Annual General Meeting 25th April 2024

EBF Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held 25th April 2024. This meeting of the national representatives of EBF member states will deal with the finance report, discuss proposed changes to the Statutes of EBF and will elect the new Executive Committee. The meeting will receive reports on EBF’s activities in 2023 and plans for 2024-25. The national representatives can bring suggestions and proposals to the EBF AGM, so balloonists in Europe are urged to liaise with them to send contributions for consideration at the EBF AGM.

EBF Executive Committee (EC) Meeting of 21st February 2024

The EC met to discuss general business and particular topics.

Preparations are being made for the Annual General Meeting, 25th April 2024, where some updates of EBF’s Statutes will be proposed.

New members of the EC are required from 25th April 2024 and national representatives have been urged to consider being candidates.

Progress on work with EASA was reported, though the pace of adjustments to regulations is inevitably slow. Current initiatives include changes for Part 66 licensed engineers, a possible introduction of a “self-declared” medical for pilots flying non-commercially and on the routine updates of Parts BFCL and BOP. 

Paul Spellward, General Secretary

Minutes of Executive Committee meeting of 30th October 2023

In attendance:

Patricia Lamy (PL)
Karel Abbenes (KA)
Jan Andersen (JA)
Paul Spellward (PS)

Succession Planning:

It was reported that France may have identified a new representative to EBF and similarly NL. Meanwhile, the opportunity to motivate existing EBF representatives to join the Board via them being present at the Saint Emilion meeting was lost as the event was cancelled due to weather. Paul will consult possible Board members through other routes.

FINANCE /Bank account

All fees have been collected for 2023.

EBF is registered as a French association, as there is apparently no way to register it as a European association. Since the creation, the President is in France and the account in a French bank. With a change of President, and potentially the President in another country, we need to find a solution which does not depend on specific people. The issue remains open.

Karel reported that EGU has no solution other than to keep the account in the name of their chairman.

EASA interactions and meetings (update)

In preparation for the EASA meeting (Karel and Paul will attend) on 6-7 November, EBF Board confirmed the following policies:

  • Removal of Age 70 limit for pilots flying for Commercial Passenger Ballooning (CPB)
  • Introduction of Pilot Medical Declaration for non CPB flying – this is a proposal already being put to EASA by EAS which we will support.
  • BFCL/BOP changes already agreed by the Board (document dated 1st Jan 2022)

Items from list of suggestions collected through EBF submission process need to be collated for next meeting for clear approval by the Board or not.

EBF information on Training Courses

The webpage is running since July. There are no new submissions from DTOs. Italian DTOs are not being advertised because Italy is not a member of EBF. [We asked key people in Italy if there is any possibility Italy could join and it seems not, due to intractable politics there] [this policy decision on a 2:2 vote with casting vote of the President against promoting Italian DTOs]

Next meetings of EC

31st January, 19h30 by Zoom 21st March, 19hy30 by Zoom


25th April, 19h30 by Zoom.

EBF participation at the EASA General Aviation Community (GA-COM) meeting 6-7 November 2023

EBF had a successful visit in Cologne, maintaining contacts with key senior EASA people and making progress on important topics. EBF working alongside the European Gliding Union and EASA on a solution for recency of balloon and sailplane (Part 66L) engineers, most of which only work on a very part time basis. We joined discussions in support of lower medical requirements for non-commercial ballooning, potentially a pilot medical declaration rather than a medical certificate from an aviation doctor. We had first meetings on the review of the pilot licensing (BFCL) and balloon operations (BOP) regulations. Clearly, EBF will be doing a lot of work in the coming years to support the ballooning community in Europe.

Paul Spellward, General Secretary

Gordon Bennett gas balloon race 2023

EBF members have been following Gordon Bennett gas balloon race for 4 days, hardly finding time to sleep. We thank the American organisers who have done a terrific work.

What the crews have achieved from Albuquerque this year is incredible, and we would like to congratulate all of them.

We have especially happy that the podium is entirely European, with two French and one German crew. This proves the excellence of European Balloonists. Thank you Eric Decellière & Benoit Havret, Willi and Benni Eimers, and The “two Benoit” (as we call them in France) for bringing us so much joy and passion.


EBF has an important role to connect pilots, students, instructors and training organisations across Europe. With the harmonised rules now in place, it is easy to take training courses outside your home country. EBF has launched a webpage to give information on training courses for students (BPL initial issue) and for instructors (FI(B) initial training and FI(B) refresher courses). The BPL training page should help students who are seeking to do some training away from their own country, perhaps for a concentrated period. The FI(B) page should help instructors find course outside their own country, when such courses are not available or not scheduled soon enough where they live.

For this service to expand, EBF is asking DTOs to send information on their courses via the submission form at:

EBF at EASA meeting

On the 27th and 28th the quarterly EASA General Aviation TeB and Com meeting has taken place. The European Ballooning Federation was represented and brought the topic of Part 66 L to the table and supported the lighter medical and fitness proposals.

