BBAC Badge Scheme – Guidance Notes

Achievement Levels

There are three levels of achievement, Silver, Gold and Diamond using free balloons (FAI Class A). Both the Silver and the Gold Badges require completion of four parts: Altitude, Distance, Duration and Precision (Goal). Three gold performances will qualify for a silver badge.  The Gold Badge can be awarded for achievement of three Diamond tasks. The diamond badges are awarded for separate achievements in Altitude, Distance, Duration and Precision (Goal). For all levels, requirements can be achieved in single or multiple flights.

Qualification and Requirements:

For a the silver badge the distance, duration, altitude and marker drop are set a level that are fairly achievable provided the pilot is prepared to stretch themselves a bit. The gold is set higher and requires much more planning.  While the diamonds badges are for exceptional performance. To ensure that the tasks have been completed there must be sufficient evidence to support the claims; a note from your partner saying that you have done such and such will not be acceptable. The higher the badge claim the more stringent the requirements will be for the supporting evidence.

Silver Badge:

Distance:    A distance of at least 100 km

Duration:     A flight of at least 3 hours

Altitude:      An altitude of at least 3000 metres

Goal:           A prior declared goal-flight of at least 3 km with a marker drop or landing within 10m of the goal.

Three gold performances will qualify for a silver badge.

Gold Badge

Distance:    A distance of at least 300 km

Duration:     A flight of at least 6 hours

Altitude:      An altitude of at least 6000 metres

Goal:           A prior declared goal-flight of at least 3 km with a marker drop or landing within 1m of the goal.

Three diamond performances will qualify for a gold badge.

Diamond Badges

There are Four diamonds, which may only be added to a Gold Badge.

Distance:    A flight of at least 500 km

Duration:     A flight of at least 24 hours

Altitude:      A flight to an altitude of at least 9000 metres

Goal:           A prior declared goal-flight of at least 3 km with a marker drop or landing within 0.1m of the goal.

 

General Conditions:

The candidate must be the pilot-in-command on each flight executed towards any Badge or Diamond, and he may not be accompanied by any other licensed aerostat pilot on flights for the Silver Badge.

 

For the other qualifications any accompanying pilot must have less than one third of the logged flight hours of the applicant, and may not hold any badge tasks that the applicant does not hold before the flight.  This restriction does not apply to competition observers acting under the control of an Event Director during national or International Championships.

 

Any flight may count towards any Badge or Diamond for which it fulfils the conditions.

 

General Notes:

The distance and duration flights are relatively straightforward.  You need sufficient gas, maps, sandwiches etc. and a good forecast and off you go.  Long flights can be boring especially when flying solo so remember to have a supply of spare radio and phone batteries.  You also need someone to witness your take off and landing.  This should preferably be the same person but failing that the farmer or innocent bystander may be roped in to sign a statement to where and when you landed.

 

The altitude is a little more difficult especially when attempting a gold or diamond badge as you will need a good oxygen system.  The silver badge can be attempted without supplementary oxygen.  There are a number of ways recording the altitude achieved during the flight: use a barograph, take a camera with you to photograph the height displayed on your altimeter or take someone with you to witness the altitude or it can be observed from another balloon flying along side. I also suggest that someone on the ground takes some measures to ensure that you cannot tamper with the altimeter (e.g. tape over the buttons & sign the tape) and provides a statement to verify this. If there are a number of pilots having a go at the 3000m badge I suggest that one person witnesses all the altimeters prior to take off.

 

The goal badge is not as difficult to achieve as many people think.  Practice by setting yourself a goal every time you fly.  Markers can be obtained from the Competitions Club – practice throwing them at targets / road junctions.  When you have a go at the marker drop remember to declare the goal before take off (8 figure grid reference please) and to take the marker with you.  You will then need someone to measure the marker drop and to record it (so don’t forget the tape measure either).

Observer Requirements:

The concern that most pilots appear to express is in finding an observer to witness the flight (there are a number of observers around who are available at short notice – contact the BBAC Comps Club).   However, in response to this and feedback from the Regions it was decided to relax the observer requirements for some of the badges that are considered simpler to observe.  This relaxation does open up the prospect of friends / relatives signing each other off, but in practice the only person they are cheating is themselves.

 

For the Silver badges the observer may be any competent person.

For the Gold badges the observer should be an approved observer.

For the Diamond badges the observer must be an approved observer.

Documentation:

General points:  The most important thing you must do to achieve recognition of the distance, duration etc. is to fully document the flight(s).  A scrappy piece of paper simply saying that you took of on 21st November 1783 and flew for 3 hrs will not be acceptable.  Many pilots now fly with a GPS that records their track profile; a copy of this will add weight to your claim.  If you are going to photograph the barograph and or GPS for an altitude flight try and ensure that a date is also visible in the picture.

Goal Flight: If you are carrying out a goal flight you will need someone to record the details of your goal declaration and to measure the distance of the marker drop or landing.

Altitude Flight: You will need a statement from your observer as to the altitude achieved and the method of determining it.

Duration Flight: You will need a statement from your observer as to the duration of the flight and the method of determining it.

Distance Flight: You will need a statement from your observer as to the distance achieved and the method of determining it.

 

Further Information:

Further information can be obtained from:

 

Lindsay Muir     Tel: 01588 638248         email: lindsay@aerostionery.co.uk

 

Rupert Stanley  Tel: 01438 715233         email: rupert.stanley@abros.co.uk

 


 

Silver Badges

Distance

The requirement

A flight of at least 100km without ground contact

Observer level

Any (competent person or approved observer)

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the grid reference of both the launch and first landing position.  The method of determining these grid references must be described – GPS is the preferred method and all digits on screen should be recorded, especially the Ordnance Survey grid square letters.  For those who chose to do the flights elsewhere (e.g. by flying from the UK to France) latitude and longitude positions will be accepted.

