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.
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 £15 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.

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