Balloon Repair Station

News 04.03.19

Sorry, tad late Carruthers
This rendition is a bit later than planned on account of Part BOP (see below) stuff flying about, some of which is a bit woolly at the moment, especially the overlap between airworthiness requirements and operational requirements. There are chunks that need a bit of thought before piling in with advice so having just seen the latest British Balloon & Airship Club’s February issue we are holding back a bit. This EASA legislation kicks in next month so things are all a bit Brexit! Keep calm we reckon. As we were about to cut and paste’ or whatever the words are for ‘go to print’ these days is, the BBAC published three goodly bits of info on Cost Sharing, EASA Operations: Balloon Specialised Operations, EASA Balloon Operations: Equipment, Documentation and Procedural Changes for all ballooning. You will have to be a member of the BBAC to access the stuff at

There isn’t anything in any of it that is really contentious but some of it you will need to act upon. Look out for the odd update, as in ‘random’ not strange! Most of the stuff is covered in EASA’s Balloon Rule Book. Left hand down, chocks away, let go aft…

BOPPY BAS and boogie book
On 8 April a host of new regulations arrive on our launchfield in the form of EASA’s Part BOP Balloon Air Operations Regulations. This introduces a host of new requirements for all ballooning regardless of the operation of the balloon as in, private, what was ‘aerial work’ and Balloon Ride Operations. It also covers gas balloons. The requirements are not that alarming and are not necessarily airworthiness related but there are some considerations that will need addressing. Put basically EASA have produced ‘The Balloon Rule Book’ to make it all crystal clear, possibly! Although it has to be said it is quite user friendly and does contain a lot of the legislation, with links to the main rule. Unsurprisingly for EASA it opens with a disclaimer! This reads, ‘It has been prepared by putting together the officially published regulations with the related acceptable means of compliance and guidance material (including the amendments) adopted so far and certification specifications and acceptable means of compliance and guidance material. However, this is not an official publication and EASA accepts no liability for damage of any kind resulting from the risks inherent in the use of this document’. Well, that’s their bottom well protected then. At 166 pages it can be downloaded from the link at the end and should be read. Actually it is a good useful read and quietly surprisingly amusing here and there (but not much). I love the ‘carriage of dangerous goods’ bit which does allow you to carry fireworks, flares, detonators, fuses, dynamite, ammunition and materials for fireworks in general. Dynamite! Brilliant, but you cannot drop it over ‘congested areas of cities, towns or settlements or over an open air assembly of persons unless its a parachutist carrying a flare’. I know some parachutists that are certainly classed as ‘dangerous goods’. It will I am certain form a basis for future exam questions. There is a separate section on Commercial (Passenger Ride) Operations which is obviously directed at the Ride Industry but it does contain some thought provoking bits and bobs that are worth a read. Towards the end the basic ‘CS31’ design requirements are set out including ‘Restraint Harnesses’ which will be a requirement for compartmented baskets and envelopes fitted with turning vents regardless of use. The various items and requirements are notated as BOS.BAS with a reference number. Simple. Back to Squirrel Nutkin’s nutshell, what will be required. As just mentioned, if you’ve got turning vents you will need a pilot restraint, BOP.BAS.320. This will need to approved to a standard set out in a natty diagram under CS31GB.30 in the back of the BOPPY.BAS book. The anchor point will have to conform to the manufacturers instructions where appropriate. This is under discussion at the moment as it may present problems. You will have to carry a first aid kit BOP.BAS.330 and make sure it contains the required equipment listed and the Germolene is in date! Fire Extinguishers are there, BOP.BAS.335 details expanded in CS31HB.72. Bear in mind the fire extinguisher specification is also in the Manufacturers’ Flight Manual. Additional equipment, hiding in BOP.BAS.350, includes a fire blanket minimum size 1.5×1.8 and a drop line of at least 25m. The other stuff we’d be bonkers not to have like an alternative and independent source of ignition.

There is also a rake of stuff on what is known as Specialised Operations detailed under BOP.BAS.190 which basically relates to special equipment to fulfill the task which affects the behavior of the balloon in flight, carrying external loads or people entering or leaving the balloon during flight, which cover parachuting and the dropping of hang-gliders. For this sort of stuff you will have to develop a risk assessment which is very helpfully and thoroughly laid out in the various AMCs in the same section. Nice one.

Carriage of documents has also been revised under BOP.BAS.050 and allows a pile of paperwork (originals or copies) including the Flight Manual to be carried in the retrieve vehicle. All you need in the basket is the operating limitations, normal, abnormal and emergency procedures and other relevant information to the balloon’s operating characteristics, a Flight Plan if required and suitable aeronautical charts for the area of intended flying. Cripes, that’s great. Maybe the manufacturers’ could help here. Ultramagic issue a mini-Flight Manual which is great but now only the relevant bits are needed. ‘Light weight ballooning syndrome’, I hear you shout.

