Balloon Repair Station

News 09.02.2020

Camerons take top slots (except Bishy’s)
Apologies but it seems most of this News is Cameron Balloons’ fault and lacks pictures. If you entrust your balloon and its paperwork to your inspector then have a cursory glance over, don’t dwell on it and don’t worry. If you are concerned then give us a ring or call Cameron Balloons on 0117 963 7216.

Sky and Lindstrand amalgamated TCDS shock horror – SB29 issued
In a move set to cheer us paperwork hawks up Cameron Balloons Ltd have amalgamated the Type Certificate Data wotsits for Sky Balloons and Lindstrand Balloons Ltd., what they are now looking after, and issued a new revised TCDS BA.021 Iss9 which covers all the former LBL types (including special shapes) and Sky models. Formally every LBL balloon had its own TCDS. All the old TCDSs for LBL and Sky are now redundant. So how lovely as they are now all under one number now. Simple, smashing, super. To support this Cameron Balloons has issued Service Bulletin SB29 which says, more or less what we just writted matey but is called ‘Consolidation of Legacy Type Certificates’. It’s a paperwork thing dated 05 February 2020. The Accomplishment Instructions refer to Flight Manual changes. For Sky Balloons, update Flight Manual Supplement 8.12 (if used) to Issue 6 or later approved revision. In the case of Lindstrand Balloons, update Flight Manual Supplement 8.46 (if used) to Issue 4 or later approved revision. The preferred Flight Manual for Lindstrand Balloons and Sky Balloons (ref. SL5) is Cameron Balloons Issue 10 Flight Manual and supplements. For balloons still using the Lindstrand Balloons Issue 1 or Sky Balloons Issue 1 Flight Manuals these do not contain Type Certificate references and need not be updated. Got that? Clear as you like then. Your inspector will be able to help you with this and logically do it at the next inspection. Your balloon won’t fall out of the sky without it but, as they say it’s the paperwork that counts!

Interlude – Inkpen Crocus Field
As mentioned in the Welcome bit here’s a place to fly over or visit on foot. The Crocus Meadow in Inkpen. Best time is late February through to late March but it does depend on the weather! The field is a bit tricky to find but best park at recreation ground on Post Office Road, walk south for 30 yards then turn right into Pottery Lane. After 200 m take the track on left between houses. Postcode is RG17 9PT and the OS map reference is SU370641. There is guided walk on 7th March from 10.30 until 11.30. Guide dogs only I’m afraid. We landed up by the gate (o: https://www.bbowt.org.uk/events/2020-03-07-inkpen-crocus-field-walk

Cameron Confusion SB (not mandatory)
Deep intake of breath. Following a note from Cameron Balloons in connection with a revision to Service Bulletin SB20 changing the Compliance Category from Highly Recommended to Required a fair degree of confusion was caused to inspectors and owners alike. The note that accompanied the revision was not that helpful. Service Bulletins were formerly issued with compliance categories of Advisory, Recommended and Highly Recommended. Future bulletins, we were told, will use Advisory, Recommended and Required. Service Bulletins issued at a Compliance Category of Required will be added to the Cameron Balloons Inspection Schedule at the next revision. Some current Service Bulletins may be re-issued with a compliance Category of Required. So, many asked, what does ‘Required’ actually mean. We asked Dave Boxhall, the perpetrator, himself for a better explanation. His response was as always clear and concise. “No Service Bulletin is Mandatory unless it is accompanied by an Airworthiness Directive. Required replaces Highly Recommended. It is not mandatory but will become part of the inspection schedule at the next revision; in some cases it will prompt immediate revision of the inspection schedule (but not this one). It fills the hole in which other companies use ‘Manufacturer Mandatory’. Where the term ‘Required’ is used it may well indicate that an Airworthiness Directive may follow.” Now there is more to this than meets the eye but at risk of sending everyone off to the drinks cabinet I won’t go into to it now but summing up….

