Balloon Federation of America
The Board of Directors for the Balloon Federation of America held their winter meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in early February. The surprise of the meeting was the resignation of new board member Bill Bird. Bird represented the Western region. He cited work commitments that prevent him from fulfilling his duties.
Balloon Life has learned that the remaining board members will conduct a ballot in early March among themselves to select a replacement. The leading candidate for the position is Koh Murai of Sparks, Nevada. It is unclear whether the BFA will hold a special election this summer, when three board seats are up for election, to allow the Western region members to have a voice in who represents them.
The big announcement at the meeting was made by the Competition Division. The CD stated that it had received two excellent proposals to host the next three year round of the National Championship. Rantoul, Illinois was selected over Grand Forks, North Dakota. Champaign County, Illinois is no stranger to balloon events with active participation in nearby Champaign and Danville. The Competitive Division plans on awarding Grand Forks a significant alternate event.
In the area of education, the BFA announced that written materials are now available for teachers to use in elementary and secondary school classrooms.
Several new committee appointments were made by the board. Bill Cloninger will be the new membership chairman, Trish Behrmann the new BFA awards chair, and Nancy Griffin will chair the new balloon club committee.
For more information contact the Balloon Federation of America, P.O. Box 400, Indianola, IA 50125.
Cameron Balloons US
Cameron Balloons US, Ann Arbor, Michigan has announced that certification has been completed for Cameron U.S.' two largest ride balloons æ the A-300 (300,000 cubic feet) and A-315 (315,000 cubic feet). These two new models offer the highest certified gross weights among all U.S. certified balloons in the industry æ 6,000 and 6,300 pounds, respectively, and come equipped with the Smart Vent and either triple or quad Ultra burners. And, with respective payload capacities of nearly 4,500 and 4,200 pounds (laden with 80 gallons of fuel), and sizable double T-partition baskets ranging in size up to 66 x 147 inches, passenger comfort is not spared in the pursuit of high passenger loading.
Prior to the certification of the A-300 and A-315, Cameron's largest U.S certified A-series was the A-250, with a certified gross lift of 5,000 pounds and a payload of nearly 3,400 pounds. Mike Howard of Cameron U.S. told Balloon Life that "the certification of these two new models has further expanded Cameron's range of the U.S. industry's highest gross lift envelopes, starting at 160,000 cubic feet and upwards. This demonstrates our commitment to continuing to offer the most capable ride balloon of choice the world over." Cameron Balloons, Bristol offers several U.K.-certified envelopes that are even larger in volume, ranging through the A-340 and A-375, up to the mammoth A-530 (530,000 cubic feet). Cameron has already received an order for an A-315, which will go into service in April, 1997 for an operator in the Midwest.
In a separate announcement Cameron said that the City Destroyer is coming. Citizens of some of Europe's largest urban centers may flee in terror when the space ship that can vaporize towns with its four destructor beams hovers their way. Well, perhaps not all the citizens, but those that have seen the blockbuster sci-fi epic Independence Day could experience a sense of deja vu.
Fortunately, this City Destroyer is courtesy of Cameron Balloons, and is the latest in a long line of flying replicas produced, including such shapes as the U.S. Space Shuttle Nassau Bay built and delivered in 1995.
The special shape balloon is a little smaller than the film version, being a mere 100 feet in diameter and standing a little over 50 feet in height. Nearly 12,000 feet of fabric were used in the construction of the balloon envelope, which is fitted with eight halogen lamps to represent the Destructor Beams. Also, special effect smoke can be generated in the basket for a totally alien appearance. The balloon, which will be touring Europe to support the Film, is operated by Flying Pictures.
For more information contact Cameron Balloons US, P.O. Box 3672, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, phone (313) 426-5525, e-mail: email@example.com.