Joking apart this is the first time I can honestly say that EASA have actually tried, and pretty well successfully produced, something useful and nearly understandable for balloonists. The links lead to the legislation so don’t complicate the basic information. A lot of work has gone into this and should be applauded. Good grief did I really say that? Please download the “Balloon Rule Book” then get it leather bound.

David Barker retires but not quite!
As planned David Barker has taken the decision not to re-validate his inspector rating thus ending a rather impressive number of years looking after the safety of balloons both at home and abroad. David’s love for ballooning started in 1968s when, traveling down the M1 he saw some balloons and reckoned that would be a great way to travel. He then spent a couple of years driving around with champagne in his car intent on getting a flight but to no avail. He joined the British Balloon and Airship club in 1970 and then the Southern Balloon Group, buying a share in G-AZOO ‘Carousel’ a Western-built ’65 and got airborne in 1972 and got his licence and an FAI sporting licence before the year end! Enthused, he didn’t hang about and in 1973 won the Air Britain Trophy in Cirencester. The following year he was the joint winner of Coupe Jean Nicot, an Anglo-French championship held in France, and the Rheims Cup. Phew! then in 1975 he won the Coupe Prince de Ligne in Belgium where the prize was another handsome cup and a rather nice side by side shotgun which he still has! From 1975 to 1985 he attended many European balloon meets averaging about eight a year, many in the company of Dick Wirth (part owner of Thunder Balloons) who shared his Thunder van with his Cameron Viva. “Not all manufacturers would do that.” He mused.

As is to be expected more balloons came along. The Southern Balloon Group’s Carousel 1 was replaced in 1976 by G-BDSK ‘Carousel 2’, a Cameron O-65 incorporating aluminised fabric sourced from Thunder balloons and in 1977 he purchased G-BERT, a Cameron Viva ’56 which he flew over his own home-built basket and burner. Those were the days! He went on to build a further five burners plus a quad for use with ‘Big Red’ the Typhoo Tea N-105 he purchased in 1980 on which he converted the red teacup into a pint mug. Nice one. Big Red was his Alpine balloon and he made around 50 high altitude flights using his baskets and burners and on one occasion flew from Gstaad, in Switzerland, to Torino, Italy, reaching speeds of 100mph at 16,500feet. The story of the quad ended in 1981 when he used it in anger for four seconds to halt a rather sudden descent. The effect was so dramatic and the rate of climb so impressive he vowed never to use it again! The list of his achievements and competition successes is pretty impressive to say the least but his biggest achievement was his work as the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the BBAC which he did voluntarily from 1978 to 1983 and responsible to CAA for all certifications (new types, new issues, and Certificate of Airworthiness renewals) on all UK balloons. During this period he persuaded CAA to issue a non expiring C of A subject to annual inspection instead of a £60 annual C of A. Over the next 20 years or so this saved balloonists a total some £500,000 in fees. He then pointed out to the CAA we would incur costs for the annual inspection so to compensate CAA quadrupled the BBAC rebate on new issue Cs of A. This increased BBAC income by around £40,000 per year, and over the next 20 years, by a total of approaching £1 million.

In recognition of his work, at the Royal Aero Club Annual Presentations held on the 1st May 1986, he was presented with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale Tissandier Diploma by HRH Prince Andrew. The citation reads, ‘David Barker has just retired as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the BBAC, a job he has done since 1978. The BBAC is entirely responsible for airworthiness on behalf of the CAA so the Technical Committee is central to the sport. The Chairman, as always, ends up doing all the work and David effectively ran airworthiness for British ballooning throughout this period, maintaining the technical records for several hundred balloons, being responsible for the Technical Committee, and overseeing standards and the appointment and supervision of all Inspectors. The World’s largest and most successful hot air balloon builder is Cameron and the three most important manufacturers in Europe during this period, Cameron, Thunder, and Colt, are all In Britain. Balloon manufacture is an outstandingly successful part of sport flying In Britain, three quarters of production being exported, dominating the European and Commonwealth markets, with major sales in America. There is no doubt that simple, fast and effective clarification, much better than the bureaucratic system in many countries contributes significantly. He has been responsible for an important development, certification of all special shape hot air balloons, requiring courage and judgment. Would you certify a 200 ft, long flying chateau or a 56,000 cubic Ice-cream cone? David took it in his stride and contributed to the world wide domination British manufacturers have in special shape advertising balloons. He successfully saw the introduction of the current non-expiring certificate of airworthiness, a significant simplification. The odd situation exists that commercial manufacturers rely on a voluntary organisation for certification. David has made a major voluntary contribution both by hard work and sensible judgment to certification, without which sport ballooning could not continue.’

