The NPRM we have all been dreading is out. We will have until December 11 to respond. The BFA is sending out letters with all you need to know about writing your response. If your not a member of the BFA, shame, shame. But ask your BFA friend to share his info so you can write your letter. You might even need that friend to help you spell the simple words in that letter.
The main interest to balloonists in the NPRM is the Balloon Instructor Rating. If put in place, ballooning as we know it will leave forever. Your brother-in-law wonít be able to give you your biennial as he does now. Students will have to look long and hard to find an instructor. And itís going to cost a pretty penny. If the weatherís bad, you made the trip for nothing. And fewer students will mean fewer pilots and fewer balloon sales. The whole sport will be on a definite down turn.
I have over 3,700 flights and a recent flight I put a basket print on the top of a Cadillac. I distinctly remember my instructor telling me not to land on top of cars. This past August had a lot of balloon crashes. Bones broken and things dented and torn. All the pilots involved had at least 600 hours. Not all were pilot error, but instruction had nothing to do about preventing any of these crashes.
Then I think about the idiot pilot in front of me at a recent event trying to register a balloon two months out of annual. Or the other joker that was way past his biennial. (His brother-in-law must have been sick.) And what about that pilot writing in the August issue of BL about taking off with empty tanks. I donít know what his instructor told him about checking for fuel, but it must have been wrong. You always check the spit valves on all tanks before you take the basket off the truck and if you donít have fuel, leave the basket on the truck and go eat breakfast. Talk about a bunch of jerks_ Wait, I have the solution. Recall all balloon licenses and make every pilot go through the certification process again. Sounds like we need it.