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29th July: Please note - these rules are being revised; a copy of the latest rules will be published asap

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The Rules of the Queen's Cup Balloon Race 2013 are shown below

(correct on 15th May 2013, please check back for any changes nearer to the event. In the event of any discrepancy, the rules in the document available for download at the bottom of this page will be the definitive version)

CHAPTER 1

1.1 TITLE

This event shall be known as The Queen’s Cup Balloon Race

1.2 DEFINITION OF THE WINNER

The winner shall be the team covering the greatest distance subject to these rules.

1.3 ORGANISERS

The Queen’s Cup Balloon Race is organized by The British Balloon and Airship Club, the ballooning member association of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom.

1.4 CORRESPONDENCE

All entries and official correspondence should be addressed to:
Hannah Cameron c/o Cameron Balloons Ltd. St John Street, Bristol, England BS3 4NH +44 117 963 7216
Email hcameron@cameronballoons.co.uk

1.5 PERSONNEL

Director Don Cameron Jury: the Chairman of the BBAC and two other persons to be selected by him

1.6 DATE AND PLACE OF THE QUEEN’S CUP BALLOON RACE

The Queen’s Cup Balloon Race will be held at a location in the Bristol area (details to be advised) - in October 2013. The programme will be:
Friday 4th (or 11th)
17.00 Check-in 18.00 Pre-competition Briefing 19.00 to 21.00 Hog-roast & social. (Details circulated to Competitors nearer the time)
Saturday 5th (or 12th)
Sunrise: Launch period and Scoring period opens.
Sunday 6th (or 13th)
The time of the end of the scoring period will be given at the Pre-competition Briefing. 19.30 Return Social and Announcement of Results. The dates in parenthesis will only apply in the event of a roll-over due to weather. Weather permitting, the balloons will make a first launch on 5 October 2013 after sunrise. A delay to 12 October 2013 may be used if necessary to assure a safe and successful race.

1.7 DOCUMENTS

At the first briefing the pilot will be required to sign a declaration that the following are up to date and meet the legal requirements for flight and the requirements of these rules.
  • a Pilot Licence
  • b Pilot Log Book
  • c Balloon Registration Document
  • d Balloon Airworthiness Documents
  • e. Certificate of Insurance

CHAPTER 2 ENTRY CONDITIONS

2.1 PARTICIPATION

The Queen’s Cup Balloon Race is open to all balloonists who are members of the BBAC, although only a British citizen may be awarded the Queen’s Cup.

2.2 PILOT LICENCES AND EXPERIENCE

The pilot in command must have been authorised to be pilot in command of a balloon for at least twelve months prior to Friday 4th October 2013 and must have had at least 50 hours experience as pilot in command.

2.3 ENTRY FEE

The entry fee includes competition direction, briefing services and the manning of the Operations Room. Each team will receive four tickets to the Friday Social and the Awards Event, one of which will be allocated to the observer for each event. The entry fee will include a returnable deposit of £100. This amount will be returnable to all competitors who have attended the general briefing, the launch field with a balloon ready to fly and the announcement of results. The total entry fee, including returnable deposit will be as follows: For entries received before 31 July 2013: £250 For entries received 1 to 31 August 2013: £300 For entries received 1 to 21 September 2013: £400

2.4 CLOSING ENTRY DATE

The closing entry date is 21 September 2013.

CHAPTER 3 BALLOON QUALIFICATIONS

3.1 DEFINITION OF A BALLOON

For the Queen’s Cup Balloon Race a balloon is defined as an aircraft lighter than air, supported statically in the air, with no means of propulsion by any power source and which obtains its buoyancy solely as a result of the difference in weight of the lifting heated air and the surrounding air. Balloons of any volume up to 120,000 cubic feet may be entered. Only one balloon envelope must be used for the entire competition; no substitution of an envelope is permitted.

3.2 RADIOS AND EQUIPMENT

Each balloon must carry an altimeter and a 720 channel VHF radio, minimum 5 watt, plus back up radio. Additionally, each balloon may be required to carry a GPS logger/tracking device provided by the organiser.