A Cameron 120 (G-BTXS which went onto the French register) joined the household in 1993 followed by a Kubicek in 2014 when the ‘120 became seriously porous after only 113 careful hours. In 1990 his daughter Eleanor went for her first flight and ended up learning to fly in ‘Bert’ going solo in 2011 and today flies commercially in France where David bought a house in 2005, as he puts it, ‘in the most wonderfully flyable area in France with usually calm winds, beautiful countryside, and wonderful views of the distant Pyrénées’. In 2014, after 42 years as a pilot he retired from holding a license but hasn’t given up ballooning and still flies from time to time. However he didn’t stop inspecting, usually for free, until this year when his rating expired. Ballooning and the BBAc owes him an enormous debt of gratitude and his services will be greatly missed. Although no longer carrying out annual inspections he remains an Airworthiness Review Certificate signatory for us so can still issue ARCs. Thankyou David.

New Head of CAA’s General Aviation Unit announced
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has appointed Rachel Gardner-Poole as the new Head of its General Aviation Unit (GA). She will take up the post later this year following the departure of current head Tony Rapson after more than five years.

Rachel brings a wealth of aviation experience to the role and is currently Portfolio Director at the Civil Aviation Authority. She began working for the CAA in the General Aviation Unit, in which she played a leading part in implementing changes following its launch in 2014. Her previous experience includes working on counter-terrorism with the Home Office and as a scientific researcher in the defence sector, where she learned to fly. She also volunteers for a flying charity which delivers aid and emergency relief to remote locations. Mark Swan, Group Director Safety & Airspace Regulation, said: “We are delighted to make this announcement. Rachel is the right candidate for this role. Her ability to deliver complex projects, combined with her strong leadership skills and wide-ranging aviation experience, made her the obvious choice. Many in the General Aviation community will already know Rachel and I am sure they will welcome her appointment. Tony Rapson has done an incredible job leading the General Aviation Unit since its inception in 2014, and has delivered significant improvements for the General Aviation sector. We thank him for his hard work and dedication to date and look forward to continuing to benefit from his experience in the coming months, ahead of this change.” Rachel said, “I’m really looking forward to working with the dedicated and professional colleagues in the General Aviation Unit. I’ve been passionate about aviation for many years and my first role here was as the General Aviation Programme Manager where I used my flying knowledge and experience to implement positive changes. I’m delighted to be returning to the unit in May to build on the excellent work of Tony Rapson and the team. Rachel will work with Tony in the handover period ahead of her start date later this year.”

Heads up – The Transatlantic Challenge or Transatlantic Tales Conference.
Giles Camplin, of rusty airship and balloon fame, has suggested that some of you might be interested in a One-day Seminar on 3 June 2019? It is being run by the Historical Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society in conjunction with the RAeS Air Transport Group at their swish HQ at No.4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ. The Historical Group put forward the idea of the event because 2019 sees not only the centenary of the first non-stop transatlantic crossing but also anniversaries of the first flights of Concorde (1969) and the Boeing 747. The seminar will look at all of these achievements and throw light on some of the less well known aspects. No other events are known to be planned in the UK. The details have yet to be finalized, most probably on 12 March. The title (yet to be confirmed) will be ‘The Transatlantic Challenge’ or ‘Transatlantic Tales’. Provisionally the draft programme is hoping to include: Alcock & Brown’s competitors (Peter Elliott), Transatlantic airships (Wendy Pritchard), Design of Concorde (Tony Buttler) and some stuff on the VC10 and Boeing 707. Also in the planning stage is a paper on Concorde operations (possibly Capt. David Rowland), USAAF transatlantic flights during the Second World War (Jeremy Kinney) and the development of the Boeing 747 (Bob van der Linden). The presentation on Transatlantic Airships is being given by the daughter of Pritchard who parachuted from the R34 on its arrival in New York in 1919 making him the first person to arrive in America by air! Sadly he died when the R38 broke up over the Humber Estuary two years later. The cost for the One-day Conference will be £35. More details to follow or contact Giles Camplin at

While you’re at it…..
As aforementioned sort of thing, tis’ a fine year for stuff to celebrate. 14 June 1919 saw Alcock and Brown’s Vickers Vimy take-off from Newfoundland and arrive in Derrygilmlagh Bog in Co Galway Ireland on 15 June the flight having taken 16 hours and covered 1890 miles and won the Daily Mail prize of £10,000. Then we have the R34 taking a leisurely 108 hours to reach New York on July 1919 and return on the 10th reaching Pulham on the 13th July having taken a nippy 75 hours thanks to tail winds. The total mileage for this, the first return flight across the Atlantic had been 7,420 miles. No prizes. On a grander scale the Russians crashed Luna2 on the moon in 1959 kicking off the ‘Space Race’ and on 20 July 1969 the Americans poked them in the eye with the Apollo 11 mission plopping the first men on the moon. That was a bit further and it took 8 days to get there. We had a Man in the Moon on Coombe Hill in Wendover in 1784. Sorry, where was I? Its also 60 years since the Mini was launched and Hawaii became an American state. Must get a flowery shirt.

