EASA Balloon Operations (Part BOP) appeared during March, requiring a number of changes to ancillary basket equipment which must be carried effective 9th April 2019. Whilst the commercial ‘rides’ operators are already compliant for the most part, mainly (most) private balloonists will need extra equipment.
Top of the list for most of us is a 1.5m x 1.8m minimum fire blanket complying with EN1869:1997. Zebedee has been quick to fill that void with a 1.8m square blanket in a soft PVC pouch available for £20 (+£5 P&P). As most fire blankets in domestic/commercial premises are mounted at eye level on walls and pulled from their container from the bottom, this was considered impractical for balloon basket use, so we have inverted the bags, adding a support strap & D-rings at the opening end so they can be pulled upwards from the container. The “new” bottom still needs tie wrapping to the basket so that it does not ride up on deployment.
Also mandated are a dropline (which most of us already carry) which Zebedee can supply, either as our long standing lightweight 50m model or as a custom type to your measurements.
Further requirements are for a First Aid Kit, best bought commercially from a chemists, but for which Zebedee can produce a basket holder given the size of your box/pouch. And lastly a pilot restraint required for any divided basket or oddly any size balloon that has turning vents. Zebedee cannot help here as manufacturers require this to be a factory supplied installation with it unclear if harnesses can be swapped between different manufacturers’ baskets.
Given the ever increasing prices for fuel fittings (and the stainless adapters which join them together) we have had to increase our prices for all refuelling adapters and hoses with effect from this issue by £5. Similarly with the ever increasing cost of postage, which we have absorbed for several years, we are increasing the standard small parcel P&P from £4 to £5 with immediate effect.
Sales notified during March include the Sloggi Racer envelope G-REAR, a 180/210T basket and a Westfalia trailer, whilst a 120 envelope has been withdrawn. New for April are two complete 77s – one has a hefty all HTN-90 N-77 envelope having been rebuilt many years ago, the other an LBL 77B with just 127 hours. Also two bottom ends, Chess 2.5m hard top trailer and a neat “Dolly trolley” from Jim Kettlety.
Finally the sad news that Julian Nott, one of the UK’s first “modern day” balloonists died in a bizarre accident in the USA on 24th March in California. He had landed his experimental balloon on a mountainside in a remote area and during the packing up of the capsule, with Julian and passenger still inside, it tumbled down part of the mountain, Julian sustaining head injuries and died some days later in hospital.
Julian, educated at Oxford was at the first European Hot-Air Meet at Radley School, Oxford in July 1969 and set altitude records in Henry VIII G-AXVU in 1972, and was Vice Chairman and Secretary of the BBAC in the early 1970s. He was a veteran of all sorts of exciting adventures including the Sahara, solar balloon across the English Channel, North Sea crossing, distance record in Australia, altitude record in India, Nazca experimental balloon in Peru and many more. Having spent his later years living in the USA many later day balloonists will not have met him but he will be remembered as a “True Brit” and for his long list of records and achievements over 50 years of flying.