit about Royal Flights there is a link to the app site there and somewhere else the other site (I think!) that provides the links to the free downloads Now you are on your own as I am so far outside me comfort zone. What? No clip board!!!!

Instructions for Continued Airworthiness NPA opens
EASA advise that NPA 2018-01 'Instructions for continued airworthiness' is now open for consultation on the EASA website. The objective of this Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) is to mitigate the risks linked to the uncertainty of the status of Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) and therefore to avoid there being too much room for interpretation in the rules and standards, leading to differences and possible safety risks. This NPA proposes to amend Annex I (Part 21) of Regulation (EU) No 748/2012 to clarify that ICA are part of the type certificate (TC), and to develop the related acceptable means of compliance (AMC) and guidance material (GM). It also merges the requirements related to record keeping, manuals and ICA in the various subparts into a single requirement for each of these aspects in Subpart A (new points 21.A.5, 6 and 7). The proposed changes are expected to improve the harmonisation of ICA among the design approval holders (DAHs) in relation to the identification, approval, formatting and availability of ICA to the end users. “Is this relevant to us?” I hear you ask. Well yes and no but effectively it will affect the manufacturers and thus be passed to us. To find out more go to Any person or organisation may propose the development of a new rule or an amendment thereto. To place comments, please use the automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT) available at The deadline for submission of comments is 30 April 2018.

Zebedee List no 370 – advertising rates reduced
Although we are always happy to check kit over when it comes to value we are not that accurate! For valuations we usually refer people to Pete Bish and his Zebedee List. The list is produced monthly and can still be got as bits of A4 stapled together or of course you can be all hi-techy and go to his website. Each edition of The List has a briefly about stuff and we reckon it is generally a good summary of the current market. Here is February’s seeing’s as it comes out usually after we have gorn to print (occasionally that is)……….Captain Boing writes,  2018 has commenced with plenty of activity on the balloon market. Sold from The List, including our ‘Stop Press’ section, have been envelopes sized 31, 56, 145 and 210, whilst we have finally heard that a 210 on The List was sold a year ago! Plenty of baskets, burners, tanks and smaller items have moved too. New for `February is a Cameron 90 from Nick Amor, an airship bottom end (listed in the airship section) and various smaller items including a very smart LBL 42 basket at Zebedee. We have been concerned for some time that our blanket £12 fee has probably put people off listing low value items so, for any items advertised with a an asking price below £100 the fee is now £5. Higher valued items continue at £12. Zebedee will be at the BBAC AGM on 18th March at the Mercure Walton Hall Hotel, Warwickshire so if you any deliveries or collections please let them know. Website at email

Cameron ‘Long Build’ offer announced.
‘No rush for my balloon, I would rather have a great saving!’ Blurts the latest money saving offer from Cameron Balloons. Continuing on from the last few years of Cameron Balloons ‘Winter Build’ offers they are extending the scheme under the banner of the ‘Long Build’ offer, envelope discount scheme. Not to be confused with the Long Mynd which is much further north. According to Cameron, this is the perfect hot-air balloon production build slot for Clients who are not in a hurry for their new hot-air balloon envelope. Balloonists benefit by having a discounted price for their envelope(s) and Cameron Balloons can build the new envelope(s) in a convenient (to the factory) time-frame during a mutually agreed six month period. The, seemingly, easy rules (not sure that isn’t our spiel) of the Cameron Balloons ‘Long Build’ offer are that Cameron Balloons agree that the new hot-air balloon envelope, and any associated equipment, will be ready in six calendar months from the date Cameron Balloons receive the valid Customer-signed Sales Agreement along with the full deposit having been paid into the Cameron Balloons bank account and the client-signed confirmation of all the colour schemes as required. Cameron Balloons then start the clock ticking and at the end of six months the remainder of the invoice will be charged and, once paid, your new hot-air balloon envelope and any associated equipment will be ready to collect. Simple as. Please note though that Cameron Balloons will try to finish your balloon and equipment earlier, but Balloonists and Clients should not sign up to this contract if they require a quicker balloon build-time. Any changes made by the customer to the delivery time during the agreed six month period will automatically forfeit any special discount and could also incur extra costs for additional staff-hours and is sadly not able to be guaranteed. This offer replaces all previous ‘Cameron Balloons’ Winter Build Offers’ and all ‘Cameron Balloons Gold and Silver Savers’ until further notice. So if you’d like to save yourself some money please contact Cameron Balloons’ Sales Director Nick Purvis and ask for a Cameron Balloons ‘Long Build’ Offer email or call +44(0)117 963 7216