Farewell The Oxford Balloon Company
As a result of having done it for so long and the ageism of licensing John Rose has flown his last passengers. His popular, friendly Oxford Balloon Company have now ceased operations and the kit, including his trusty Cameron A-140, G-OXBC (400 hours all hyperlast less two bottom panels, nudge,nudge!), is up for sale. John ‘Rosey’ Rose reckons it has been marvelous. His company flew regularly in and around Oxford to much acclaim. In recent years he has been active in gas ballooning, his passion these days, and has competed in the Gordon Bennett and last year flew the specially built gas balloon that will be the star of the up and coming film, The Aeronauts, all about James Glaisher and due for release in October. Its all top secret of course! Thanks go to John for letting us look after his balloon and act as his Maintenance Organisation ever since we set up the Easy Balloons CAMO. Appreciated. Any outstanding unflown passengers need not worry as John will be in contact with them and they will be getting a refund. John can be contacted by email at

Do you really know where you are?
Although clearly aimed at aeroplanes the following note from the Airprox lot is worth a read especially if you fly through or close to controlled airspace. Its all speed equals distance times time. It appears that there’s a different bit of a theme that’s cropped up in recent Airprox, the need for accuracy in passing information to Air Traffic Control. Two incidents, among others, highlighted this, a close encounter involving a Jetstream and a TB10 (Airprox 2018211) and another between a DHC-6 and a PA-28 (Airprox 2018221). As with most incidents there were multiple factors at play, but it was notable that in both of these the pilots of the GA aircraft had passed inaccurate information that both ATCs (neither of which had radar) then used as they formulated a subsequently flawed plan. In the first incident, the TB10 pilot initially told Wick he was 10nm south of the field (heading north) when in fact he was 20nm away; this led to the controller thinking the TB10 would easily be through the Jetstream’s southerly climb-out lane as it departed, when in fact the TB10 was still a factor. In the second Airprox, the PA-28 pilot gave a time estimate of five or six minutes to arrival at Land’s End, but actually arrived only about two minutes later. In the meantime, the controller had cleared the DHC-6 to left-base ahead, and both he and the DHC-6 pilot were concerned when the PA-28 then joined right-base. Acknowledging that an estimate is just that, if it subsequently becomes obvious that it’s wrong then update ATC so that they can modify their plans accordingly. Fortunately, in both these incidents the commercial aircraft became visual with the other aircraft as they closed on each other and so more serious incidents were averted; however, heartbeats could have been saved both in the commercial cockpits and ATC if an accurate update had been made. The need for accuracy in passing information to ATC is axiomatic; if unsure of your position, be up-front with ATC so that everyone understands that there is uncertainty and they can then factor that into their plans. Ultimately, no information is better than wrong information.

Great news from DFDS
DFDS have advised Mr Such that they have created the Bruit Guarantee so their customers can rest assured their trip is safe with DFDS. They are saying that if you want to travel to Europe in 2019 book direct with DFDS and enjoy free cancellations on any booking made before 29 March 2019 for travel between 1 March and 20 September. This also applies to the bookings made either through the secure hidden webpage at or by calling the DFDS Customer Contact Centre on 0871 574 7235 or International +44 208 127 8303 and by quoting Partner Offers and BBAC during the call (the website offer code is IMPART). It is important that in the event you wish to cancel your booking made before 29 March 2019 for travel between 1 March and 20 September, you do contact DFDS and cancel your trip at least 14 days before your date of travel or the Bruit Guarantee will not apply. Can’t say fairer than that.

Old & Rusty balloonist takes to the road – how appropriate
Martin Turner of the British Balloon Museum and Library is all set to take part in the 2019 Rust Bucket Rally. This involves buying a car for £500 or less and then bashing it around 2100 European miles in four days. What could go wrong. Martyn and his mate Duncan have taken up the challenge and I seem to think they have bought a Mazda, covered it in stickers and are ready to go. Martyn explains that the rally is raising money for a really worthy cause, Children are Butterflies, and we would appreciate if you could spare us a donation using the link below. You can also follow all the action on the Rust Bucket Rally Facebook page where you will see live updates over the 4 days in June. There is more information on the Just giving page and plenty on the WWW. We are one of 52 cars taking part this year. Thanks in advance – Martyn Turner. Just Giving sends your donation straight to Children Are Butterflies and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more. Facebook site for the Rust Bucket Rally is here

