Balloon Rulebook

EASA have published all of our good work regarding Part BOP. The framework of the Balloon Rulebook is also ready for the next publications – click on the image 😀

Part BAC Balloon Aircrew (Former FCL) is now entering the final discussion phase with EASA and we will have our last comments ready by the end of this month.

Newsletter – February 2018

Dear Members,

The results of our efforts are taking shape in this beginning of 2018:

The “balloon book” is becoming a reality: all balloon rules will be assembled in one numeric document, so that it is easy for balloonists and operators to find answers to all questions. The rulebook will contain all rules and regulations regarding the topics relevant to balloonists in the EU. Part BOP (Balloon Operations for commercial and noncommercial flights) Part BAC Balloon Air Crew (containing all rules and regulations on licenses, licensing, currency and recency) Part DTO can be added (Rules on Training organizations).

Part OPS: No more AOC but a simple declaration. This has been approved, voted by the EC, and will start to be in force in 2019. The rules are no longer copied from powered aero plane, but adapted to ballooning and therefore allow more security together with less (but still some) administrative complexity.

Training: The “DTO” (Declared Training Organization” ) is also approved, and member states are starting to implement it. It is also based on the declaration principle, which means that training organizations may start to operate without prior authorization. But of course, they need a training program and facilities. 1 person DTO is admitted. Starting date for fixed wing and helicopters 2018 for balloons and gliders 2019/2020 depending on how far you are in the process.

FCL (licences): An EBF lead task force, chaired by Paul Spellward from UK, has started last year to establish the new frame for European licences. The expert work is now achieved, and it is time for approval from the EASA committee and the EC. Implementing date anticipated april 2020.

I would like to thank the people who work a lot for the whole balloonists community: Karel Abbenes, Jan Andersen, Philippe de Cock, Jean Donnet, Phil Dunnington, and Paul Spellward.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Lamy
EBF President

Balloon Air Operations

The EASA Committee of the European Commission have today voted positively to introduce the first part of the Balloon Regulation, namely Balloon Air Operations.  The EASA Committee meets 3/4 times a year for two-day meetings. This is the fifth consecutive meeting where Balloon Air Operations has been debated, but the first one where a vote of member states has been taken.

The new regulation is expected to be published and to become European law either in late 2017 or early 2018.  However, it will not enter into force until 8 April 2019, with compliance being mandatory by 8 October 2019.

The context was favourable to new regulations, as there was a conjunction of two factors: EASA created the “Road Map for GA”, led by Dominique Roland, which called for simpler and more proportionate regulations for the General Aviation sector, and the balloonists community, through EBF’s voice, strongly rejected Part Ops EU.965.2012 as too complicated and unsuited for balloons.

So Balloon Air Operations has been something of a pathfinder for the GA Road Map.  A group of ballooning experts, drawn from EASA, National Aviation Authorities [NAA], balloon manufacturers, and the European Balloon Federation, have comprised a working group to develop the new regulation.  This was then followed by a number of changes for “legal clarity” by the legal services of the European Commission.

Balloon Air Operations encompasses ALL operations of balloons, including private ballooning, and there is a set of rules specific to commercial operations, (Commercial Ballooning). Therefore, all balloon pilots and operators will need to become familiar with the new regulation, and to undertake whatever is required to fully comply with the rules.  Commercial passenger ballooning operators will have to make significant changes, (depending on the regulation already existing in their own country) including the preparation and submission of a new Operations Manual, and lodge Declarations with their NAAs.  All balloon operators will need to comply with the requirements of Part-BAS, with all commercial operators additionally needing to comply with the requirements of Part-ADD.  EASA, assisted by the ballooning expert group, will publish both guidance material and acceptable means of compliance, which will hopefully be of assistance to the ballooning sector.