Icicle Meet beaten by the weather
Sadly once again poor visibility and generally rotten weather meant that the icicle Re-frozen meet stayed more or less on the ground. Marred by the unflyable conditions, low cloud and murk on the Saturday and sunny but with strong winds on Sunday, only one balloon made a short flight on Saturday whilst about ten balloons where inflated for photographers but did not fly. Amongst these were a new Kubicek for Crispen Williams, a new Ultramagic Donkey shape for Martin Cowling and Kate Holzer and Alex Court’s very pretty Sackville G-CIWY. On the historic side several long lost oldies appeared. Particularily nice to see ‘Meconium’ a Thunder 42, G-BDAY, once the personal mount of Tomo Donnolly himself. The Saturday sell-out dinner was a success with Josep Llado, the speaker, recalling exciting ballooning events worldwide, including Ghana and a meet in the Azores! – report courtesy Pete Bish

Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta dates
The 2018 Ricoh Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta® will take place in June launching from Battersea Park, London. The Balloon Regatta is the official ballooning event of the City of London and the official aerial extension to the Lord Mayor's Show. Each year a mass ascent of hot air balloons launch across the city to raise funds and awareness for the Lord Mayor's Appeal. Standby dates will be Sunday June 3rd, 10th and 17th and Sunday 1st July with a launch window between 0600 and 0900. This could potentially be an excellent launchsite if the winds play ball. Downside is that it is used by lots of dog walkers! For full details go to Exclusive Ballooning’s Events Faceache page at

Elusive Lindstrands - Accessorise
We are becoming increasingly puzzled at Lindstrand Technologies approach to advertising and their current catalogue. Finding out about their products has been a tad tricky but they do seem to have sorted the site out a bit, but finding the correct balloony part of the Lindstrand Technologies website isn’t that straightforward. The balloon bit, it turns out, is actually at As is the current trend it appears you can glean more by going to their Faceache pages or whatever at Their latest advert in the British Balloon & Airship clubs’ Aerostat magazine is all about their accessories. Running until the 28th February (so already over) they were offering 10% off anything in their online store. To be fair there isn’t much in their online store except that the old style Lindstrand Pilot Bag is back at a very reasonable £120. Couldn’t make one of that quality for that. For more details email

Duxford announces free admission for kids
The rather great Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford has now published its programme for the 2018 air show season with much emphasis on the RAF Centenary. Duxford Air Festival runs over the May Bank Holiday weekend 26-27 May and features ‘action-packed flying full of speed, noise, power and thrills’. Then I nearly fell about laughing as amongst the confirmed aircraft was the Tiger Nine formation team featuring Tiger Moth biplanes which always bring a smile and usually have not quite nine aircraft not quite in formation. Love them.
The Flying Legends Air Show over the weekend of 14-15 July is all about nostalgia while the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show 22-23 September is the one celebrating the Royal Air Force centenary, celebrating its famous aircraft, past and present of which it has quite a few. Last time we went they had nine Spitfires flying together (may have exaggerated that). Now in case you thought you could have blokes day out Duxford say that accompanied children will go free for the Duxford Air Festival or the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show. Tickets for all air shows must be booked in advance.

Midlands Air Festival gaining pace.
Now if you’ve paying attention to the Events page you will see a new event to be held at Ragley Hall listed. This is the Midlands Air Festival and Nightfire running from 18th - 20th May 2018. This is a spectacular new aviation event for the Midlands. Taking place in the extensive grounds of the famous Ragley Hall near Alcester, this new event will feature a full Hot Air Balloon Festival and Nightfire event, with an expected 50 round balloons, some exciting special shapes and a spectacular full length air display with the best of virtually every type of aviation. The 19th & 20th May will be packed with classic WW1 & 2 fighters, high energy aerobatics, classic jets, flying circus, parachutes, helicopters, gyrocopter and balloons. Friday the 18th May will be a standalone Nightfire event, with night time aerobatics with illuminated aircraft and pyrotechnics, an extensive glow and a stunning firework finale. Ground exhibits, trade stands and arena events will complete the show along with free entrance for see around the wonderful historic Ragley Hall and Gardens. The public flying slots will begin on Friday evening and conclude on Sunday evening. There will also be a Night Glow on the Friday evening. During all three days the organisers would like help with as much public interaction and participation as you can contribute. This could include tethering and allowing photos in baskets, or generally showing the public how fascinating ballooning can be. You can never tell when your kindness and enthusiasm will be the inspiration for the next generation of balloon pilots! The entry fee for the entire weekend is £50 and this which includes Pilot welcome pack, Entry for you plus three to the entire site, including Ragley Hall and Gardens, Team breakfast, Camping, Tea, coffee and soft drinks. Not forgetting Gas, including after the Sunday PM flight, Marked up map with detailed additional information, a Landowner gift for each flyable slot and a Saturday evening party. I’m liking the sound of this. Applications close on 1st March with confirmation of acceptance on 16th March. For more details and to apply go to or for further enquires email to

