EBF 2022 activity report

The Board of EBF has been quite active in 2022; we will of course give more details during our next General Assembly in spring, but as the year begins, we would like to share our activities with you.

  1. EASA Season Opener:

In January we started with the EASA’s Season Opener. The preparations started in January with discussions with EASA and the Member States to make sure our presentation would be in line with the other GA presentations. The final presentation was on March 21st and was followed online by more than 200 balloonists from all over the EU. In April we had a debriefing and concluded that in 2023 we should make some improvements and make sure more balloonists participate.

  1. AERO Friedrichshafen:

In late April we were present at the AERO Friedrichshafen (at no cost to EBF) and were part of several presentations of EASA. 

  1. General Assembly:

On May 10th we presented our work and plans at the EBF Board meeting. The minutes have been sent to all members,  and can be found on the Website. 

  1. June 30th EASA meetings: 

We participated in an EASA meeting on several topics: Electronic Conspicuity, U-space. Part 66 licencing for balloon engineers, flying in Natura 2000 areas.

  1. Meeting with drones industry, and U-space issues:

On October 6th we had a meeting with the drone industry representatives to discuss the future. Our position toward drones and U-space is that we welcome newcomers to the airspace but that they need to be aware of us and not limit our freedom to fly. We are a strong supporter of electronic visibility by drones and other air mobile systems, but we should not be confronted with any new requirements for investments in equipment. We have supported solutions such as Safesky, which is an simple App on your phone that makes you electronically visible to other airspace users. 

EASA has now published the new Drone rules and regulations (https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/document-library/easy-access-rules/online-publications/easy-access-rules-unmanned-aircraft-systems ), which gives us a good insight of the future of drones and other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). This legislation is however not for Manned Drones. 

The main achievement is that the introduction of U Space (Airspace for drones and where we must be electronically visible (Electronically Conspicuous)) from January 26th 2023 (see SERA 6005c: https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/document-library/easy-access-rules/online-publications/easy-access-rules-standardised-european?page=13 ) will be postponed in most countries for maybe a year and the EASA advice is not to have U Space above 500 feet. We will keep you updated on this topic

  1. New EASA team, and strategic issues:

In October 16-17-18th we have participated in a meeting with EASA to discuss issues that are problematic to us and get to know the new EASA team. Dominique Roland has retired and Boudewijn Deuss has also retired. Both were very much involved in ballooning and advocates of our interests. The new Team now is Vladimir Foltin (GA Roadmap Champion) and Alain Leroy (Heading up the GA Team) We have had the opportunity to discuss all topics that are now on our agenda with them. We are a member of the EASA GA TeB, (General Aviation advisory member states group) and General Aviation Com group, which are very strategic groups, where a lot of lobbying can be done. We have participated in the meeting of the 5 and 6thof December. Here again we discussed the Part 66 requirements. We were asked to propose a solution that is workable for the ballooning community. This now being prepared.

We also had the opportunity to meet with the legal expert and have reserved time for an update of Part BOP and BFCL if required.

Another topic of interest may be the development of an Electronic Operations Manual based on Web Manuals. This may in future be something for all members to use. This is still work in Progress.

So, as you see, there was a lot of work. It is not easy to communicate very often, as topics run generally for several months, and EASA demands discretion. All this work has been done by a very small number of people in our Board (mainly Karel Abbenes, our Vice President and Paul Spellward, Secretary General), and we would like to be better organised in 2023, so that other members can take responsibilities and be part of the working groups.

Please let us know wether you would like to help and participate in one or several tasks. The whole Board wishes you a very happy 2023, with lots of safe flights!

Karel Abbenes, Jan Andersen, Patricia Lamy, Paul Spellward

Merry holidays and a happy new year

European Ballooning Federation wishes all European Balloonists very merry holidays and a happy new year. May the clouds that fly over Europe vanish soon, may we come back to a more peaceful and respectful relationship with Nature, and for us balloonists, may we fly often and safe in 2023.

Patricia Lamy, President

EBF in GA Season Opener

On March 21st, EBF participate in EASA’s “GA Season Opener”, which is actually taking place online until March 25th.

Find here the programme of our presentation!

