There are no complete study guides or reference books for candidates for the CPL(B) theory examinations to study. In this Help Page I will attempt to give references to questions in the CLWB air law theory examination that are commonly answered incorrectly by exam candidates. I do not provide any guarantee that this material is correct so be sure to cross check it against the reference material.
Do not attempt to use this document as your sole reference source for your CPL (CLWB) Examination as it will not provide you with the background knowledge required to successfully participate in the ballooning industry, it will guide you towards important knowledge points required to pass the theory assessment . Study all of the referenced material thoroughly and completely before attempting the exam!
Table of Contents
- Recommended Study Materials
- Licence Privileges and Limitations
- Medical Certificate Requirements
- Classification of Operations
- Classes of Airspace
- Search and Rescue – Phases
- Flight Notification
- Documents to be Carried in Flight
- Mandatory Instruments and Equipment
- Things that must NOT be Carried in Flight
- Operations near Aerodromes – Rules of the Air
- Aerodrome Signals
- Carraige and Use of Radio
- CTAF Radio Procedures
- No Smoking in a Balloon
- Balloon Low Level VFR
- Aviation Documentation
- Altimetry Procedures
- Maintenance Schedules
- Maintenance Releases
- Flight and Duty Limitations
For the aviation law examination (CLWB) you will need to purchase copies of:
- Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR1988);
- Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR1998);
- Civil Aviation Act;
- Enroute Supplement Australia (ERSA);
- Civil Aviation Orders (CAO);
- Canberra VTC;
- Planning Chart Australia (PCA).
Other reference materials can be downloaded from the CASA website:
- CAAP 92-3 Guidelines for Manned Balloon Launching and Landing Areas;
- CAAP 157-1 Balloon Flights over Populous Areas;
- CAAP 235-1 Standard Passenger Weights;
- CASA Instrument 566/03 Pilot Maintenance of Balloons.
You flying training school will be able to provide you with a copy of the following:
- CAR 259/ 260 Permit.
It is recommended that you ‘tag’ your Regs, Orders, AIP so that you have a quick reference for use in the examination. DO NOT HIGHLIGHT or otherwise mark your documents or you may not be able to use them in the exam!
The CASA website contains specific information about what materials you are permitted to take into the examination and how materials may be marked on the CyberExams – CASA Exam Material provided and required page.
CAR1988 5.139 describes what a commercial pilot (balloons) licence authorises a person to do. The licence authorises the holder to fly a balloon that is engaged in aerial work, or charter operations as pilot in command or as co-pilot for the purposes of acting as pilot in command under supervision. A CPL does not authorise you to act as a pilot of a PRIVATE category flight. Until such time as CASR 131 is in place you need to hold an ABF private pilot certificate to act as PIC or pilot under instruction of a private category flight.
Conversion / Endorsement training is categorised as a private operation.
A pilot with 40 hours PIC experience does not qualify for a CPL so is only qualified to hold an ABF Private Pilot Certificate and may only conduct PRIVATE category flights.
CASR 1998 Regulation 67.155 sets out the standards for Class 2 medical certificates. It mentions that at paragraph (7) that under Annex 1 of the Chicago Convention that medical standard 2 applies to holders or applicants for free balloon pilot licences.
CASR 1998 Regulation 67.205 sets out the periods of force for each class of medical certificate. Paragraph (3)(b) applies to class 2 medicals and states that:
(i) if a person is less than 40 years old when the certificate is issued to him or her – 4 years after the day when the certificate comes into force;
(ii) if the person is 40 years old or older when the certificate is issued to him or her – 2 years after the day when the certificate comes into force.
CAR 1988 Regulation 206 defines the classification of operations.There are currently 3 classifications of commercial operations; aerial work, charter and regular public transport. Any operations operations that fall into a commercial purposes require the operator to hold an Air Operators Certificate. All other operations are classified as Private Operations.
Aerial Work purposes are defined as:
- aerial surveying;
- aerial spotting;
- agricultural operations;
- aerial photography;
- flying training other than conversion training;
- ambulance functions;
- carriage, for the purposes of trade, of goods being the property of the pilot, the owner or the pilot of the aircraft (provided this isn’t done according to a fixed schedule);
- any other purpose substantially similar to those mentioned above.
Charter purposes are defined as:
- the carriage of passengers or cargo for hire or reqard to or from any place, other than in accordance with fixed schedules;
- the carriage, in accordance with fixed schedules, passengers or cargo in circumstances where accomodation in the aircraft is not available for use by persons generally.
Regular Public Transport Operations are for the purposes of transporting persons or cargo for persons generally, for hire or reward in accordance with fixed schedules.