Where ‘Required’ is used the risk factor must always be taken in to account. We will always let you know our take on the matter after consulting the manufacturer. There is no need to change the listing in the SB lists unless the SB is re-issued with a new category. What will need to be appreciated is that if the Inspection Schedule changes
to reflect the ‘Required’ status of the SB then the instructions that accompany it will probably have to be applied depending on the wording in the amended inspection schedule so it will sort of then be ‘Mandatory’. We will get some further clarification on this in due course. If, like SB20, it is not going to be included in the inspection schedule then the coupling does not have to be changed. Apologies, SB20 was about replacing brass backed Rego connectors. What has to be appreciated that this service bulletin is applicable to all balloons for which Cameron Balloons Ltd is the Type Certificate holder, regardless of the manufacturer of the burner. It still isn’t Mandatory.

BBML Inflation Day goes O&R
This years British Balloon Museum &Library Inflation Day is all set to take place on Saturday 25th April at Lakeside Lodge, Pidley PE28 3DF. This year officially it is celebrating 40 years of collecting mildewy stuff and smelly envelopes and broken burners but unofficially there will be a chance to meet some old and rusty balloonists. It is rumoured a lot of the old circuit balloonists will be attending, some with suitable knackered balloons no doubt. If the weather doesn’t play ball be sure the bar will be well patronised. It will probably be well patronised whatever!

Cameron SB28 Stratus Burner hanger issued 31/12/2020
Again….Service Bulletin 28-0 refers to the Inspection and possible replacement of the Stratus Double Burner Hanger. The category is ‘Required’ and as such requires an inspection or replacement of the hangers of Stratus Double burners with Serial Numbers 320 or lower. The consequences of Non-Compliance is the possible failure of the burner hanger which may result in one or both cans detaching from the frame, resulting in an unsafe condition. Not to do it would be folly.

The required action is to identify the build standard of the burner hanger by initially referencing the burner serial numbers. If the burner hanger is identified to be issue C or earlier inspect the hanger for cracks in the weld. For such burners with hanger part number CB8504-0000 issue C or earlier the inspection must be repeated at each annual inspection. Should any visible cracks be found further flight with the affected burner is not permitted. Report any observed defects to HYPERLINK "mailto:technical@cameronballoons.co.uk" technical@cameronballoons.co.uk attaching photographs if available. Cracked hangers must not be re-welded. Repair affected burners by replacing the cracked hanger with a new issue D or later burner hanger. Record the inspection in the aircraft logbook. An improved burner hanger, CB8504-0000 Issue D or later is available for retrofit from Cameron Balloons Ltd. The contents of this bulletin will be added to the Cameron Balloons Inspection Schedule at its next revision (Maintenance manual Section 6). Issue D hangers are believe it or not heftier. It isn’t ‘Mandatory’ but bonkers not to comply.

Lindstrand Jetstream Pilot Light Regulator Repairs
This has been a long time coming. Service Instruction 18 has been issued explaining that improved parts for Lindstrand Jetstream Pilot Valve and Regulator units are now available. Camerons state that a small number of reports have been received of leaking Jetstream Pilot Light Valve and Regulator Units. In some cases, the problem has not been rectified by normal servicing. Improved parts are now available for fitting to affected burners. Sorted.

HS2, Rumour Control and Hartley Farm
HS2 has caused a few problems and a fair degree of uncertainty during 2019. The back field has now been fenced of and can no longer be used. Our lease expired in November but back in October we had a visit by Savills, HS2’s agents, and were asked if we wanted to renew to which we agreed. Naturally HS2 put the rent up. We signed the new acceptance lease and that’s the last we have heard. We can’t pay the rent as it will be sent back as the new lease has not been issued by HS2 (we wonder why its so over-budget!). We do have a six month release clause so as every month passes that’s another six months we can be here. With the election results and the continuing uncertainty of HS2’s future prior to Boris arriving we are very unsure of the future of Hartley Farm but will endeavour to do everything to stay put. If the project is cancelled then the farm will sold and probably with vacant possession. If it is decided to further ‘revue, or look at, alternatives for the scheme’ then we are presuming that the farm will not be sold until a firm decision is made. Quite what will happen we have no idea. Obviously our feelings are very split. As a local and seeing the devastation being caused to the Chiltern AONB before the go-ahead has been given and realising the effect it will have on the Chilterns if, or when, it goes ahead we hope it is cancelled or seriously rethought. On the other hand it may end up being put on hold. A contributing factor is the slow downturn in ballooning in the UK at all levels. For the past few years our figures have been going steadily downwards. There are fewer balloons flying a lot less hours and the rides businesses have declined in numbers and moved to larger balloons thus reducing numbers. On top of this more balloonists are retiring. This is a result of other interests and the increasing burden of EASA regulations. Fortunately John and I don’t have huge overheads and drive somewhat older cars. We also enjoy very much what we do but, being realistic, we’d be better off driving a Tescos’ van although other road users wouldn’t approve. We both agree that we don’t want proper jobs so there are no plans to change for the moment but we will probably not go back to four day week until June.

