12 Mar 2015

Learning To Fly Hot-Air Balloons

Please contact enquiries@cameronballoons.co.uk or +44(0)117 963 7216 to discuss any aspect of lighter-than-air training, we have lots of Factory Team Pilots, Instructors and Examiners who are happy to help. 

Cameron Balloons can make every-step of your way, to becoming a Hot-air Balloon Pilot, simple and hassle-free.

A few Frequently Asked Questions & Facts.

Theory Examinations & Training the in the UK.
In addition to attending Cameron Balloons' individual pre-exam FREE tutorial and a theory examination weekend courses (details here http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/news/pplb-theory-examination-course ) most people join the national, British Balloon & Airship Club and also their local regional affiliated balloon club. In the UK the local balloon clubs often arrange training symposiums, fly-outs, lectures and social-events, which leads to opportunities to meet up with nearby balloon teams to share local knowledge and gain lighter-than-air experience.

Flight Training with Cameron Balloons in Italy.
This is the world’s longest running and most experienced hot-air flight training school. www.aimoballoons.com You will be trained by highly qualified instructors who have successful coached and mentored hundreds of new pilots, working with great professionalism in their very well established hot-air balloon flight school. Flying takes place in an area of Italy where nearly every day is flyable and with an average of two flights each day, most people complete a good bulk of their training within two weeks or so.
Having said this, we are sure that all aerostat pilots would totally agree that experience; in a variety of areas, with different climates, over an assortment of terrains with a few different experienced (over 100hours) pilots who were originally trained by the BBAC, in a few different sizes of balloon, using different configurations of equipment would be extremely beneficial for building-up, long-term experience.

PPL(b) Licence - What can I get started with now?
 A great place to start is by reading the approved Cameron Balloons Flight & Maintenance Manual – available FREE here: http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/support It is packed full of information for the Balloon Systems Examination and is the basis for all practical flight training.
'One of the best ways to gain experience efficiently is by having a good understanding of the theory and some background knowledge so any practical training ‘slots into place’ more quickly.' explains Hannah Cameron

Other useful study books are:
The Air Pilots Manual Vol 2, Aviation Law, Meteorology Trevor Thom Airlife Publishing Ltd ISBN: 1 84037 305 9
The Air Pilots Manual Vol 3, Navigation Trevor Thom Airlife Publishing Ltd ISBN: 1 84037 140 4
The Air Pilots Manual Vol 6, Human Factors & Pilot Performance Trevor Thom Airlife Publishing Ltd ISBN: 1 84037 166 8
Pilot's Weather Brian Cosgrove The Crowood Press ISBN: 1 84037 027 0
& For entertainment and history
Falling Upwards – How We Took To The Air Richard Holmes William Collins ISBN: 978 0 00 738692 5
The Aeronauts LTC Rolt Longmans ISBN: 9780582107748
The Don Cameron Handbook ISBN:0720712203 (Although now out of print - and out of date, the stories of the early days in ballooning are fantastic! A sample of the first chapter is available on our Facebook pages 'Cameron Balloons Ltd' in Albums and it is still available second hand on the internet)

Where can I find the complete UK PPL(b) Syllabus & practice questions?
The syllabus and a few practice questions for the ground-based theory PPL(b) examinations is available in the British Balloon & Airship Club Training Manual - and can be bought from Cameron Balloons sales@cameronballoons.co.uk +44(0)117 963 7216 

What theory UK PPL(b) examinations will I have to pass?
Air Law 30miutes / 20questions
Balloon Systems 45mins / 30uestions
Human Performance 30miutes / 20questions
Meteorology 30miutes / 20questions
Navigation 90minutes / 25questions