So ballooning operators should now be ready for the formal publication of the Balloon Regulation and start preparing for compliance with it at the earliest opportunity.  Accountable managers of commercial passenger balloon operators should provisionally allocate resources towards transition to the new requirements and be very aware that their company has to be ready by 8 October 2019. The process should not be too difficult or costly, especially in countries where good and constructive relations exist between operators and the NAA.

This new regulation which, as we hope, will help ballooning to live well and develop, would not exist without the continuous implication and competence of a small group of people, within the Balloon Air Operations working group: Jan Boettcher, and Philippe Stabenau (EASA) NAAs representatives from France, UK, Germany, Belgium, CZ and the Netherlands, Petr Kubicek from Kubicek balloons (CZ) and EBF’s representatives (Karel Abbenes, Phil Dunnington).

So the work for Ballooning Operations is nearly completed, but a parallel group of ballooning experts, led by Paul Spellward for EBF, are currently working on Balloon FCL (including influencing medical requirements) and a 3rd one have worked on training organisations. About training, the DTO (Declared training Organisation) which will replace the ATO (Approved Training Organisation) has also been discussed these last 2 days, although not voted yet, but it should be approved later on and be enforced in 2018-19 for airplanes and helicopters, 2019-20 for gliders and balloons.

Contact EBF bureau:

Patricia Lamy, President:
Karel Abbenes, Vice President,
Phil Dunnington, General Secretary:

Newsletter – december 2016

Mid-way to the end of the “Opt-Out” voted by most European countries in October 2014, here is an update of our work and progress.

EBF have now become EASA’s main ballooning contact. If things go as planned, European balloonists should have a « balloon book », gathering all rules specific to ballooning, and specifically built for balloonists, instead of texts adapted from fixed-wings rules. This is the direct consequence of our work, combined with EASA’s “GA Road-Map”s credo which is to create “simpler, lighter and better rules”.

This may be a an electronic book covering FCL/BAC Ops DTO Part Med, ARA ORA and other rules applicable to balloons. It will however be a consolidated version and is still under discussion.

We have mainly worked on 3 tasks: Air Operations, Licences, Training.

AIR OPS : a set of rules applicable to commercial and non-commercial flights. This is the first « RMT » (Rule Making Task ») on which we have worked, with meetings all through 2014-15-16, and the publication of an Opinion in January 2016.The idea was to take ballooning out of Commercial Air Transport (CAT) in order to simplify operations, make them less costly and with less paperwork. A simple declaration will replace the AOC. The jury is still out but we have good hopes that we will succeed. News will follow as soon as it is available. CPB (Commercial Passenger Ballooning)  will be introduced instead of CAT. All this to:

  • Point out the differences between ballooning and other GA disciplines.
  • Avoid references to Air Transport
  • Allow the development of specific rules
  • Define and distinguish the Basic rules (BAS) applicable to all pilots, and the additional ones (ADD) applicable to commercial pilots.

You can find the Opinion published on 6/01/2016 :

Part AIR OPS Ballooning should be voted by the EC at the beginning of 2017.

FCL: licences.

As this RMT was started in July of 2016 and is going as fast as possible. EASA have limited resources and have dedicated some of these to this working group., EBF’s Executive Committee went to Cologne in March 2016 to meet Patrick Ky, EASA’s Executive Director, and Dominique Roland, GA Director. The agency proposed that EBF could take the leadership on this task, and create a task force, (TF) with a limited number of people, all specialists. We have nominated a TF President, Paul Spellward from the UK, and several experts have joined the group, which counts 12 people : 1 representing EASA, 4 EBF experts, (Paul Spellward Chairman, Phil Dunnington, Karel Abbenes and Jean Donnet) 2 manufacturers, (Kubicek and Ultramagic) and 5 NAAs (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, UK).

The first meeting took place in July, the second in October and the 3rd should be taking place early 2017, although EASA’s limited resources make it difficult to fix a date.

