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Guideline No. 29: Hot Air Balloons | Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario

  • ISBN: 978-1-4249-9952-1
  • Issued: June 2009
  • Content last reviewed: August 2010

Hot Air Balloons

This Guideline is intended to provide recommendations for the safe use of Hot Air Balloons

  1. Any balloon that is inflated and standing must have a Transport Canada certified pilot. A qualified pilot shall be utilized to pilot a balloon, or dirigible. A dirigible or airship is a lighter than air aircraft that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders, propellers and other thrust. See Canadian Aviation Regulations Standards (CARS) 623.21 for specific pilot qualifications.
  2. Utilize a qualified pilot to pilot the hot air balloon. All Federal, Provincial and local regulations must be followed and proper documentation obtained.

  3. Prepare plot plans and graphics to locate landing area, intended flight paths, and designated emergency landing sites. Included should be the types of special effects that may be used in conjunction with the hot air balloon.
  4. A pre-flight safety meeting should be held and documented with appropriate personnel involved in the sequence.

  5. Only personnel essential to the filming of the balloon should be in the area. All other personnel should remain at least sixteen (16) metres (50 feet) away from the balloon.
  6. Prior to the launch and during the operation of the balloon, communication between one designated ground contact person and the pilot should be established and maintained on a radio acceptable to the pilot and aerial coordinator.
  7. If safety becomes a question at any time, the aerial coordinator or the involved pilot shall have the authority and the responsibility to call an abort of the operation. However, in the event of a dispute the pilot will have the ultimate authority to abort an operation.
  8. No smoking is allowed within thirty three (33) metres (100 feet) of the balloon or any of its components.
  9. Check on predicted weather conditions in the areas of the launch site, flight plans and landing site. Provide as much advance notice as possible to the pilot as regarding any weather problems, such as high winds, rain or lightning. Sudden changes in any of the above could delay or cancel the flight plans.
  10. Balloon Support equipment is very important and parts are easily damaged while on the ground. Do not step on any part of the balloon or tether ropes.
  11. Keep all sharp objects, heat sources or open flames and non-essential equipment at least thirty three (33) metres (100 feet) from the balloon.
  12. A chase vehicle should be assigned to no other duty than to support the balloon crew.
  13. A chase vehicle should be assigned to no other duty than to support the balloon crew.
  14. Before any stunt or sequence is to be performed, all persons involved should attend a safety meeting and be thoroughly briefed as to any potential hazards and safety questions prior to the filming.
  15. If an emergency occurs, do not touch any part of the balloon. Immediately call 911. A designated balloon ground crew person should take charge and coordinate rescue operations.
  16. No change to the preplanned stunt and/or special effect sequence should be made without holding an additional flight safety meeting with all appropriate personnel involved in the sequence.
  17. If anyone involved in the sequence (production staff and all other persons necessary for filming including emergency, safety and security personnel) are unsure about any part of the balloon operation, ask the pilot.

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