What do I need to do or pass, in order to get a UK PPL(b)?
You need to have a medical declaration of fitness signed by your GP or a CLASS 2 medical from a CAA AME (Civil Aviation Authority, Authorised Medical Examiner).
You need to complete the written examinations and flight test within a 24 month period.
You need a minimum flying experience of at least 16 hours within the preceeding 24 months.
You have to undertake a minimum of 6 flights
You have to have made a minimum of 4 flights with a BBAC approved Instructor; the other hours may be with any valid PPL(B) holder (your supervising pilot should have at least 50hours P1)
You need to keep a flight log with flight training records completed by the instructing pilot.
You need to keep a BBAC training log; a requirement of the BBAC not the CAA.
You need to be recommended by a BBAC approved Instructor for a flight test with a CAA Examiner.
You need to undertake a flight test examination with a CAA approved Examiner.
You need to perform a solo flight under the supervision of the Examiner or an instructor who is delegated by the Examiner.
You need to take the written examinations; Aviation Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Balloon Systems and Human Performance & Limitations.
You should attend an approved BBAC Landowner Relations Seminar Day.

Don't worry though, the standard required to become a PPL(b) is largely based on common sense and being safe... it is really on a level with being able to drive a car!

I just need to undertake the UK PPL(b) theory exams...
If you just need to do any UK PPL(b) written examinations, Hannah Cameron, BBAC Ground Examiner is happy to adjudicate at Cameron Balloons Ltd, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 4NH during factory hours at a mutually agreeable date and time. 

Cameron Balloons are supporting Aerobility, which helps disabled people fly - so exam 'charges' are now £20 per examination, all of which goes to that great cause and we will keep you posted on Facebook, about all the monies raised. (Note: Normal charges per examination are £35 as recommended by the BBAC) 

Happy revising! and when you are ready to make arrangements to sit your UK PPL(b) examinations, please contact Hannah Cameron by telephone: 0117 963 7216 or by Email: hcameron@cameronballoons.co.uk


What can I do after I have qualified as a UK PPL(b)?
There are all sorts of further flight or pilot training, national and international competitions and record attempt challenges...
BBAC Records and Badge Schemes
National Records
International Records
Competition Flying both for fun and at National and International level
Fire & First Aid Courses
RT (Radiotelephony) Courses
CPL(B) Examinations and Courses
BBAC Instructor Ratings
& BBAC Examiner Ratings

I am a PPL(b) pilot, I just need to renew an exisiting UK PPL Balloon Licence...
If, as a pilot, you have not met the currency requirements and have either exceeded 13months or more than 4years without flying - it is quite straightforward to get ‘back up to speed’.

Currency is described for the UK PPL(B) as the pilot having to make 5 ascents as Pilot in Command within the preceding 13 months or satisfactorily pass a GFT (general flight test).

However, if your non-flight period exceeds 13 months you need to obtain a valid medical certificate and pass a GFT with a CAA appointed PPL (B) Examiner or undertake the balance of outstanding flights either under the direct supervision of a current BBAC Instructor or Examiner or as solo flights.

Or, if your non-flight period exceeds 4 years you need to obtain a valid medical certificate. Apply to the Chairman of BBAC Examiners or the CAA by email for an assessment of the amount of training required before undertaking a GFT. (Cameron Balloons can help with contact details enquiries@cameronballoons.co.uk ) You may then require some additional training & practice flights and a GFT and possibly some theory exams, to read the manuals and to understand any new air-law changes and lastly you may also need to attend a landowner relations training session.

Let us know how we at Cameron Balloons can help, to get you FLYING, contact enquiries@cameronballoons.co.uk or +44(0)117 963 7216
*Some areas we fly in around the world, also require additional licence ‘ratings’ or ‘permissions’, please contact us for further advice and information. 

Comparision costs of Learning to Fly - Balloons, Fixed-Wing & Helicopters - correct at Oct. 2017

Costs correct at 2017

Balloon Private Pilot
Solo and with passengers...
Fixed-Wing Private Pilot
Solo with up to 3 passengers initially.  

Helicopter Private Pilot
R44 for comparison
Solo + up to 3 passengers.

Who flies the aircraft? Pilots are aged from 18 to 80 !    
Flying Hours Required

Minimum 16hours balloon practical flying - over 7days
in Italy with a BBAC instructor is approximately £3000 (although it usually takes about 20 to 40hours - note accommodation, flight and transfers not included
in the flying costs)

45 Hours @ £180/h = £8,100 (although most say it takes about 55hours) 55hrs x £180 = £9,900
2seaters are cheaper, £160 /hr but there is a weight/height limit of 89kg & 6ft2” per person.