Here’s a trailery thing
From 28 March 2019, it will be a requirement for certain trailers travelling abroad to be registered with DVLA. On 25 February 2019, DVLA delivered an online trailer registration service to allow customers to register their trailers ready for international travel. When registered, trailers must display a trailer registration number plate in addition to the registration number plate of the towing vehicle. The trailer registration mark will consist of one letter followed by seven numbers. They will be grouped as one letter and three numbers followed by a group of four numbers, for example A123 4567 in this layout. The plate should use the standard font and have the following characteristics: characters should be 64 millimetres in height have a width of 44 millimetres, except for the character representing the number ‘1’ and letter ‘I’, which must have a width of 10 millimetres have a stroke width of 10 millimetres be separated by 10 millimetres from any other characters within a group, groups of characters in the registration mark must be separated from one another by a space of 5 millimetres vertically. The width of the margin between the top or lateral edges of the registration plate and any part of a character used to display a registration mark on it must be at least 5 millimetres the width of the margin between the bottom edge of the registration plate and any part of a character used to display a registration mark on it must be at least 13 millimetres. The trailer registration plate must have solid black characters on a white background. No material, other than a registration mark, may be displayed on a registration plate except for information that identifies the manufacturer of the registration plate.

The Trailer registration scheme is a DVLA service for certain UK trailers used internationally. It is being introduced as part of the UK’s ratification of the 1968 Vienna Convention and to address the issues already faced by customers using UK trailers abroad. Not every trailer in the UK needs to be registered. Registration will be mandatory for all commercial use trailers travelling internationally that weigh over 750kg in gross weight. Registration is also mandatory for non-commercial use trailers that travel internationally and weigh over 3,500kg in gross weight. The trailer registration plate must be fixed to the rear of the trailer in a position that is as far as reasonably practicable from the position of the towing vehicle registration plate. If it is not possible to fix a registration plate on the rear of the trailer, a registration plate must be fixed to both sides of the trailer and in such positions that in normal daylight the characters of the registration mark are easily distinguishable from either side of the trailer. There is no requirement for the trailer registration plate to be retroflective but it is not illegal to display one. The largest minimum size for a trailer registration plate (for example. a plate displaying a trailer registration number which does not contain an I or 1) will be 216mm by 151mm. A plate the size of an industry standard motorcycle plate (231mm by 164mm) could be used but the plate must be white. Now you can make one yourself.

Further information on the Trailer Registration Scheme can be found at You can also sign up here for DVLA email alerts on the new scheme.

Are you feeling lucky? – Its only the GPS Week Rollover
Before you start reading this I have to be honest and say I have no idea what is about and any editing on my part may well make it totally meaningless. In a squirrel nutshell, navigation and timing information from the Global Positioning System (GPS) is used by many aircraft and ground-based aviation systems, has been issued. The GPS navigation message contains date and time information in the form of a sequential week and seconds counter, which first started on 6th January 1980. As the week counter rolls over every 1024 weeks, it will do so on 6th April 2019 for the second time in history. Systems using GPS for obtaining date and time are required to ensure that a correct progressive week count is maintained. To address this EASA has issued Safety Information Bulletin SIB 2019-01 –

The purpose of this SIB is to raise stakeholders’ awareness concerning the potential adverse effects of the GPS week rollover on systems that are used for navigation or time synchronisation. The GPS provides position, navigation and timing information to many systems used in aviation: on-board Global Navigation Satellite Systems receivers, Flight Management Systems, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems, Air Traffic Management Systems, and Surveillance Systems.
Among other messages, the GPS transmits the date and time in a specific format that consists of the current week and the current number of seconds in the week.
However, the field that contains the week number is a 10-bit binary number. This limits the range of the week number to 0 – 1023, or 1024 total weeks. The GPS week zero started 06 January 1980, and the first reset of the 1024 weeks counter happened on 21 August 1999. The next reset of the week counter from 1023 to zero will be on 06 April 2019. To mitigate any adverse effects of the GPS week rollover, GPS receiver manufacturers often shift the 1023 window with reference to another date within the receiver. One common method is to use the date of the firmware as a reference. Using this method, the problem could also occur, but on a different date and in a different year from the actual GPS rollover date. As the GPS time is ahead of UTC time by 18 seconds, the GPS week rollover will occur on Saturday 06 April 2019, at 23:59:42 UTC. At this time, the safety concern described in this SIB does not warrant the issuance of an operational directive under Commission Regulation (EU) 965/2012, Annex II, ARO.GEN.135(c), nor any safety directive action under Commission Regulation (EU) 139/2014, Annex II, ADR.AR.A.040.
In order to mitigate any safety risk related to the GPS week rollover, EASA recommends taking the following proactive measures:
Assure that the latest software update is installed on potentially affected GPS receiver(s). Request information from the GPS receiver manufacturer regarding its robustness against the GPS week rollover. If possible, perform tests that simulate the GPS week rollover, e.g. using a GPS simulator.
If it cannot be confirmed that a particular type of GPS receiver is not affected by the GPS week rollover, it should be assumed that a failure of the systems that rely on data from that GPS receiver might occur, and appropriate mitigation measures should be established. For further information contact the EASA Safety Information Section, Certification Directorate. E-mail: The SIB is at