Balloon Events on the up, up and away
Check out the Events pages and you will note a number of new events coming this year and changes of venue. What does sound very interesting and probably very challenging is the Goodwood Balloon Race scheduled for 22-24 May 2020 and organised by Andrew Holly’s Exclusive Ballooning Team. Limited spaces only in the first year so best apply pdq. No entry fee required at this stage. www.goodwoodballoonrace.com/pilot-application/.

Ladies Day Big Hat Special Date tbc
This year’s Ladies Meet is on hold for the moment whilst better weather is being secured. Despite everyone that went to this extremely popular event the weather prevented any flying at all so it will beheld later in the year when hopefully the weather will get involved in a far more pro-active way. To keep updated register at womeninballooning@gmail.com

Lights out at the Black Horse
Very sadly yet again The Black Horse is closed awaiting a new tenant. Despite this it appears that the launchfield is still open. The Black Horse Balloon Club is still active and now convening at pubs locally various. They have a Landowner Seminar booked for 29th March. If you are interested please contact Stuart Skinner Stuart.skinner@live.co.uk

Short Notice-The Old & Rusty Heathrow ATC Club Meeting
We heard about this is a misplaced conversation so were immediately interested. Seems Pete Bish and Celia Kunert are run the 23rd Heathrow Nostalgia Evening now in its 23rd year. Following another 90+ turnout last year, its again returning to the Lasham Gliding Club on Thursday 13th February 2020. Doors open at 1700 and the Gliding Club Café will remain open serving simple but adequate hot meals until 1830. The bar will open around 1700 and the very full Programme starts at 1900. Entry fee (payable on the evening) is a miserly five quid. Amongst the speakers and presenters Al Carter will be on hand as usual with a selection of his stories with some new (old) pictures, mixed with the usual news and banter, so there should be something for everyone! Thanks to Ian Haskell, Tom Singfield and Simon Newbold there is a new batch of Heathrow photographs collected over the years. Ian will be driving the digi projector. Sound system courtesy of Rog Kunert once again.

The Gliding Club has a few basic rooms available at £21 (room only) for a single and £42 (room only) for a double for anyone who wants to stay over. Contact Sharon at Lasham Gliding 01256 384900 to book. If you fancy going please contact Celia celia@kunert.plus.com

Cheery Horsey Christmas
Its become a bit of a tradition now that on Christmas morning we ride down to the village for a glass of port courtesy of Paul the tallest man in Wendover. Best thing about last Christmas was that we managed to staple Pete to his girlfriend’s horse’s saddle and tow him down as well. Pete isn’t keen on riding ever since Bandit the Pony bolted with him aboard aged six. He did hang on upside down around its neck and after everyone had stopped laughing we went in pursuit. Anyway he did jolly well and in the company of several horses and followers with dogs we made it all way there and back. Nice thing is that the roads are quiet and for one day a year everyone is smiling and happy and wave. We sing carols on the way back. I’m getting better at taking pictures no hands and still get told off for riding across the Manor Waste.