45hours minimum (although most say it takes about 55hours to become proficient at the 27 air exercises)
55hrs x £546 /hr = £30,030

Theory Exams

There are nearly 4hours worth of exams.
Anybody undertaking these exams will need to learn
the information as most of it will be new but it is not overly difficult if you study!
Study hard,know the subjects & aim to do them once!

Pass mark 70%
- Three attempts for each exam permitted
5 papers = Aviation Law, Balloon Systems & Airmanship, Human Performance & Limitations, Navigation, Meteorology

Theory exams should cost about £35 each x5 = £175

There are nearly 4 ½ hours worth of exams.
Anybody undertaking these exams will need to learn the information as most of it will be new but it is not overly difficult, if you study!

Pass mark = 75%
- Three attempts for each exam permitted
9 papers = Aviation Law, Human Performance & Limitations,
Navigation & Radio Aids, Meteorology,
Aircraft (General) Knowledge, Flight Performance & Planning, Communications, Operational Procedures, Principles of flight.
Theory exams should cost about £30 each x 9 = £270

There are nearly 4hours worth of exams.
Anybody undertaking these exams will need to learn the information as most of it will be new but it is not overly difficult if you study!

Pass mark = 75%
- Three attempts for each exam permitted.
7 papers = Aviation Law, Human Performance & Limitations, Navigation, Meteorology, Aircraft (General & Type), Aircraft Performance, Radio Communication.
Theory exams should cost about £90 each x 7 = £630

Instructor / Test Fees

Recommended by British Balloon & Airship Club.
Instructor / Examiner Flight = £0 to £200 /hour if hiring their balloon equipment too.
Note: You usually also have to pay their mileage & accommodation costs if the Examiner has to travel or stay locally too.
(Radio Licence is not mandatory in most places but if you want to do it allow £200)

Test Fee & Admin (including aircraft hire) = £700
Radio Licence = £200

Radio Licence = £200

Medical

Class 2 required for most pilots approx. £130 +/-
(If you are young enough not to need an ECG allow about £200 for the medical if you are over 40)

Medical allow £200 Medical allow £200
Study materials

Allow about £75
Manufacturers Flight Manual – download your FREE Cameron Balloons Flight & Maintenance Manual http://www.cameronballoons.co.uk/support#hot-air-balloon-flight-manual-en

As the PPL(b) exams were written well over a decade ago - it is also useful to refer to the 1992 Cameron Balloons Flight & Maintenance Manual, Iss.7 found FREE on Cameron Balloons Support Pages (scroll down for Manuals : Archive)

Air Pilots Manual – Volume 2 ‘Aviation Law and Meteorology’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-066-7

The British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) Training Manual – available from spares@cameronballoons.co.uk on behalf of the BBAC

Air Pilots Manual – Volume 6 ‘Human Factors and Pilot Performance’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-070-4

Also useful (in parts)
Air Pilots Manual – Volume 2 ‘Air Navigation’ - ISBN 978-1-84336-067-5

Allow about £250 Allow about £260
Equipment

Allow £200 for things you will definitely need:
• Pilot bag
• Pilot log book (red cover)
• BBAC Training log book (grey cover)
• OS 1:50,000 marked up Map (pink cover)
• ICAO (Air chart) Map ½ million scale

Other useful things:
• Good quality sunglasses
• Notepad for writing up lesson notes
& theory examination equipment
Protractor
Calculator (not a smart phone!)
Magnifying Glass
Pens, Pencil, Ruler
Scale ruler – from pilot shops 1:50 & 1:500 scale

Allow £500 for things you will definitely need:
• Headset – get a decent one.
• Kneeboard
• A Map/Chart of your local area
• Log Book
• Safety Checklist for your training aircraft

& things recommended:
• A GoPro, Suction Cup mount and a cable connecting the radios to the GoPro
• Good quality flight bag
• Good quality sunglasses
• A4 notepad for writing up lesson notes
It is a good idea to film and review your lessons to speed up your training process.