First for us – Ultramagic Mk 32 burner in for inspection
Its been around for while now but we got our first sight of the Ultramagic Mk32 burner the other day. Now most burners are all pretty much like the other and when a new version comes out its hard to tell what has actually changed. This is true as far as the jet ring and way it works go but actually Ultramagic have put a bit of common into this version. It is looks very nice and appears straightforward to work on so heads up there. The huge billet of ali that was the Mk21 block has been redesigned and has shed weight for sure. The controls remain the same but the quality of the post and connecting tube has been massively improved. That was always the weak point on the old Mk21 (and other brands that are available) it being very easy to bend the cans out of alignment and the daft little set screws that held the crosstube in place, rip out. This setup looks a whole lot tougher. Using the burner is a pleasure but the whisper valve handle is a tad on the heavy side to operate on account of a heavy return spring on the stem. Be interesting to get one to bits and have a look see. My only concern would be on the enclosed housing that covers the blast valve and whisper valve. It is similar to that on the dreadful double-coiled thing they built, the number of which escapes me, but it was prone to corrosion and sticking levers as a result of the overlapping workings. Having said that this does appear to be a much neater job. Now here’s the double-edged sword. Brilliant is the simple solution to radical curves in the fuel lines. They run into the block at about 45º so run much more comfortably to the uprights. Such a simple thing. Downside to this is that the blocks are not handed so the hoses will have to run down diagonally opposite poles. Now I understand it is a big saving only having to produce one block but most pilots I know like the hoses to run down either the front or the back poles. Do you know what? I reckon if the cans and blocks were handed I’d have one. Oh, did I mention the frame? Well its sadly still a great lanky thing but then I suppose to change that would mean changing the poles. Still the burner bag (supplied foci) is big enough to get John into.

Just to be clear Roger – Ballooning Frequency now 122.480kHz
With the new frequency and radio requirements now in place and set in law Glen Everett wrote up a nice easy to understand piece on the subject that appeared in the January Pilots’ Circular published by the BBAC. Copied below, it is well worth a read and if you need a new radio give him a call.

Many people are still unaware the Ballooning Frequency has now moved to an 8.33 channel, so it is now 122.480 and no longer 122.475. Here are some of the FAQ’s I keep being asked…..
Is it illegal to use a 25khz radio on a frequency that has changed to 8.33 spacing (that is nearly everything now, including the ballooning frequency)? So, yes it is now technically illegal to use your old radio on 122.475 and very shortly it be illegal to use an “old” 25khz radio on anything other than the emergency channel 121.50.
My old radio still works so why can’t I use it? Yes it may well! But apart from being illegal, you could be talking over an adjacent 8.33 channel (frequencies)
Do I have to change my retrieve radio or car base station? – – YES
Is my radio 8.33? Unless you have bought a new radio in the last few years, then probably not, also some older Icom A6 radios are not 8.33! (see lower down for more info).
My radio is 8.33 compliant but I cannot tune into 122.480? Most radios are set to 25khz from the factory as they are sold around the world. You will have to re-set your radio up to 8.33 spacing in the settings menu however, unless purchased recently almost all older radios are not 8.33 compliant. Usually Menu/setting/frequency Step/8.33…. Please Read the manual !!! Some radios can be re-programmed but this a job for the repair shop. Icom A110 radios SN<150 can be reprogrammed to accept 8.33 but sadly no others in the range can.

The following radios are categorically not 8.33 kHz compatible:
Icom IC-A2/A20/A21/A20MKII/A3E/A22E, older Icom A110’s, older Icom IC-A6E/A24E models. Older Icom IC-A6E/A24E models. Earlier models manufactured before 2012 are not compatible or upgradeable (usually serial numbers starting with 23 or 24 for the IC-A6E and starting 03 or 04 for the IC-A24E). Delcom, PYE, Motorola, Westminster and Philips base stations etc. Older Yaesu radios (some will receive on 8.33 but not transmit). If you’re not sure, try entering an 8.33 channel!

The following radios are 8.33 kHz compatible:
Newer IC-A6E/A24E. Later models manufactured from 2012 (usually serial numbers starting with 33 or 34 for the IC-A6E and starting 13 or 14 for the IC-A24E) comply.
Icom A120 & A110 S/N<150
Newer Yaesu radios 250L 450L 750L

If you need a new radio or further advice on the choices available then give Glen a call or drop him a mail. He does a wide range of radios from basic models that work (love it) and start from a very realistic and reasonable £167.00 which includes batteries, charger and VAT to much more expensive latest all singing dancing Hi-tech jobbies with built in GPS which I would probably give up on! He also stocks a the whole range of Yaesu and Icom models, his own range of aerials and base stations along with spares. Email Glen Everett at HYPERLINK or give him a call for some expert advice on 01622 858956, mob 07801 639489.

