NEW REGULATIONS FOR BALLOON OPERATION
APPLICABLE BOTH FOR NEW BALLOONS AS WELL AS FOR BALLOONS IN OPERATION
On April 8, 2019 a new EU regulation No. 2018/395 detailing rules changes coming into force while operating balloons.
The above mentioned changes concern the operation rules. They are applicable both for new and already operating balloons.
The original text of the regulation is published on the official website of EASA:
Regulations for balloons including implementation rules are below:
Below you can read a sum of regulations with direct impact on balloon airworthiness. In the event that during the regular check ups any breach of the regulations is found any affected balloon must be grounded untill all defects are fixed:
BOP.BAS.320 Restraint system
Balloons shall be equipped with a restraint system for the pilot-in-command when the balloon is equipped with one of the following:
(a) a separate compartment for the pilot-in-command;
(b) turning vent(s)
BOP.BAS.335 Hand fire extinguishers
Except for gas balloons, balloons shall be equipped with at least one hand fire extinguisher.
(according to CS-31HB the minimum volume of fire extinguishers in a basket is 2kg (4,4lb), i.e. a single 2kg or two 1kg hand fire extinguishers are needed)
BOP.BAS.350 Miscellaneous equipment
(b) Mixed balloons, hot-air balloons and hot-air airships shall be equipped with all of the following:
(1) an alternative and independent source of ignition; (this point complies with the Flight manual article Minimum equipment)
(2) a means of measuring and indicating fuel quantity;
(3) a fire blanket or fire-resistant cover; (caution, the nomex fire blanket supplied till 2018 may be insufficient past Aqpril 8, 2019 see below)
(4) a drop line of at least 25 m in length. this point complies with the standard Kubicek balloon equipment)
CONCLUSION – OBLIGATIONS FOR OWNERS OF THE AFFECTED BASKETS
In the event that some of the above conditions are met the basket must be complete with a restraint harness. Caution, the restraint harness anchors must be of a type that is approved by the manufacturer of a basket. The restraint harness may be replaced with appropriate product of another manufacturer. The restraint harness is not obligatory for every basket, only for basket in actual operation. The harness system anchors can be installed only by a company authorized by the manufacturer.
Replacement or completing of the fire extinguisher (and its holder).
Replacement of nomex blaket with a fire blanket (minimum dimensions 1,5 x 1,8m / 4′ 11″ x 5′ 11″) compatible with EN 1869.