Operations in limited category aircraft (warbirds etc) are specifically excluded from being commercial purposes. CAR 1988 206(2).
Airspace is categorised as either controlled or uncontrolled and each category has several classes within. AIP ENR 1.4 defines the different airspace classes, services and requirements.
Controlled airspace is defined as ‘airspace of defned dimensions within which air traffic control services are provided to IFR flights and to VFR flights in accordance with the airspace classification.
Controlled airspace is a generic term which, within Australia, covers ATS airspace classes A, C, D, E and airspace in which General Aviation Aerodrome Procedures (GAAP) are used.
Controlled airspace is generally established on the basis of the amount and type of air traffic and the flight procedures generally used by that traffic.
- Class A airspace is high altitude controlled airspace and is not available to balloon operations without written approval.
- Class C airspace is used at major, captial city aerodromes like Sydney (Kingsford Smith), Melbourne (Tullamarine) and Brisbane (Eagle Farm) and the military aerodromes.
- Class D airspace is used at major regional aerodromes like Tamworth, Coff Harbour, Maroochydore. This is the classification used for non-radar controlled aerodromes where a tower operates.
- Class E airspace is established below Class A and/or Class C airspace, providing an IFR to IFR separation service in lower density enroute and terminal airspace. In Australia, this includes the airspace within radar coverage that is above 8,500 and below Class A which is not Class C.
- GAAP airspace is defined on the basis of individual aerodrome requirements. The major training aerodromes – Jandacot, Parafield, Moorabin, Bankstown and Archerfieldare GAAP controlled airspace at present but CASA has decreed that these will all be changed to Class D by late 2010.
Class G airspace is non-controlled airspace. Both IFR and VFR traffic is permitted in Class G. A Flight Information Service (FIS) is provided within Class G airspace for handling flight information and SAR requirements. The frequency to be used can be found on airspace charts as the Flight Information Area (FIA) frequency.
CTAF’s are a specially designated pieces of Class G airspace where, because of increased traffic densities, additional radio requirements and discrete frequencies are used in the vicinity of aerodromes.
In the event of an emergency Air Traffic Services (ATS) are deignated alerting posts and are responsible for the declaration of the appropriate emergency phase. There are three phases of emergency which have been established for classifying emergency situations.
- Uncertainty Phase
- Alert Phase
- Distress Phase
Detailed descriptions of the circumstances when each phase will be activated can be found in AIP at GEN 3.6 Section 5.
The Regulation 259 / 260 Permit (4)(c) mandates that certain flights be notified. The following requirements are specified:
(i) for all operations in controlled airspace – SARTIME notified to Air Traffic Services (ATS);
(ii) for charter operations outside of controlled airspace and aerial work operations in designated remote areas – FLIGHT NOTE to be held by the retrieve crew. (No notification to ATS is required for these flights);
(iii) for all other operations – NO FLIGHT NOTIFICATION is required.
(4)(d) however still requires that you leave a passenger list for each flight stage with the retrieve crew. This list must include the names, addresses and local telephone contact numbers of each passenger.
CAR 1988 Regulation 139 specifies the documents that must be carried on board an aircraft when flying. Paragraph 2 removes the requirement to carry items a, b,f and g for aircraft that are operated wholly within Australian territory.
The items which remain in the list are:
- The aircraft maintenance release or other approved document (aircraft logbook in the case of a balloon);
- the licences and medical certificates of the operating crew;
- the flight manual for the aircraft;
- passenger manifest if carrying passengers;
- cargo manifest and bills of lading if carrying cargo.
There are three documents which specify various pieces of instrumentation and equipment that must be carried in a balloon during flight.
- CAO 20.18 specifies the aircraft equipment for basic operational requirements. Appendix X contains the list of instruments required for manned free balloons and hot air airships for flight under the visual flight rules (VFR).
- CAO 101.54 deals with airworthiness certification requirements for manned free balloons. Section 3.4 contains a list of instruments required for a balloon to be certified.
- The Regulation 259 / 260 Permit also specifies some additional equipment requirements for aerial work and charter flights which are conducted by an AOC holder under the permit conditions.