3.3 MAPS

The official competition map will be the UK 1:500,000 Aeronautical Chart.

3.4 PROHIBITED EQUIPMENT

No balloon may carry breathing oxygen or a transponder.

CHAPTER 4 PROGRAMME, BRIEFINGS

4.1 GENERAL BRIEFING

A general briefing will be held on the Friday evening of the flying weekend. Entry to the competition will be by roll call at the general briefing.

4.2 SUPPLEMENTARY BRIEFING

If it should be necessary to publish additional or revised information to competitors at the common launch area, a supplementary briefing may be held by the Director.

4.3 LATE ENTRY

A competitor may make a late entry after the general briefing at the director’s discretion. Officials will not be available to give a personal briefing except for Air Traffic and safety matters.

4.4 OFFICIAL TIME

The official time is GPS time corrected for the local time offset.

CHAPTER 5 LAUNCH PROCEDURES

5.1 COMMON LAUNCH AREA

An area defined by the organiser and used for the first take-off. A competitor taking off outside the prescribed common launch area will not achieve a result. The COMMON LAUNCH POINT (CLP) is a point in or near the launch area, physically marked on the ground before the beginning of the Event, from which all distances are measured, irrespective of the take off points of individual balloons.

5.2 LAUNCH POSITION

The director may allocate to each competitor a space in which to prepare and inflate his balloon. He has the authority to regulate the operation of all balloons and vehicles on the launch area.

5.3 LAUNCH PERIOD

The first take-off may not be made before or after the launch period. The times will be given at the general briefing.

5.4 OBSTRUCTION

Once his balloon is fully inflated a competitor may not unnecessarily remain in position where his balloon obstructs another.

5.5 CLEARING LAUNCH AREA

Within three minutes of his basket first leaving the ground a competitor shall have passed over the boundary of the launch area or shall have climbed to 500 feet above ground level. He shall not re-enter the launch area below 500 ft before the end of the launch period or until after all balloons have taken off, whichever is earlier.

5.6 SCORING AREA

The scoring area is the whole of mainland Great Britain including Anglesey and the Isle of Wight but excluding all other islands.

CHAPTER 6 FLIGHT RULES

6.1 FLIGHT CONDITIONS

All flights will be carried out under Visual Flight Rules between sunrise and sunset and no part of any flight may be above Flight Level 100.

6.2 LAUNCH

All balloons will launch within a time window fixed by the Director.

6.3 FLIGHTS

The winner of the Cup will be the competitor who has flown the maximum distance from the Common Launch Point to a valid landing made before the end of the scoring period. The distances will be calculated by the arc of a great circle according to the FAI Sporting Code Section One, or by the application of Pythagoras’ Theorem to Ordnance Survey References at the directors’ discretion.

6.4 SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT FLIGHTS

After a landing, the balloon may be refuelled and may take off again for a further flight. There is no limit (other than the extent of the scoring period) to the number of subsequent flights that may be undertaken. All flights, after the first, must be made from the landing point of the preceding flight, except as specified in rule 6.5.

6.5 GROUND TRANSPORTATION OF THE BALLOON

Should it be impractical or disadvantageous to take off at the landing position of the previous flight, the balloon may be transported by road to another location. The location chosen must be closer to the Common Launch Point than the preceding landing position

6.6 LANDING

The precise point at which any part of the aerostat's basket, car or gondola comes to rest on the ground is the landing point. Momentary contact with the ground or water does not constitute a landing, nor does contact between a trail rope and the ground, unless the aerostat is moored. Pilots making a landing on water such as lakes, seas, or rivers will not receive a result for that landing. A landing made after the end of the scoring period will not achieve a result for that landing. In both these cases an earlier valid landing, if any, will be used for scoring

6.7 CALCULATION OF LANDING POSITION

The point of landing will be defined by the geographic co-ordinates in degrees and minutes of longitude and latitude or by the Ordnance Survey coordinates. Other evidence is to be considered if necessary.