Here’s a thing not to miss
Would anybody be interested in taking their balloon to one (or two) events this summer at The Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, near Bedford? It is probably the best collection of airworthy veteran and vintage aircraft in the world. We have taken our balloon previously but cannot make it this year. They are looking for a balloon to tether/display at their ‘Spitfire Proms’ evening concert/display on 17 Aug, and a General Aviation themed afternoon/evening display on 20 July 2019. Well worth a visit if you have not been and a friendly, well-organised historic airfield with a fantastic museum and display of historic aeronautica. Good cream teas, stately home and gardens for crew/family to see too… If anyone is interested, please email Richard Gyselynck

Cameron burner coil supplier revealed
We are yet to see a Cameron Neo burner (like a Stratus but different, we are told) but were surprised to discover the secret of their development when the latest Cameron delivery arrived. Pleased to see that they employ re-cycling but astounded to see that the factory is taking deliveries from La Hacienda, ‘Global Experts in Outdoor Heating’. Made us chuckle. Laughed even more when we looked them up on the wibbly wobbly. This is their sales pitch on the website under ‘our story’. ‘Up, up and away. From humble beginnings operating from the bedroom of our family home, we continued on our mission. With amazing support from every single customer, the range expanded to include firepits, outdoor ovens and décor. Our team also grew; we now operate from a huge ex aircraft hangar on a picturesque Cotswolds airfield’. Couldn’t be better. Actually we reckon, not to be outdone by Lindstrand Technologies getting the contract to build the gas balloon in Aeronauts, Camerons are building a replica Montygolfing brothers paperbag and La Hacienda are supplying the brazier or even brasier. Actually they are wholesalers for a very fine range of outdoor ovens, heaters and the like so maybe Camerons are bulk buying and are about to diversify. I’d give them a ring see if they want a balloon? Based on Aston Down Airfield near Stroud check them out at

Exploding door syndrome
SIB 2019-02 – Safety Information Bulletin: Explosive Door Openings on Parked Aeroplanes. Spotted in the list of things to check out was this rather enticing Safety Information Bulletin. Checking it out it would appear to be something I hadn’t really considered but makes clear sense. Obviously we don’t have the same problem with wicker baskets or Westfalia trailers but have a gander. There have been several occurrences of explosive door openings on parked aeroplanes, resulting in injuries, including fatalities, to persons inside or outside the aeroplane. The main factor leading to these occurrences was an inadvertent development of an excessive differential pressure between the inside and the outside of the aeroplane.

When an aeroplane is parked, cooling or heating of the aeroplane cabin can be provided through the air-conditioning system powered up by the auxiliary power unit (APU) or an external source of air (e.g. ground air-conditioning cart) ducted to the aeroplane cabin. Closing all aeroplane doors helps to reach and maintain the desired temperature. However, it may also result in an undesired build-up of excessive differential pressure between the cabin and the outside environment, if the outflow valve is closed. As a result, this may cause an explosive door opening. This may happen during normal operation of the aeroplane, during maintenance activities, or when conducting practical training of personnel on the aeroplane on ground. Therefore, operational procedures must be in place to mitigate this hazard.

Such procedures should ensure that there are always means to release the cabin air pressure before conditioning the cabin on ground with the APU or an external source, and before opening the aeroplane door. Such procedures must take into account the instructions provided by the aeroplane Type Certificate Holder (TCH). Well there you have it. To see the details OF this Publication, please click OR copy the following: URL:

UK Ladies Meet celebrates 10th year – details now out
Yippee, The UK Women’s Balloon Meet have just realised that time flies and this year will be their rather special 10th gathering since Allie Dunnington established the event in 2010 to promote women in ballooning and support newcomers into the sport. Since then they have celebrated several new female pilots joining their little gang! So, just to remind you like, this is to let you know (if you haven’t seen the facebook event thingy) that they will be gathering this year on the weekend of 26-28 April at Gloucestershire Airport (Staverton) for the usual mix of relaxed family-friendly flying and great social events. Details are still being finalised and they’ll send out more info and booking forms soon. For this special anniversary they are hoping to bring flying from the airport over lovely Gloucestershire countryside with the possibly of flights from alternative launch site/s. Opportunities for flight swaps with fixed-wing pilots and a chance to see other forms of aviation in action throughout the weekend. Day-time talks, events and social time to swap stories with members of the British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA) along with support for PuTs and instructor flights for those in need. A sneaky preview of a new exhibition at the Jet Age Museum. Saturday evening buffet dinner with fancy dress competition and after-dinner entertainment (a bit of a party as it’s their 10th!) at the nearby Jury Inn. Sunday brunch BBQ with prize-giving. All this and for the hardened campaigners, camping on the airfield! Blokes are welcome but must be accompanied, or dragged along, by a lady pilot or PuT. Importantly, as it’s a very active airfield, you will need a licensed 8.33kHz radio! For more information or to add yourself to the email list contact Marie Orchard at HYPERLINK “” If you’re a Facebook user, join the event on the Women in Ballooning page for updates