The three documents contain some duplication of requirements so a complete list of mandatory instruments and equipment required for a balloon operating an aerial work or charter flight can be taken as:
- an altimeter, with a readily adjustable pressure setting subscale graduated in hectopascals; and
- a times piece, which may be carried on the person of the pilot, that is accurate to and readable to the nearest minute for the duration of the flight; and
- a vertical speed indicator; and
- an envelope temperature indicator which may be a warning signal type device (temp flag); and
- a free air temperature indicator; and
- fuel quantity gauge or other means such as isolated tanks which can be used in sequence) which enable the pilot to know the quantity of fuel remaining. The gauge or gauges must be calibrated over a rangefrom empty to at least 30% of capacity; and
- a placard with the text ‘No Smoking’ which is visible to all occupants of the basket during all stages of flight; and
- a suitable first aid kit; and
- a magnetic compass; and
- at least two means of igniting the burner; and
- maps and chartscovering the proposed area of operation; and
- for flights in radar controled airspace a mode C transponder (unless specifically exempted by ATC); and
- radio communication equipment specified in AIP for Charter and Aerial Work flights (VHF); and
- radio communication equipment as necessary to permit continous contact during flight with the retrieve crew.
A point to note about VHF radios: AIP GEN 1.5 (1.5) requires that where a radio is not connected to the aircraft primary power supply there must be ready access to backup power. This requirement is taken to mean ‘you must carry a spare battery for your handheld’.
Firearms are OK to be carried on a charter flight but may not be not discharged
CAR 1988 Regulation 143 prohibits the carriage or possession of firearms in an aircraft other than an aircraft engaged in charter or regular public transport operations. It is therefore acceptable to carry a firearm on a charter balloon flight, but not on a private flight. Why CASA would allow the carriage of a firearm on a charter balloon flight is outside the scope of my logic but so are many of CASA’s ideas!
CAR 1988 Regulation 144 prohibits the discharge of a firearm from any aircraft without written permission of CASA.
The Regulation 259/260 Permit to Operate in paragraph (5)(f)(i) prohibits the carriage of infants. CAO 20.16.3 defines an infant as: ‘a person who has not reached his or her third birthday’.
The Regulation 259/260 Permit to Operate in paragraph (5)(f)(i) prohibits the carriage of handicapped persons. Once upon a time CAO 20.16.3 contained a definition for handicapped persons but that has been removed and replaced with a more politically correct requirement relating to: ‘Persons or passengers who require assistance due to sickness, injury or disability’. This is contained in CAO20.16.3 at para.14.
For the purposes of the examination, persons or passengers who require assistance due to sickness, injury or disability who were previously called handicapped persons are not permitted to be carried on board a charter balloon flight.
The Regulation 259/260 Permit to Operate in paragraph (5)(f)(ii) prohibits the carriage of dangerous goods as defined in the Civil Aviation Act 1988. Section 23(3) of the Act defines dangerous goods as explosive substances, things by reason of their nature are liable to endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board an aircraft or which the regulations declare to be dangerous goods. Reference is then made to the ICAO Dangerous Goods List. The Operations / Dangerous Goods section of the CASA website contains a list of dangerous goods.
CAR 1988 Regulation 256A requires that any animal, other than a dog accompanying a visually impaired person, cannot be carried in the passenger cabin of an aircraft (256A para(5)).
The CAR 259 / 260 Permit to Operate in section (5) places certain requirements on the conduct of balloon operations.
CAR 1988 Regulation 163 specifies the rules for operating near other aircraft. The permit imposes some additional requirements.
- When launching you must give way to other balloons or aeroplanes already airborne;
- Whilst in flight you must give way to any balloon at a lower level by climbing to avoid the risk ofthe balloon basket contacting the envelope of the lower balloon; and
- Except during inflation and launching avoid envelope to envelope contact with other balloons.(259 / 260 Permit para. (5)(a))
When within three nautical miles of a non-controlled government or licenced aerodrome additional requirements apply. These requirements are:
- Ensure that the balloon will not conflict with powered aircraft flying within the aerodrome circuit pattern in use at the time; and
- Ensure that no vehicles or personnel enter or cross any runway strip. (259 / 260 Permit para. (5)(b))
When overflying a non-controlled government or licensed aerodrome you must fly at a height greater than 1500 feet above obstacles whilst within three nautical miles of the aerodrome. (para (5)(c))
When operating in the vicinity of aerodromes you need to be aware of the meaning of certain ground and light signals.
Ground signals are used at all aerodromes to indicate the un-availability of certain manouvering areas and the possibility of gliding operations in the vicinity. Descriptions and the meanings of the various ground signals can be found in AIP ENR 1.5 Para 14.3.
Light signals can be used at controlled aerodromes in the event of radio failure. The various light signals are described in AIP ENR 1.5 Paras 14.1 & 14.2.