The general idea is to have only one licence for balloon pilots (so no more « LAPL B “), and then ratings for different competences (commercial, instructor, etc..) with corresponding medical requirements. EBF are doing their maximum to accelerate the progress of this task, and the task force should have finished their work before the end of 2017, but it already seems unlikely that the new licences will be available in April 2018. 2019 or even 2020 are mentioned as new dates.

Training outside ATO

Last May, EASA created a TF to work on the theme: « Training outside ATO », to train non-commercial pilots.  Several options were examined, and the rather complicated EASA rules certainly did not help. RTO (Registered Training Organization) was rejected, then BTO, and the TF pushed the idea of a “DTO” « Declared Training Organisation”, which has been accepted.

DTO global concept is a declared organization, which may train initial training students as well as instructors (FI) and examiners. The Aviation Authority (NAAs)  will evaluate the structure during the year, but the structure just has to send a declaration to start instructing. Minimum requirements are an annual safety review and an activity report.

A manual is not compulsory.

The Opinion: has been published, to be voted by EASA Comittee in March of 2017, and presented to the EC.

GA RoadShow

EASA have been organizing in 2016 a « GA Roadshow”, in several countries, together with the NAAs, to inform stakeholders about the changes in GA. To date, the roadshow took place in Austria, France, Germany and Sweden. EBF president was invited as a speaker to Paris roadshow.

EBF membership

EBF member states are now: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Holland and the UK. If you represent a national balloonist body in your country, and you want to join, please fill in the application form available on the website:


To reach EBF’s Executive Committee, ask for more detail, sign in, please contact one of us:

Patricia Lamy (FR) :
Karel Abbenes: (NL)
Phil Dunnington: (UK)
Philippe de Cock : (Be)
Jan Andersen: (Denmark)
Thomas Herndl: (AU)

Newsletter – december 2015


The only recognised body representing balloonists throughout EASA countries has, for 18 months, presented the regulatory needs of all balloonists in Europe, be they private, commercial, sporting or record-breaking. EBF’s team have been part of many meetings with EASA in Cologne, on your behalf. EBF’s primary target was to simplify the rules and have less of them. After producing last spring a first “manifesto”, EBF have worked out wat would be acceptable and manageable regarding rules and regulations. Too many limitations of our activity would carry the danger of suffocating it. The main targets of our very limited group were:

  • Part FCL
  • Part OPS
  • The ATO

FCL: we have had one meeting only. Because of the departure of Matthias Borgmeijer the process around changing FCL was delayed. A new chairman will bring the group together and we will have the opportunity to further discuss our concerns. If you have any issues that you would like to be brought to the table please forward them to one of us.

OPS: We were able to make considerable changes to the proposals, especially the exclusion of ballooning from CAT. But there are still important questions pending, and especially: do we want an AOC for all commercial flights, or no AOC at all (and a declaration from the operator instead), or, as some countries propose, different levels (AOC for biggest operators, declaration for smaller ones). EBF is strongly fighting for one rule for all commercial operators, without AOC. But to achieve this, we need to show that we are united and that you, members, support us. On October 15a, there will be a decisive one day workshop on Part Ops in Cologne, we will of course be there.

ATO: After long discussions there is a draft paper replacing the ATO for ballooning (and LAPL A-H-G- and BPL and GPL) by an RTO a Registered Training Organisation. The rules are lighter and the organisation is lighter, the costs involved should be lower. The last discussion will be early October of this year after which the document will be open for comments via the NPA.

Only by creating a united front can we ensure the continuation and growth of the activity we all love and on which many livelihoods depend. EBF is not an ‘interest group’ supporting a single element of our discipline, but a body to balance the needs of all participants by drawing on the skill and knowledge of some of Europe‘s most experienced balloonists.

We are now also working on our General meeting, which should take place on January 12th in Paris.

To reach EBF’s Executive Committee, ask for more detail, sign in, please contact one of us:

Patricia Lamy (FR) :
Karel Abbenes: (NL)
Phil Dunnington: (UK)
Thomas Herndl (AU)