6.8 REPORTING

Each landing position shall be passed to the Operations Room by telephone or text message within fifteen minutes of landing by the Official Observer. After fifteen minutes, this shall be by telephone only. The Director may grant an extension in case of extenuating circumstances.

6.9 PERSONS ON BOARD

Throughout the event, the entered competitor must be the pilot-in-command and at least one other person of not less than 16 14 years of age must be carried. That person may perform any duties the competitor wishes to assign to them, except to act as pilot in command. The observer may fly by invitation, but may not perform significant duties. [For example the observer may assist with ground handling, but may not perform map reading, other than for purposes of observing.]

CHAPTER 7 BEHAVIOUR

7.1 LANDOWNERS

Competitors are required to fly with proper consideration for persons and livestock on the ground and to follow good landowner relations etiquette and the BBAC Code of Conduct. Inconsiderate behaviour by competitors or crew members, or endangering the public during flight, may be penalised.

7.2 PERMISSION TO RETRIEVE

Competitors must ensure that permission has been obtained from the landowner or occupier before driving onto any land which is enclosed or cultivated or apparently private or used for agricultural purpose. Permission to take off must be obtained when a balloon has been deflated or moved by road under rule 6.5.

7.3 AIRSPACE

Pilots must be familiar with and abide by the applicable aviation regulations. Pilots must log all ATC clearances given en route; these must be returned to the Director for investigation in case of suspected violations. Infringements of controlled air space will be penalised by a distance penalty or disqualification from the competition. As a guide, deliberate infringement which gives competition advantage will result in disqualification.

7.4 TRACKER SIGNAL

If it can be proved that the signal from a balloon tracker (if used) has been modified, or interfered with, then the Director has authority to penalise or disqualify the competitor.

CHAPTER 8 OBSERVERS

8.1 OBSERVERS

Observers will be used. It will be the responsibility of the balloon team to ensure that they are provided with food, accommodation and transport. They must be given every opportunity to observe the progress of the balloon. The Observer may not drive the retrieve vehicle between take-off and arrival at the final landing point.

CHAPTER 9 COMPLAINTS AND PROTESTS

9.1 COMPLAINT

Complaints concerning any matter should be made to the Director. Complaints shall be in writing in English and will receive a written reply.

9.2 PROTEST

If dissatisfied with the Director’s reply to a complaint, a competitor has the right to make a protest to the Jury.

9.3 TIME LIMITS

The time limit for a complaint is 2 hours after the end of the scoring period and for protest is 1 hour after receiving the Director’s reply to a complaint.

CHAPTER 10 LIABILITY AND SAFETY

10.1 Assignment of Risk

The balloon and other property of a competitor shall be at the risk of the competitor at all times. By entering the Queen’s Cup Balloon Race competitor agrees to waive all claims for injury to himself or loss or damage to his property.

10.2 Competitor's Responsibilities

By entering the Queen’s Cup Balloon Race competitor assumes all liability for injury, loss or damage to third parties or their property and agrees to indemnify the organizers in respect thereof. The competitor waives any right of action against the organiser, the owner of any site and their respective members, employees or personnel for any loss or damage sustained by him in consequence of any act or omission on their part or on the part of other pilots.

10.3 Meteorological Information

All meteorological reports and forecasts and other safety or navigational information is provided in good faith for the guidance of competitors. Officials will be appointed to regulate the inflation and launching of balloons. The meteorological briefing provided for the start of the race will be based on information provided by the UK Met Office. Every pilot is responsible for self-briefing on the weather during the race using sufficient updated weather information to carry out each phase of every flight safely, and direct access by Internet to the UK Met Office’s free online Aviation Briefing Service at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/ga-briefing-services is strongly recommended as this includes a regional ballooning forecast.

10.4 Competitor's Responsibilities and Level of Skill

A competitor remains completely responsible for the safe operation of his balloon at all stages of inflation, launch, flight and landing. He must ensure that his equipment, his crew and his own level of skill and experience are suitable for the conditions in his own judgment.
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Queens Cup Rules V01252.61 KB