 Allow £500 for things you will definitely need:
• Headset – get a decent one.
• Kneeboard
• A Map/Chart of your local area
• Log Book
• Safety Checklist for your training aircraft

& things recommended:
• A GoPro, Suction Cup mount and a cable connecting the radios to the GoPro
• Good quality flight bag
• Good quality sunglasses
• A4 notepad for writing up lesson notes
It is a good idea to film and review your lessons to speed up your training process.

Flying Club Membership cost

bbac.org
£35 to £85 depending on what level you need & where you are based.

Allow about £150 Allow about £150
Local Club This varies from about £15 to £40  .bbac.org N/A usually based at an Airfield N/A usually based at an Airfield
Landing Fees As a private pilot it is traditional to say thank you
with a nice bottle of wine for each landowner.
20flights x £10wine = £200
£15 per landing x55 (at a minimum) = £825

Airfield Fees £2,232

Time permitted to complete the licence & age able to start training 24months
Students cannot fly solo unless authorised or
supervised to do so, by the flight instructor after
they reach 14 years & can apply for the licence
at 16
Students cannot fly solo unless authorised or supervised to do so, by the flight instructor after they reach 16 years and can apply for the licence at 17 Students cannot fly solo unless authorised or supervised to do so, by the flight instructor after they reach 16 years and can apply for the licence at 17
Cost of the licence issue from the Civil Aviation Authority  £153  £153 + RT Licence issue £73 = £226  £186 + RT Licence issue £73 = £259
What next (at additional cost)

After your PPL(B) there are many possibilities:
BBAC Records and Badge Schemes
National Records
International Records
Competition Flying both for fun, national
& international level
Fire & First Aid Courses
RT (Radiotelephony) Courses
CPL(B) Examinations and Courses
BBAC Instructor Ratings
BBAC Examiner Ratings
Self-study is encouraged but tution is available at
extra cost from Examiners.

Train and qualify for additional ratings:
Night flight
Aerobatic
Sailplane (i.e. glider) towing
Banner towing
Mountain
Differences training for tailwheel, floats, skis, variable pitch propeller, retractable undercarriage
Fly a non-EASA aircraft (Annex II) in the UK. 
After your PPL(H) there are some other possibilities:
Additional training to ‘convert’ to be able to fly other helicopters, night flight & instrument ratings,
Licence validity and how to keep it valid.

To maintain currency, a pilot has to make
5 ascents as Pilot in Command, within the
preceding 13 months or satisfactorily pass a general flight test with a PPL(B) examiner

Your licence will be valid for life but your flying privileges need
to be revalidated every two years. This is done in either one of two ways:

The simplest is to have a Proficiency Check with
an examiners within the last three months of your experience. This is a flight test of your general handling skills and will normally last about one hour.

Otherwise revalidating is done with flying experience. You will require in the last 12 months of your validity period, 12 hours of flying.
These 12 hours will need to be a minimum of 6 hours as pilot in command, there will need to be logbook evidence of 12 take-offs and 12 landings and there must also be a signed off dual flight with an instructor of at least one hour.
*Allow £450 per annum to cover this bi-annual cost

Once the PPL is attained it is important to remain in practice as the regulations call for a minimum of 2 hours flying for each helicopter type or group of types per year plus an annual proficiency test with an examiner.

Additionally, to enable you to carry passengers you must have completed at least one flight within the preceding 90 days

Vehicle costs *To and from airfield & flight retrieve - could be
shared too - depends how far you fly but say
an average of 40miles a flight (there & back with a trailer)
*To and from airfield depends how far it is from your home… *To and from airfield depends how far it is from your home…
 Grand Total

£4258
Simply put.... ballooning is an easy & great-value way to get you & your friends flying!
All prices are indicative only at 2017 and are subject to VAT and may change without notice.
*These prices are not included in the calculation as they are locally variable.

£13,221
All prices are indicative only at 2017 and are subject to VAT and may change without notice.
*These prices are not included in the calculation as they are locally variable.

£34,391
All prices are indicative only at 2017 and are subject to VAT and may change without notice.
*These prices are not included in the calculation as they are locally variable.

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