Other topics of interest were U space and I conspicuity and the Figures on accidents involving balloons were presented. I would inform you on the outcome of the meeting.

What is U Space and does is have implications for ballooning?

The drone community requires airspace. They have worked out new rules and regulations for drones which are now in place. ( )

There is a short animation which explains the drone rules for the general public ( )

Drones have fairly strict new rules on the use of airspace which all drone pilots should know and adhere to. Drones can either use the airspace together with other airspace-users in which they are able to avoid other aircraft. Alternatively, they have separated airspace in which other aircraft are not allowed to fly. We of course do not support the separation of airspace in which we cannot fly. 

We are looking for safe integration of drones and other aircraft. Drones my fly up to 120 meters and not many other airspace users are affected. Balloons, paragliders, paramoteurs and other are affected. We also use very low airspace for landing and take-off which could be anywhere where terrain is suitable.

There is a potential risk of meeting a drone during take-off or landing under 500ft. EASA have introduced to mitigate this collision risk, electronic visibility, or electronic conspicuity. If we want to fly in U space we will need to be electronically visible to other airspace users. A transponder with S mode does not qualify as being sufficient. Transponders do not provide GPS data and are therefore unsuitable for this purpose.

What could we use to be electronically conspicuous? EASA have worked out the so-called ADS L Automatic Dependant Surveyance light. The solution is in the form of the use of a mobile telephone. Your position can be calculated and visualised if using the ADS-L App. At this moment there is one App you could use which is Safesky. Others will follow doing the same. The app is free in the basic version.

We have the impression that U space will not be introduced quickly. The NAA’s need time to put all the needed requirements in place. It may take some time before we see the first U-Space om the aeronautical maps.

We are now informed about U space and electronic conspicuity, and we will keep you informed on any progress.(see attached presentation)

There was a topic brought to the meeting by the Danish NAA about the use of handheld radio’s and the need to have an RT licence. The conclusion was that if you need a radio in order to fly in airspace where this radio is required you need an RT licence. (no change from the current situation) If you are using the radio for communication other that required by the airspace and therefore not for aeronautical use an RT is not needed. (see Part BOP.BAS.355 and 360)

The annual safety review was discussed, and I include the sheets presented.

(see enclosures)

Medical fitness and flying.

There was a presentation on introducing the medical certificate in EASA countries  comparable to what they have in the USA and the UK. A declaration from the pilot would be enough to be medically fit to fly non commercially. There was a long debate and we all agreed that this would be a good way forward for non-commercial balloon flights. EASA will internally discuss this issue and come back to us with a proposal.

Part 66L for balloon technicians.

EBF presented an urgently needed adjustment of the rules on getting and keeping the Part 66 licence for all balloon technicians. All current technicians have been “grandfathered” (received the licence because of historic technical work on balloons). The renewal date is 2025 and 2026 and you must have carried out considerable work on balloons to qualify for renewal. We have suggested a change in the wording of Part 66 or write an Alternative way to comply (AltMoC) with the legal wording but these we rejected by EASA. They had an alternative interpretation of the current text which we are now studying. If this does not solve the recency problem we have agreed to have a meeting and discuss this issue further.

Any questions?

Please contact:

Final draft Agenda GA.TeB & GA.COM 01-2023

1.1 Annual Safety Review – GA safety

1.6 Pilot medical requirements for non-commercial flying

1.7 Part 66 Light recency requirements

1.8 Safety Promotion

EBF Executive Committee met on 22nd June

The leadership team was reappointed: President: Patricia Lamy (France), Vice President: Karel Abbenes (Netherlands), Treasurer & Webmaster:  Jan Andersen (Denmark), General Secretary: Paul Spellward (UK).

An important topic for the meeting was progress with EASA on Balloon Engineer licensing and early-stage discussions on potential new medical arrangements.

The meeting discussed how EBF is preparing for a review of the Licensing and Operations rules for ballooning. 

EBF will publish lists of training courses for pilots and instructors and is seeking information from DTOs on their courses.

Watch out for updates on the EBF website.


ATTENTION DTOs (training organisations) in EASA region

EBF has recognised the challenges found in some parts of Europe for students to access training courses. Similarly, FI(B) (instructors) may not find suitable local training and refresher courses. The solution could be to join a course in a different country, which is of course entirely possible since rules are harmonsied across EASA states.

EBF will provide on its website a list of DTOs offering training courses to students from outside the country where the DTO is based. This might be a service to students wishing to take an intensive course away from their own country. 

EBF will provide on its website a list of DTOs offering refresher courses for instructors, as required for all FI(B) at least once per three years. We would like to know about all such courses, but especially those delivered in English. Similarly, where initial FI(B) training courses are provided, we would like to inform trainee instructors.

We will collect the information in a structured way using the Google form at the following link.  This link will remain open throughout 2023.

LINK for submissions on Training / Instructor courses:

Paul Spellward, General Secretary