When compared to any other form of recreational aviation, hot air ballooning has an enviable safety record. This is no doubt due, in some large part, to the relatively slow speeds at which we travel, but is also a reflection upon the high safety standards across our industry. Every commercial balloon operating company in the UK must be granted an Air Operator’s Certificate by the Civil Aviation Authority before carrying fare-paying passengers. In addition, pilots of such companies need to hold an unrestricted commercial pilot’s licence (rated on balloons), and the balloons themselves are designed and maintained as public transport category aircraft – just like a commercial airliner!
The pilots are required to take an annual flight exam, and regular medicals by a CAA appointed medical examiner. In addition, company chief pilots regularly observe company aircrew performance, and help to maintain high standards of safety and competence.
So, as you can begin to appreciate, there is a wealth of training and preparation before we even consider launching ourselves into the sky! Take a look at our flights page to see our chief pilot, Andy Rawson, in action!