In addition to Steve Fossett's flight half-way around-the-world in January, several other aeronauts have been making record flights recently. February 1-3 Michio Kanda and Hirosuke Takezawa of Japan set a new duration record for AX-10 through 15 size category hot air balloons. The duo took off near Calgary, Canada and landed 50 hours and 38 minutes later in eastern Montana near the town of Jordon. This was the pairs' fifth attempt at setting the record. Flying a Cameron N210 they bettered the mark of Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson's Virgin Pacific in January of 1991 by more than four hours. Look for their story in the April issue. On February 16 Oscar Lindstrom of Sweden flew his AX-2 category hot air balloon to new distance and duration records. Lindstrom flew 135 kilometers in four hours and ten minutes. His distance surpassed the 56.67 kilometers set by Coy Foster of the United States in 1983. The duration bettered that set by Gunter Schabus of two hours, fifty minutes, and thirty-nine seconds set in 1995. Lindstrom's flight took place between Storvik and Sandvikon-Strangnas, Sweden.
Both claims above have been submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for homologation.
The FAI announced in February that it has homologated the following feminine category flights:
Lesley Pritchard Davies for her flight in an AA-6 gas balloon from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Lisbon, Ohio, October 8-10, 1995. The flight covered 2331.17 kilometers and bettered Nikki Caplan's 1982 flight of 1,357.63 kilometers. Davies and co-pilot Carol Rymer Davis remained aloft for 60 hours and 12 minutes. This broke the record held by Constance Wolf of 40 hours and 13 minutes set in 1961.
February 4 last year Jetta Schantz and Bill Bussey joined together and worked as a team to establish new duration records in different categories. Jetta's record has now been homologated. Her flight from McAllister, Oklahoma to Wellborn, Texas last 15 hours and 11 minutes. This surpassed the time of 11 hours and 10 minutes set by Denise Wiederkehr in 1974.
An unofficial world record appears to have been established by the British Balloon Museum and Library. On February 15 balloonists from around England gathered at the Cardington Airship hangar. During the day a total of 172 balloons were inflated inside the hangar. The organization now claims a record for the most balloons inflated at one time indoors with a total 93 at one time.
Balloon Life extends its congratulations to these pilots and their record setting endeavors.
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federation Aviation Administration has issued Advisory Circular 91-72, Waivers of Provisions of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The advisory circular provides general information regarding waivers.
Waivers are issued by the FAA on Form 7711-1, Certification of Waiver or Authorization, and may contain special provisions with which the holder is required to comply. The FAA may issue a waiver for the purpose of providing the applicant temporary relief from certain designated sections of part 91 for a specific operation or series of related operations. An example in ballooning would be the waivers issued for balloon events that allow pilot to operate a balloon below the minimum safe altitudes in part 91.119.
Applications for a waiver should be made on FAA Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, and are available from any Flight Standards District Office.
National Air and Space Museum
Record setting balloonist Steve Fossett is scheduled to speak at the Langley Theater, National Air and Space Museum on Monday March 24 at 7:30 p.m. His talk is titled From St. Louis to India; The Flight of the Solo Spirit. Fossett's gondola will also be on display at the National Air and Space Museum.
Five Years Ago in Balloon Life
* Earthwinds postponed. Unfavorable wind conditions in Akron, Ohio delayed a planned launch. The team began searching for a new launch site. Richard Branson also withdrew as a co-pilot.
* The Balloon Federation of America revised its position on bungee jumping from balloons, taking a neutral stance. Previously the organization was opposed to the idea.
* The FAA issued a new Advisory Circular on Decision Making, AC 60-22.
* Tom Sheppard and Mark West take opposite sides in a discussion about whether minimum safe altitudes should be lowered for balloons.
Five Years Ago in Balloon Life
* Bill Bussey, Longview, Texas set a new distance record for AX-6 class flying 325 miles. In 1995 he flew 892 miles setting down only because he ran out of dry land.
* The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta announced they had trademarked the terms "Balloon Fiesta" and "The Big One."
* Coy Foster, Dallas, Texas claimed the AX-1 distance and duration records.
* Balloon Life reported on the successful tests flight of the one-quarter scale model hot air balloon that Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson planned to fly across the Atlantic.