In certain circumstances the carriage and use of VHF radio is mandatory. The CAR 259 / 260 Permit to Operate section (5)(d) specifies these requirements as at any time a balloon is:
- At a height exceeding 5000 feet AMSL; or
- Within five nuatical miles of a government or licenced aerodrome to which a CTAF applies or a military aerodrome; or
- Within 10 nuatical miles of an aerodrome with a published instrument approach procedure; or
- Within controlled airspace.
The permit also mentions MBZ’s, a term which was withdrawn many years ago. MBZ’s were effectively replaced by CTAF(R).
When within any of these areas you must make reports and broadcasts on the appropriate radio frequency stating callsign, aircraft type, position, level, estimated track and intentions. This must be done prior to entering any of the specified airspace and at such times as requested by the airways operations unit or other traffic within that airspace.
In the event of a radio communications, failure you should continue to transmit intentions and reports whilst complying with the procedures for VFR aircraft specified in ERSA EMERG section.
AIP ENR 5.5 Para 3.2.1 also states that: ‘Pilots of balloons engaged in aerial work or charter operations are required to carry and use VHF radio for communication, as necessary, with other aircraft and with ATS’. ENR 5.5 3.2.2 goes on to say that: ‘Where a number of balloons are permitted to operate together in the vicinity of an uncontrolled licensed aerodrome, one ballon in each group may maintain radio communications for the group’. This does not absolve any pilot from the requirement to carry a VHF radio, it is just a means of reducing radio clutter whilst still conveving operational information to other aircraft in the vicinity.
AIP ENR 5.5 Para 3.6.3 requires that: For operations in an area of controlled airspace within radar coverage, a serviceable SSR transponder must be carried unless ATC has advised otherwise.
Balloon to Retrieve Communications
The Regulation 259 / 260 permit in paragraph (2)(b) requires that: the Crew shall use a vehicle which is equipped with radio communications equipment capable of maintaining continuous two way communications with the pilot in command of the balloon.
Paragraph (3)(i) of the permit requires the balloon be equipped with ‘such radio communication equipment as necessary to permit continuous contact during flight with the retrieve crew’.
These paragraphs combine to mean that the balloon and retrieve must be equipped with some form of radio equipment which allows them to communicate with each other during all stages of flight. The particular type of equipment is not specified but is typically a UHF CB.
AIP ENR 1.4 Paras 4.2.1 – 4.2.8 detail the radio procedures to be used on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) and procedures at non-controlled aerodromes. Some important points to note are:
- If a discrete CTAF is not listed in ERSA for an aerodrome then 126.7 MHz should be used;
- Pilots of radio equipped aircraft must monitor and make broadcasts on the CTAF when within 10NM of a non-towered aerodrome. NOTE The Regulation 259 / 260 Permit has a less restrictive requirement of 5NM with regard to making reports and broadcasts to with CTAF applies;
- At aerodromes designated CTAF(R) the carraige and use of radio is mandatory for all aircraft. (Remember the permit requires that all aerial work and charter balloon flights must be VHF radio equipped);
- ENR 1.1 paras 21.1 lists the broadcasts for operations at non-towered aerodromes.
CAR 1988 Regulation 255 prohibits smoking anywhere in an aircraft where a ‘No Smoking’ sign is displayed. The CAR259 / 260 Permit to Operate paragraph (3)(c) requires that a ‘No Smoking’ placard be installed in a position that is visible to all occupants of the basket during all stages of flight.
Balloons have a special low level VFR criteria available to enable launch in fog conditions where the is an expectation of the fog lifting prior to landing or the planned flight path will carry the balloon clear of the fog prior to landing. The special VFR criteria are detailed in ERSA ENR 1. The special VFR criteria are as follows:
- Height: Below 500 FT AGL
- Visibility: 100 Metres
- Conditions: By day only PROVIDED the balloon is at least 10 NM from an aerodrome for which an instrument approach is prescribed.
It is worth noting that the majority of aerodromes now have instrument approach procedures thanks to the invention of GPS. You can find the current versions of all instrument approach charts on the Airservices Australia website under Flying Guides and Publications / Aeronautical Information Package (AIP) / Departure and Approach Procedures (DAP).
The Civil Aviation Act, Civil Aviation Regulations and Civil Aviation Safety Regulations combine to provide the legal framework for aviation operations. They are however scant in detail on specific flight or operational rules, these are contained in accompanying documents.
The Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs) contain the operational rules and requirements and the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) is the primary source of information concerning rules of the air.
AIP ENR 1.7 requires that whenever an accurate QNH is available and the aircraft is at a known elevation, pilots must conduct an accuraccy check of the aircraft altimeter(s) at some point prior to take-off.
