The winter is almost over and the ballooning season is starting up for another year. On Sunday morning we took two of our special shape balloons to Newton St Loe for their annual airworthiness inspections.
G-LIPS, CAMERON LIPS-90
First to be inspected was our main flying balloon of last season, Polaroid Joycam Lips, built in 2000. While the plan is to give it a bit of a rest this year, we still plan to do some flights in G-LIPS and didn't want the C of A to expire.
G-CDXW, CAMERON ORANGE-120
After that it was time for the orange to be set up and inflated. Many thanks to Pete at Zebedee for fitting the new Velcro's within a few days of drop off. As this balloon operates with a Velcro rip panel system, not the standard parachute, and it was nearing the 100 hour mark the existing material had to be replaced. Otherwise we could only get a 5 hour C of A issued; not much use!
A grab test was done on both envelopes, where the top fabric of the balloon is put under severe pressure and stretched to check its strength. If it tears the balloon can no longer fly. Fabric at the top of the balloon becomes porous much quicker than the bottom, as hot air rises in the cold air. The inner baffles which keep the shapes looking as intended on the outside were also checked. A standard round envelope doesn't have any internal support but baffling can be found on some racer balloons.
Good news - they both passed. Many thanks to our great team for the help. We're now ready to fly!
The plan for 2023 is to have the orange and Slick the dragon as our main flying balloons, but Joycam and Maxwell House coffee jar will also be available (until G-BVBK expires in June). Choc Dips is no longer airworthy and will be appearing at one special event this summer.