Flying Scholarships launched
The Honourable Company of Air Pilots’ scholarship programme for 2019 has just been launched. Last year seven Private Pilots Licence Scholarships, 13 Gliding Scholarships and two Instructor Scholarships were awarded. The scheme grants scholarships with the aim of supporting individuals who might otherwise not have the necessary resources to gain flying experience and ultimately achieve their Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). Candidates must be at least 17 on 1 June 2019 and complete the course by the beginning of October. One of the sponsors of the scheme, the TAG Farnborough Airport, is providing a Scholarship in conjunction with the airport’s “Aviation to Education” programme. Now in its 12th year, this engages schools and colleges within the local area to inform and educate about aviation. Over the past decade, scholarship recipients have progressed to many professional roles within aviation industry. Last year’s TAG Scholarship recipient, the youngest so far, 17-year-old Réshé Harrison, was able to pursue his dream having overcome leukaemia as a child. He completed his flight training at Redhill Aviation Flight Centre and successfully gained his PPL last October ahead of going to university to study Aviation Management. There is also a scholarship available for gaining a gliding licence, minimum age 16, also through Honourable Company of Air Pilots. Further information and application details are available on their website. Please note, applications must be in handwritten form and sent as a pdf.

Then there were this trees……
Caught our eye this. Its all well and good having a shed but if you’ve got a hotel by an airport why not have a plane. When we say plane, how about a complete retired Jumbo jet. Corendon Village Hotel are doing just that. They have only gone and bought retired KLM Boeing 747-400 PH-BFB, ‘City of Bangkok’, having clocked up a total of 134,279 hours, equating to over 6 million passengers carried! The thirty year old aircraft was the oldest B747-400 in scheduled passenger service. Her last scheduled flight was from Los Angeles on 25 November 2018 touching down in the morning of the 26th at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport after a 10 hour 25 minute flight. From Schiphol it flew to Rome where it got a full re-paint. On 14 December 2018 she made her last ever flight returning in her new Corendon colours. Since then the engines have been removed from the pods in preparation for towing across the airport, over the canal and across the fields to the Hotel where it will become “The Boeing 747 Experience”, due to open later in the year. We trust the opening ceremony will be as good as the naming ceremony in 1989, held in the KLM hangar at Schiphol when she was blessed by Thai monks flown in from a monastery in the Laksi area of Bangkok. She made her first flight to Thailand in 1991. The Amsterdam Corendon Village Hotel itself opened last year and is the biggest hotel in the Benelux Region with 680 rooms (and soon a Jumbo Jet!). We worked out that, to be on the safe side, it will take about 14 years before the Hotel clocks up 6 million guests staying over. The move to its new site is expected to take five days. Access will be through the front passenger door but quite what the interior will be converted into is not yet clear. Hope they keep the bar. <3>

Super duper CAA ATZ Policy Statement issued
The CAA have issued a new policy document concerning the establishment and dimensions of Air traffic Zones for our deliberation. Opening the document (which has no number!!) named, somewhat evocatively, ‘Replacement ‘Establishment and Dimensions of Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ)’, reveals that it outlines and provides new forms and guidance notes when applying for an Air Traffic Zone. It supersedes the edition published 17 February 2016. “What?” I hear you say, “No stakeholders roadmap-type talk?” Fill in for a laugh and send it in on April 1st. Only kidding.

Black Horse All Fools Meet dates…and a One Man Meet!
Couple of last minute dates for the diary. The Black Horse Balloon Club has just announced that the long standing All Fool’s Meet will be back from 19-22April and they are also planning a One Man Meet from 31 May-2 June. The pub is now under new management and has had a bit of a makeover. The original chef is still cooking away so the food is great. For us lot the field has been tidied and the grass is being managed on a regular basis so all looks well. Come and be bonkers in Bucks. See how HS2 are getting on. They’ve found a hillfort over the road from the pub. Free camping on the lauchfield only feet away from grub and beer. For details of either event please contact

The Bicester Beech 18
Now there are piccies and there pictures that capture the moment. This really is rather lovely. A rather shocked-awake Barry let it be known that explosions, gunfire and general pyrotechnics have been going on at Bicester Airfield, home of Bicester Heritage Centre, in the middle of the night. Then later that same day appeared a rather lovely Beech 18, like what Phil Dunnington managed to fly to America in, doing landings, take-offs and circuits. Turns out it is all about a new TV series being filmed. Its called Pennyworth and is set in the 1960s and based on Alfred Pennyworth who becomes Batman’s butler. The sun was setting when Barry managed to get this evocative shot of the final landing of the day. Magic. The Beech 18 C45 1164 Facebook page.