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January 2022


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Welcome to the January 2022 newsletter.

We are still looking for a name. 

We had many of you vote for our newsletter name.  We were hoping to narrow the mega list of names down to just 10 names.  We had a few names that tied for points, so we have 14 names left.  Please when you have a moment, log into the site and go to the “Welcome All” category and scroll down to the “Past Newsletters” forum.  In this forum you will find the very first topic is the Newsletter Names.   Last month we had you choose your top 6 names and this month we are going to have you choose just 3 from our 14 finalists.  Read the list over carefully because YOU may be the vote that chooses the winning name and our monthly newsletter will forever carry the name you have voted for.  Thank you in advance for participating!

Drone Waiver.

As expected our first attempt at obtaining a waiver to exceed the 400 ft. limit for using a drone to read the winds was denied.  We fully expected this to happen.  Unfortunately the process is not an easy one, but it can be done!  We did learn a bunch of stuff by making the attempt.  First, you need to follow the example of a successful waiver.  Max Moerles has been successful in getting a waiver to use his drone up to 1500 feet.  This provides great wind data prior to a flight.  Some of the important things considered in his waiver.  Pilot observer, an extra pair of eyes to help the drone “remote pilot” operator keep a look out for other aircraft.  Position Lights, visible for up to 3 miles for pre-dawn flights.  Specific Geographic location, GPS coordinates for the operation of the drone.  Specific Timeframe, a period specific (30 min) amount of time to conduct the operation.  The FAA will issue a NOTAM about your flight operation to be given as part of any flight briefing for a pilot operating in that area at that time.  If you have a flying area where there are several pilots who fly on a regular basis it would be advantageous for at least one of your area pilots to become drone certified and set up a waiver for your area.  So,  If you are still wondering about using a drone to read the winds here are some resources  First watch this online video.  DroneWinds.  Next download this presentation DroneWindsPDF then go to Max Moerles site and read his documentation.  Remember you must be logged in to HAB to download files for free!

DO YOU CARE?FAAmedical.png

We have mentioned this in last month’s newsletter but we are now getting down to the wire.  Can you say NPRM?  Do you understand what is about to happen to our wonderful sport?  My opinion is fairly simple; the ramifications of requiring a 2nd class medical for commercial balloon pilots will damage our industry in ways that most do not even comprehend.  I understand that we must do something to make ballooning safer and I am all for that.  The large ride balloons “for the most part” do a great job of being safe however large balloons are more difficult to fly.  I have often said that there is a big difference between driving a bass boat and a cruise ship.  Maybe the large balloons should be in a separate class of their own.  That being said, the small operators will be crushed by regulations of a LOA or a 2nd class medical.  There are Balloon Events that will be harmed by this.  There are special shape balloon pilots that will be harmed by this and even corporate sponsored balloons (like RE/MAX) will be harmed.  Small ride operators will be harmed or close up.  As a result, you will have fewer annuals and repair stations who will lose business, raise prices, or go out of business.  Many private pilots will stop flying because they will have to make a 6hr (or more) trip to the nearest repair station.  There will be a cascading effect that will cripple or destroy Ballooning as we know it.  Do YOU CARE? 

Do you understand what is involved with getting a LOA?  Currently the FAA is understaffed and overwhelmed.  You may have to spend 2-4 MONTHS on the ground “not flying” while you wait to get your LOA approved.  This is if you FAAPerscriptions.pnghave completed the paperwork correctly!  If your application gets rejected and you have to start over, “good luck”.  Do you know what it takes to get a 2nd class medical?  Have a look at THIS FORM.  Can you list every medication you take?  Keep in mind they ask for prescription and NON-prescription medications! Can you go down the list and check off all the Yes/No questions and be prepared to explain any “Yes” answer.  Then can you list all the doctor visits you have had in the last 3 years!  Date, Doctor, Reason for Visit!  Are you beginning to get a feel for what this will do to Ballooning?  How many Balloonists who do ANY kind of commercial ballooning, whether it is an occasional ride, balloon events, advertising, banners, tethers and a host of other activities will just QUIT? 

Do you wonder what the AME looks for?  CLICK HERE to see the AME Checklist.  All 519 pages!

