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Course Name:
ALC-44: Hot Air Balloon Maintenance for Pilots
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Presented by:
Bryan Neville
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Hot air balloons are the oldest of all attempts at successful human flight. The first recorded manned balloon flight was made on November 21, 1783, in a hot air balloon developed by the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Etienne, of France,  and flown by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes. The precursor to this flight was one on September 19, 1783, which rose to just over 1,600 feet and carried a rooster, a duck, and a sheep!

As one of the Lighter-than-Air categories of aircraft, Hot Air Balloons, are one of the safest aircraft in the aviation industry. As with all aircraft, periodic maintenance is an important part of that safety record. A well-maintained balloon is a joy to fly.


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In the normal course of use, all Hot Air Balloons will require not only an annual inspection and, if used in commercial service, 100-hour inspections, but will occasionally require preventive maintenance and repairs. In some cases, preventive maintenance and small repairs can be accomplished safely and effectively, and we might add legally, by a pilot. Pilot qualifications will be described in Chapter 4.

This course will review and discuss the repairs that a pilot can make on his or her balloon, as well as identifying those that must be left to the certificated mechanic. Note that the approved techniques and procedures will be left for the pilot to find in the Approved Flight Manual or Approved Maintenance Manual for the specific aircraft, both of which are generally provided by the manufacturer of the balloon.





Some of the material in this course is found in the Balloon Flying Handbook, publication number FAA-H-8083-11A, which is available at many aviation bookstores and pilot shops or at this Internet address:

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