CAA unlikely to follow hot air balloon advisory

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) does not believe there are grounds to act on an overseas advisory regarding hot air balloons.

The European Aviation Safety Agency is recommending that commercial operators instruct passengers during pre-flight briefings, on how to turn off gas cylinders in an emergency.

It also recommends operators switch to approved quarter-turn valves which are easy to operate. Propane fuel cylinders used in hot air balloons were usually opened with either a multi-turn or a quarter-turn valve.

The European agency said the results of fatal accidents due to the outbreak of fire, showed that an easy and quick way to shut-off of the main gas outlet increased survivability.

The New Zealand CAA issued the safety information bulletin to the industry, but has not issued any recommendations or further advice to operators.

Deputy director of general aviation Steve Moore said if the CAA believed there were immediate safety concerns it consulted with industry.

He said it was unlikely in this instance the authority would be taking the advisory further.

Pilot Denis Hall did not think it would be a good move to instruct passengers on how to turn off the gas. He said it would be like showing them how to turn off the engine of an aircraft.

He said it was difficult to imagine a situation where a passenger would make a decision over and above the pilot to turn off the valves.

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