For VFR altimeters, with the QNH set, the altimeter should read within 100 feet of the correct elevation or 110 feet if the test site is above 3,300 feet. If you ever venture above FL200 you should be aware that VFR altimeters are not permitted on flights above FL200. An IFR calibrated altimeter is required for such flights.
A QNH is considered to be accurate if it is provided by Aerodrome Traffic Iinformation Service (ATIS), Tower or automatic remote-reporting aerodrome sensor. Area QNH or forecast QNH cannot be used for an altimeter check.
Area QNH is a forecast value which is valid for a period of 3 hours and normally applies throughout an Area QNH Zone. Area QNH forecasts are to be within +/- 5 hPa of the actual QNH at any low point (below 1,000 feet AMSL) within or on, the boundary of the appropriate area during the validity period. Area QNH must not differ from an adjoining Area QNH by more than 5 hPa.
Local QNH is provided by ATS, AWS or Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) or by using the altimeter subscale to indicate airfield elevation AMSL.
IMPORTANT: Whilst balloon flights normally only cover tens of kilometers you are still required to know these requirements. You are required to set local QNH if known, otherwise aerodrome elevation prior to take-off. All cruise operations should be conducted using a known local QNH of an aerodrome within 100NM of the aircraft and Local QNH for the destination should be set again at the Top of Descent. Additional requirements for altimeter settings for flights conducted at flight levels are shown at ENR 1.7 Figure 1.
CAR 1988 Regulation 41 requires that all (Class B) aircraft are maintained and that there is a maintenance schedule which includes provision for the maintenance of all aircraft components. In the case of most smaller aircraft including balloons the manufacturers maintenance schedule is normally used. This however is not a mandatory requirement, if the owner or operator desires a custom maintenance schedule a schedule approved by CASA can be used. A customised maintenance schedule is the normal practice for large airline aircraft.
CAR 1988 Regulation 42E requires that the maintenance schedule election be made by completing the appropriate approved form which is called a Logbook Statement. The logbook statement is normally kept with the aircraft’s maintenance records.
An example Logbook Statement is provided for your viewing pleasure.
The maintenance schedule for a balloon is determined by the election recorded on the logbook statement!
CAR 1988 Regulation 43 requires that all aircraft have a maintenance release to show that all required maintenance for the aircraft has been performed. The maintenance release can be a stand-alone document of an approved alternative. In the case of most balloons the aircraft logbook is used as an approved alternative.
The maintenance release, regardless of its form, contains details of:
- Time in Service (Reg 43B);
- Period of Validity (Reg 43);
- Any conditions associated with the maintenance release (Reg 44);
- Details of any permissible unserviceabilities (Reg 49);
- Details of any other unservicabilities, defects or major damage (Reg 50);
- Details of any maintenance that has been performed including preventative and corrective maintenance (Reg 42ZE).
As such the maintenance release or logbook in the case of a balloon is the primary document to be referred to when determining whether an aircraft is serviceable.
As a pilot it is your responsibility to ensure that any defects or damage that you find with a balloon are recorded on the maintenance release (logbook) and that you check it prior to flight to ensure that the aircraft is serviceable.
A person performing maintenance is oblidged to record the details of any maintenance (including preventative maintenance) that they perform on the maintenance release.
Inspections are considered to be maintenance so each daily inspection must be recorded on the maintenance release along with the date and the qualification (licence number) of the person making the certification.
CAO 48.1 specifies Flight Time Limitations for Pilots. This is a very old order which was based on industrial requirements rather than any science. Many sectors of the aviation industry have general exemptions to its requirements but alas the ballooning industry has been unsuccessful over many years to get a sensable replacement. Some operator now have Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) in place but you will be examined on the contents of this order.
Some key requirements of this order are:
- A operator shall not roster a pilot for a tour of duty in excess of 11 hours.
- An operator shall not roster a pilot to fly in excess of 8 hours flight time in any 1 tour of duty.
- Tours of duty already commenced may be extended to 12 hours duty and 9 hours flight time.
- A rest period is taken to include at least 9 hours including the hours between 10PM and 6AM. (This is quite restrictive in the ballooning environment where starts before 6AM are the norm).
- A pilot shall not commence a flight and an operator shall not roster the pilot for a flight unless during the 7 day period terminating co-incident with the termination of the flight he or she has been relieved from al duty associated with his or her employment for at least 1 continuous period embracing hours between 10PM and 6AM on 2 consecutive nights. (If you start before 6AM this means that at most you can work without a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) or company exemption is 5 mornings on and 2 off and the days off must be consecutive).
Technical data content credited to Mr Steve Griffin