So that all being said..  DO YOU CARE!!??  Time is running out to post your views.  As of my writing of this newsletter the NPRM has just over 50 postings.  When you think about the thousands of pilots this will have a dramatic effect on it is rather sad to think that only 50 people have taken the time to post.  I would like to say thank you to:  Jason Hicks, Dave Bair, Stephen Mroz, Mark Mroczkowski, Jeff Buesing, Sky Sail Balloons (Geoff Turner), Steven Lombardi, Tim Gale, Shari Gale, Barbara Fricke, Micah Lyons, City of Albany Parks & Recreation, Kelly Levine, Dean Vorhees, James Greer, Gary Cooper Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon (Laurie Givin) Daniel Keith, Michael Arbuthnot, Keith Reeves, Peter Turoff, Robert Grimes, Robert Gonzales, Michael Shrum, Cheryl Isaacs, Thomas Pflasterer, John Folsom, Ryan Yde, FAAMecialVisits.pngLawrence Brown, Damien Ristaino, Mark Guenin, David Ammenti, Shawn Knickerbocker.   Regardless of their views on the subject at least they posted an opinion!  I thank each one for this.  We have less than 20 days left.  Please go HERE and read some of the postings.  Take the time and post your own views. There is a limit on the amount you can post on the FAA site.  So you may want to write your opinion in a document on your computer first.  Then if it is too big for the FAA site you can upload the file. 

Look,  My flying days are done.  As many of you know I suffered a nasty hemorrhagic stroke and have not flown since.  With the medications I am on and all of the different doctors I am seeing the likelihood that I will ever fly commercially again is nearly ZERO.   In spite of this I still love this sport.  I love ballooning and the people (pilots and crews) that make this sport so amazing.  I will do anything I can to help it and help YOU in any way that I still can.  If that means having to sit down once a month and be a pest so be it!  DO YOU CARE?   


As many of you know I have supported the BFA for 45 years.  I will continue to support them because I believe that the work they do is important.  Regardless of your opinion of the BFA I do want you to know that we have a category on the HAB site where we post information from the BFA.  We do this because the information that is posted by the BFA is (most often) important to ballooning in general.  Here is a direct link to that category where you can view the different forums and postings within. 


In our monthly newsletter we post a bunch of links to various resources online.  We save each of these newsletters online for your future reference.  If you need to look up something that we have posted in one of the newsletters just go to the “Welcome All” category.  At the bottom of that category you will find the Past Newsletters forum.  Inside that forum you will find all the past newsletters listed in chronological order.  Don’t forget to vote for the Newsletter name while you are there.

The Download Center.

You may not realize this but YOU as a member can share files in our download center!  Think of it as a “DropBox” for Balloonists.  In the Download center there are dozens of categories and hundreds of files.  One of the categories is called “Balloon Related Resources”.  In this category there is a Sub-Category called Balloonist File Sharing.  This is where YOU as a member can upload and share a file. You can share photos, Map files, drawings, Documents, PDF files and more.  Let’s say you have a tether contract you wish to share with another pilot.  Just upload it and send them a link.  How about a video that is too large to email.  Just upload and send them a link.  Here are the details; you can upload up to 40mb.  The file should be balloon related in some fashion.  You must be a logged in member to upload and to download files.  You can also select a purchase price for your file!  So you can actually SELL your file if you wish.  Proceeds will be credited to your account.  Have a look at the HAB Download Center, you may be amazed at all the items you will find there.  Make sure you log in to see the full Download Center.

Welcome to 2022.

Once again I wish to thank each of you for your part in Ballooning.  From Ground Teams to the Pilots, Event Organizer’s, Repairmen and more “Thank you”.  I am thankful to be a part of this amazing world that I find to be so mesmerizing.  I hope that in this New Year, we can move forward and get back to enjoying our sport.  Ballooning is truly an art; I very much miss sharing that “Art” with the first time passengers.  I no longer fly commercially and I have come to terms with that.  I have over 7,400 flights to look back on and memories that span 45 years.  I thank each of you for being part of my little world.  I now spend my time flying a keyboard and creating stuff for balloonists online.  If you need web work of any kind let me know.  If you are not a paid member please consider becoming one.  Encourage your ground team to get a membership.  Remember the HotAirBalloonist.com site was built for YOU.  If there are features you would like to see just let me know.  The Download Center is filled with great video tutorials that explain dozens and dozens of features already built into the site.  The site grows a little more each day because of you,

Thank you for all you do for the Balloon World.

Jeff A Thompson


A Balloon Site built by Balloonists for

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Jeff A Thompson.  Admin@HotAirBalloonist.com 407-421-9322

44 year LTA pilot, BFA member since 1977, BFA Level DA-8, Ed Yost Master Pilot. 6500 flights, 5650 Flight Hours

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