Safest Aviation Sport In The World
Hot Air Ballooning is the safest aviation sport in the world?
If you are paying good money, there are certain criteria that you should know about, but may not be aware of regarding hot air balloon safety and legality.
No Pilot, even if he or she has a valid pilots licence, is allowed to fly for reward, unless it is under the auspices and control of a Company that is licenced as an Air Service and has a valid Operating Certificate issued by CCA (Commissioner for Civil Aviation).
The Operating Certificate certifies that the Air Service has been inspected and shows:
– that adequate Passenger Legal Liability and Third Party Insurance is in place;
– the registration letters of the particular hot air balloons the Air Service is allowed to use for hire and reward;
– that the hot air balloons are all Certified as being maintained and signed off by a currently licensed AMO (Aircraft Maintenance Organisation);
– that the hot air balloons are type-certified and have been manufactured by a company licensed to do this.
Each aircraft (hot air balloon) also carries documentation including:
– A Flight Folio book in which the aircraft hours are recorded after every flight, and shows when the Mandatory Inspection is due in both hours and date;
– A Certificate of Airworthiness, Certificate of Ownership, Certificate of Safety for Flight.
Each Pilot must carry a valid Pilot’s License and all Pilots are supposed to be aware of these regulations.
Any reputable Licensed Air Service MUST be able to produce these documents (or certified copies) on demand. If they can not, then you can decline to fly and demand a full refund on any pre-payments as the flight could be classified as illegal, thereby invalidating insurance and possibly prejudicing your claims against the operator.
Use only companies that operate legally. They might be more expensive because they pay more for acceptably manufactured hot air balloons, pay insurance premiums, pay licensed Aircraft Maintenance Organisations, keep proper records and operate within the parameters of an approved Operations Manual.
Many people may try to sidestep the regulations – but in the event of an accident, their excuses may not hold water (or air) in a court of law.
We also recommend that not only for hot air ballooning but any tourism product or service that you buy, you use a SATSA (South African Tourism Services Association) Member. This organisation is internationally recognised as the foremost tourism association in the region whose membership is confined to Companies that operate within a Code of Conduct embodying high standards of business, legal and financial ethics, and is affiliated to, or recognised by many other organisations worldwide.