Patricia Lamy will tell you all you always wanted to know about EBF.
Paul Spellward will explain in detail how the rules were made, how they can be improved, and what we do with the ongoing rules. 
Allie Dunnington will focus on safety matters   to help you prepare for this season.
Bastien Lefrançois will give useful advice on how to comply with the regulations in your balloonist’s everyday life.
Karel Abbenes will be happy to share with you a questions & answers session.

So don’t forget to join us on March 21st at 7:pm CET on https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81006151301?pwd=WDByTDRkQVhoT3MwdEJtK21tZDBpdz09

Message from the European Ballooning Federation (EBF) regarding U space and I conspicuity

What is this all about? U space is reserved airspace for manned and unmanned airspace for aerial vehicles like drones and Urban Air Mobility Vehicles.

There are a lot of new developments and initiatives that will promote and develop aerial vehicles used for tasks that are now carried out by helicopters or other vehicles. As an example, air taxi and low-level activity with drones. These activities need airspace which will made available to them by the National Aviation Authorities. This airspace is reserved for this activity and called U-Space.

We as EBF are advocating that we need to be able to fly our balloons and have no or hardly any negative effect from the use of U space airspace. EASA have introduced new legal wording in SERA 6005(c) which reads as follows and is applicable as of January  2023 ( see: Easy Access Rules for Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) | EASA )

(c) U-space airspace

Manned aircraft operating in airspace designated by the competent authority as a U-space airspace, and not provided with an air traffic control service by the ANSP, shall continuously make themselves electronically conspicuous to the U-space service providers.

ANSP is Air Navigation Service Provider. This means that we have to make ourselves Electronically visible/detectable as of January 2023.

In order to make clear how this can be done we have attached several presentations which you can have a look at: Pre-Recordings for Webinar on iConspicuity – YouTube

We (EBF) have commented on the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA-2021-14) and have made clear that we would support a strict separation of drones and other airspace users as long as they are not limiting the use of airspace for balloons. We feel that drones should not hinder our balloon activities. 

EASA has proposed several solutions varying from ADS B( Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast) which can be expensive, ADSB LIGHT with several yet unproven technology including not installed equipment such as telephone technology in 4 and 5 G. 

We have experimented with SAFESKY which is an APP on your telephone device making you visible for drones and other aircraft. We are looking at the maximum height/altitude on which this APP is reliable. 

Since U space is in many countries limited to 500ft ( with exceptions) this would mean that the App needs to make us electronically visible/detectable up to 500ft. We have seen that this is under most circumstances the case.

This message is to inform you that this is a topic for EBF and that we are involved in finding suitable solutions for the balloon operators and pilots. More news when this is available!

More information: kaa@ballooning-federation.eu

Solidarity with Ukrainian balloonists

Dear balloonist friends

Like all Europeans, EBF members express strongly their solidarity with Ukrainian people, and especially with our Ukrainian balloonists friends.

If there is a way we can help, for instance in welcoming Ukrainian balloonists families in one of EBF countries, or sending helpful stuff, please let us know.

We also have many Russian balloonists friends, and we know they are not responsible for what happens. We do hope the situation will be resolved soon, in respect of both Ukrainian and Russian people.

Patricia Lamy

Happy New Year

Dear balloonists across Europe,

2021 has been a difficult year, as well as 2020, and we have no guarantee that 2022 will be better!

Or maybe it will! If we do not give up hope and trust in ourselves!

Last month, our dearest friend and UK representative to EBF, Phil Dunnington, has deceased, and he certainly was an example for all of us, always cheerful and never giving up, with an incredible knowledge of everything about aviation and ballooning.

In 2022, we will follow his example and continue working for the future of our discipline, so that young generations of pilots benefit from a pilot-friendly environment. We will keep you posted.

In the meantime, have the best Christmas and New Year celebration. Let us meet again in the skies in 2022.

EBF Executive Committee.

Phil Dunnington

We have just learnt that our dear friend and EBF General Secretary Phil Dunnington has passed away this morning in Amman, due to a serious Covid. His wife Allie is still in the hospital, also with Covid. It is a terrible shock, as Phil was such a good friend and a precious contributor to ballooning rules. We address our most sincere condolences to Allie, and their children. We will always remember him as a great and very cheerful person.

EBF’s Board in a pub in Bristol, after 2019 General Meeting