Here, have a look at this. Film's out!
Just to demonstrate that anything pretty much goes, here is something for those with an eye on an investment may be interested in. Lot going on this year with the recent release of ‘Darkest Hour’ and the end of the First World War. Our mate Neil is selling his rather splendid and minted Winston S. Churchill, ‘The Major Works Centenary Limited First Edition’ in 25 Volumes (1974). Absolutely in Mint Condition, a complete pristine collection of 25 superb volumes of Churchill's works, never used. Full Burgundy Leather bound with 22ct gold large embossed script initials “W S C” to spines and upper boards and 22ct gold edging to all leaves. Portrait of Winston Churchill, tipped in front of each volume with a Letter of Authenticity from the Churchill Centenary Trust. The set comprises, History of the English Speaking Peoples (4 volumes), The War Speeches (3), The Second World War (6), The World Crisis (5), My Early Life (1), Marlborough (4), Lord Randolph Churchill (2) Price £950. Certainly a good investment. For further information please contact Neil directly at

Motorbike Technical Literature - Rusty Books
Brilliant new service from the Motorcycle Museum. For over 50 years Bruce Main-Smith has specialised in producing high quality black and white photocopy sets of manufacturers’ original literature that has gone out of print. Many enthusiasts will recognise the BMS name but may not know that this famous brand now forms part of the National Motorcycle Museum portfolio. Available to purchase from the museums on-line shop you will find an alphabetical listing of the extensive archive. Much too numerous to list here this consists of over 4500 photocopy sets dating from the 1890s through to the 1990s and includes motorcycle workshop manuals, illustrated parts books, annual sales catalogues and instruction books for makes both British & foreign. There are four main types of high quality black and white photocopy sets of manufacturers’ original literature (and their uses) that they can supply. This literature is invaluable to both restorers and riders of vintage and classic motorcycles and covers literally hundreds of manufacturers. Even if you are restoring the oldest and rarest of veteran machines they can probably help by supplying the relevant technical literature at a fraction of the cost of the original material. Workshop Manuals were only generally published after 1940 when they were introduced for use by army workshops. Following the war all the major manufactures began publishing them for use by dealerships etc. Illustrated Parts Books are very useful indeed when searching for missing or replacement parts. Often well illustrated using exploded drawings which can be of great help by showing the correct order of assembly. Annual Sales Catalogues were issued by almost every manufacturer annually and sales brochures of some type or another regularily. These publications usually illustrate every model in the range for the coming year and provide useful specifications of the major components and the original features. Finally there are the Instruction Books which vary greatly in content. Some are very basic whiles others are extremely comprehensive. The National Motorcycle Museum also has for sale some duplicate original manufacturers’ literature from which the photocopy sets are derived. For more details please enquire as per the details below. For a full list of makes and models go to Or contact the dedicated BMS team at the National Motorcycle Museum Tel: 01675 444123 or Email

More All Fools announced
The Easter Weekend 2018 will be full of the Black Horse Ballooning Club’s traditional All Fools Balloon Meet to be held in the field and the bar of the Black Horse, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. As part of this years’ entry requirements they will be asking participants to volunteer to fly a farmer. All pilots of all sorts of balloons, from hoppers to homebuilts are invited from wherever. The slots will run from the evening of Friday 30th March, through Saturday 31st March (morning and evening), Sunday 1st April (morning and evening) with the final official flight on the morning of Monday 2nd April. To comply with CAA/BBAC guidelines pilots must have a minimum 35 hours P1, however PUTs are encouraged to come along and it is planned to have a ‘tether school’ for PUTs with an attendant instructor to sign-off successful students. Entry is £15.00 for non-members and £10 for BHBC members. Entry forms and event information from the Club website and 'click' on All Fools Meet 2018. You can either pay on line using Paypal or send a cheque made out the The Black Horse Ballooning Club to Richard Simpson, Clacks Cottage, Blackthorn Lane, Ballinger, Great Missenden. Buckinghamshire HP16 9LN. Be there or be talked about.

Frightened of flying (in a plane silly)
EasyJet has announced that their popular Fearless Flyer courses will be running again this year. The courses are designed to help people overcome their phobias of flying. Running until end of May, easyJet’s remaining Fearless Flyer programme courses take place at Manchester, Bristol, Stansted, Gatwick, Glasgow, Luton, and Birmingham and are run over two days. During the ground course section, phobia expert Lawrence Leyton teaches attendees proven mind techniques to control their nerves. He is joined by a senior easyJet pilot who will explain the sounds and sensations experienced onboard a flight. Attendees can then put their new skills and knowledge into practise on a one hour flight featuring full in-flight commentary. Over 6,000 people have attended the course since it launched in 2012. More than 95% of those people have overcome their phobias, and now have the freedom to fly across the world. It isn’t just aimed at those that can’t bear the thought of flying but also those that suffer the sensation to just simply go on holiday. The course is priced from £199 including a half-day of homilies and an actual flight. Companions can join the aerial part for £80.

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