A Ballooning MOT

Posted on by 5WC in Aviation, Hot Air Ballooning

Not many people seem to realise that a hot air balloon is a registered aircraft, exactly the same as the Boeing 747 jetting you off on your summer holiday or the whirlybird helicopters used by the country’s air ambulance services. Being a registered aircraft means that in the same way your car required an annual inspection to prove roadworthiness, a hot air balloon is required to pass an annual airworthiness inspection.

This inspection is carried out by CAA recognised Inspectors who undergo training with all the major manufacturers and then work under the umbrella of an approved maintenance organisation. And, as a result of this longwinded trail of countenance, some may argue that this level of bureaucracy oppresses an otherwise basic and simple form of aviation transport, and while suitable to our heavier than air cousins, for an elementary system of fabric and wicker it is more than unnecessary, but whether you agree or not, you just have to look at the safety record of ballooning to see that the system does work. Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Start Of Season Test Flight (A Pilot’s MOT)

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

A hot air balloon is a registered aircraft in exactly the same way as a commercial airliner, fixed-wing plane or helicopter – as a result, you must have a pilot’s licence to legally fly a balloon. In the UK, we have currently have two types of licence for balloons – a Private Pilot’s Licence which allows you to fly a balloon as long as it’s not for hire or reward (i.e. just a pleasure flight with friends on a sunny evening) and a Commercial Pilot’s Licence which does allow you to fly for hire and reward and earn money from flying.

Holder’s of a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, however, and rightly so, have to undergo a test flight with a Civil Aviation Authority appointed examiner every year to ensure continued competency to the required high level of flying. I hold a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, and therefore, have to undertake a test flight at the start of every season. A flight I make with my local examiner, and balloon inspector,  Chris Dunkley. Read more