Home-builds and equipment
We have been having a few problems with home builds and the bottom ends they are using. Which EASA muppet decided to change the Annex II homebuilt class into Annex1? The problem is that in the main these comprise bottom ends from approved manufacturers which are also used with an approved envelope. Unfortunately some owners seem to not understand that if they stick non approved hoses onto a Cameron burner (for example) then they can’t use it on an approved envelope. This also applies to repairs carried out to bottom ends used on homebuilds. In the old-fashioned days before balloons needed Certificates of Airworthiness it was strongly recommended that the balloon was inspected annually and the vast majority were. Bottom ends using standard approved equipment are subject to Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins referring to the equipment so should at least be considered interesting reading! Our feeling now is that the bottom end should be inspected to the schedule of the original manufacturer unless it’s a homebuilt bottom of course but now I’ve lost the will. We have taken this up with the CAA.

Just when you’ve seen it all numero uno
As part of the annual inspection we eventually removed the jackets off of three Lindstrand Balloon Ltd flight cylinders. The jackets were made by Lindstrand Technologies two of which were only what can be described as having a very tight fit! The inner foam, of the black dense variety, was actually sticking to the cylinder wall.

When we finally got them off the cylinder walls were covered in what appeared to be corrosion. We started to clean this back and it quickly became evident that there were deep pits and corroding stainless steel was actually flaking out of them. Somewhat puzzled we asked the owner what had they being doing with them? It transpired that as the covers were so tight to fit they had elected to douse the cylinders in neat washing up liquid in an attempt to slide them on. This had been successful and no more was thought about it. Thing is that despite what it says on the bottle Austenistic Stainless Steel is really prone to salt water corrosion, especially if it is concentrated. It is also very prone to corrosion when oxygen gets frapped in stagnant solutions. The tightness of the jacket, the sodium chloride in the concentrated washing up liquid and, of course, the trapped oxygen provided a perfect environment and where the patches were dense then the passivity of the stainless steel was destroyed and pitting got going very quickly. Expensive mistake then. The only things to use that helps get tight jackets on is a liberal dose of talcum powder. We use Old Spice just because it smells nice.

Part 66 and the Inspector malarkey
Coming this year will be a thing called Part 66. This is already applicable to aircraft engineers and the like but is now being transitioned to balloons and will be the system used to licence balloon inspectors. In the past the BBAC controlled the training, appointment and auditing of inspectors but in future it will be down to an EASA system overseen in the UK by the CAA. Existing inspectors will convert to Part 66 this year. They will then be ‘employed’ by the various Part M organisations which are being renamed something or other which doesn’t matter. Thing is that training new inspectors and auditing them will fall to the organisations appointing them and presumably training organisations approved to conduct such training. Long and short is that in the future it won’t be that easy to train to become an inspector. Details of the new system are well under discussion and hopefully a way will be found to ensure that those wishing to become inspectors in the future can do it in a simple affordable way. Sadly I think without some sort of exemption there will be problems with getting new inspectors into the sport.

While we are here - EASA Pilot Licensing
I was going to go into one about the future of the UK PPL and CPL but it has been a long day and I’m all newsed out now. It’ll wait a month I expect. EASA licences? EASA Instructors, EASA Examiners. Half the reason private fun ballooning is in the decline in the UK is EASA nonsense or maybe now we’re an island again it may be our saviour. Right enough of that. I’ll write a letter to the editor (o:

When’s a Championship not a Championship?
News just in that the 50th Irish Ballooning Championships, will take place in Birr, Co Offaly, from Saturday 19th to Friday 25th September 2020. The base for the event, and venue for both the morning and evening pilot briefings, and the Survivors Dinner on the Friday night, will be the County Arms Hotel. The main launch site will be Birr Castle and Science Centre. There may be other launch sites added nearer the time. The dates for this year have been extended to give an extra two possible flying slots, and to give people an extra chance to come and see the balloons launch from Birr Castle grounds on the afternoon of the 19th. This will add to our profile and keep all our sponsors happy. This year our sponsors are Offaly Tourism, Grant Engineering and Birr Castle and Science Centre. The first briefing will be on Saturday 19th at 4pm. The usual pilot requirements apply: Class 2 or EASA medical are required, minimum 30 hours P1 and £1,500,000 minimum 3rd party insurance cover. Please note that this is an invitation meet only but if you would like to get on the list then please email Carol Davis caroloneilldavis@gmail.com

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