Independent witness statements for take off and landing would also be useful (preferably 2 for each).

Duration

The requirement

A flight of at least 3 hours duration

Observer level

Any (competent person or approved observer)

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the time of both the launch and first landing position.

Altitude

The requirement

A flight to an altitude of at least 3000m above sea level

Observer level

Any if flown, otherwise observer must have received training on barometer use and will follow normal procedures for a barometer flight

Observer requirements

For a simple observation, the observer should fly either in the balloon being observed or in another balloon flying along side.  Ensure the altimeter is set to the correct QNH.  A GPS altitude reading can be used as a backup if required.  If observing adjacent balloons, you must be able to observer them at or above your altitude when the altimeter indicates you are at, or above, 3000m.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the QNH for the launch site from met information.  For your balloon, record the maximum altitude from the altimeter.  For adjacent balloons, record the maximum altitude at which you observed them at the same or higher level.

Goal

It is recommended that this be attempted as part of a BBAC Competitions Club or other Organised Competition event

The requirement

Drop a marker within 10m or a position declared prior to take-off, after a flight of at least 3km. Alternatively, if flying in an organised competition, a Fly On goal (selected during flight) will be accepted provided that the marker with the declared goal co-ordinates is dropped in advance, at least 3km from the goal.

Observer level

Preferably Competition club approved observer

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

The location of the goal (target, road junction etc.) must be declared to the observer before take off (except in the case of “Fly On” goals in a competition) and should be precisely identifiable for measurement.  Record the grid reference of the launch position and of the goal.  The method of determining these grid references must be described – GPS is the preferred method for take off and all digits on screen should be recorded, especially the Ordnance Survey grid square letters.  The marker should be a standard competition marker (available from the Competitions Club).  Where the pilot elects to land rather than dropping a marker this will be accepted provided the furthest corner of the basket is within 10 m of the goal.  The marker drop should be measured in metres (to 2 decimal places) with a tape measure.


 

Gold Badges

Distance

The requirement

A flight of at least 300km without ground contact

Observer level

Any (preferably an approved observer)

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the grid reference of both the launch and first landing position.  The method of determining these grid references must be described – GPS is the preferred method and all digits on screen should be recorded, especially the Ordnance Survey grid square letters.  For those who chose to do the flights elsewhere (e.g. by flying from the UK to France) latitude and longitude positions will be accepted.

Independent witness statements for take off and landing would also be useful (preferably 2 for each).

Duration

The requirement

A flight of at least 6 hours duration

Observer level

Any (preferably an approved observer)

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the time of both the launch and first landing position.

Altitude

The requirement

A flight to an altitude of at least 6000m above sea level

Observer level

Due to the oxygen requirements, it is expected that this flight will a barometer recorded flight which should only be observed by an observer who has received training on barometer use and will follow normal procedures for a barometer flight

Observer requirements

Standard for a barometer flight

Recording and reporting requirements

Standard for a barometer flight

Goal

It is recommended that this be attempted as part of a Competitions Club or other International Competition event

The requirement

Drop a marker within 1m of a position declared prior to take-off, after a flight of at least 3km

Observer level

Competition club approved observer

Observer requirements

Standard Competitions Club requirements

Recording and reporting requirements

Standard Competitions Club requirements


 

Diamond Badges

Distance

The requirement

A flight of at least 500km without ground contact

Observer level

Any approved observer

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the grid reference of both the launch and first landing position.  The method of determining these grid references must be described – GPS is the preferred method and all digits on screen should be recorded, especially the Ordnance Survey grid square letters

Duration

The requirement

A flight of at least 24 hours duration

Observer level

Any approved observer

Observer requirements

The observer can fly or follow on the ground.

Recording and reporting requirements

Record the time of both the launch and first landing position.

Altitude

The requirement

A flight to an altitude of at least 9000m above sea level

Observer level

Due to the oxygen requirements, it is expected that this flight will a barometer recorded flight which should only be observed by an observer who has received training on barometer use and will follow normal procedures for a barometer flight

Observer requirements

Standard for a barometer flight

Recording and reporting requirements

Standard for a barometer flight

Goal

It is recommended that this be attempted as part of a Competitions Club or other International event

The requirement

Drop a marker within 0.1m of a point (target/road junction) declared prior to take-off, after a flight of at least 3km

Observer level

Competition club approved or Event observer

Observer requirements

Standard Competitions Club requirements

Recording and reporting requirements

Standard Competitions Club requirements

 

 

Classic Hot Air Ballooning

Many people ask about balloon races, which is not as obvious as it sounds. Balloons travel with the wind, and do whatever the wind does. The wind is different speeds and directions with height. Generally in the UK the higher you fly the stronger the wind, which is caused by the lack of friction with the ground, trees and buildings. Due to the rotation of the earth, generally the winds turn right (veer) with height. However local effects such as temperature inversions, sea breezes, valleys and hills, and thermals sometimes distort the wind so all is not as easy reading the wind as it sounds. Therefore to have a hot air balloon race, all the competitors would fly high, and if they all flew at the same height, they would all travel the same speed!!

Competitions in hot air balloons are better suited for displays of the precision flying skills of the pilot. By reading the wind and flying the balloon to a height that the wind will take the balloon in a direction suited to a number of pre defined tasks. The British Balloon and Airship Association (BBAC) have various awards for achieving these solo or as part of a group competition.

Competition Flying