What can I get started with now - towards my PPL(b) Licence?
One of the best ways to gain experience quickly is by having a good understanding and background knowledge so any practical training ‘slots into place’ more quickly. A great place to start is by reading the approved Cameron Balloons Flight & Maintenance Manual – available FREE here: It is packed full of information for the Balloon Systems Examination and is the basis for all practical flight training.
Other useful study books are:
The Air Pilots Manual Vol 2, Aviation Law, Meteorology Trevor Thom Airlife Publishing Ltd ISBN: 1 84037 305 9
The Air Pilots Manual Vol 3, Navigation Trevor Thom Airlife Publishing Ltd ISBN: 1 84037 140 4
The Air Pilots Manual Vol 6, Human Factors & Pilot Performance Trevor Thom Airlife Publishing Ltd ISBN: 1 84037 166 8
Pilot's Weather Brian Cosgrove The Crowood Press ISBN: 1 84037 027 0
& For entertainment and history
Falling Upwards – How We Took To The Air Richard Holmes William Collins ISBN: 978 0 00 738692 5
The Aeronauts LTC Rolt Longmans ISBN: 9780582107748
Where can I find the complete UK PPL(b) Syllabus & practice questions?
The syallabus and a few practice questions for the ground-based theory PPL(b) exminations is available in the British Balloon & Airship Club Training Manual - and can be bought from Cameron Balloons
What theory UK PPL(b) examinations will I have to pass?
Air Law 30miutes / 20questions
Balloon Systems 45mins / 30uestions
Human Performance 30miutes / 20questions
Meteorology 30miutes / 20questions
Navigation 90minutes / 25questions
What do I need to do or pass, in order to get a UK PPL(b)?
You need a minimum flying experience of at least 16 hours within the preceeding 24 months.
You have to undertake a minimum of 6 flights
You have to have made a minimum of 4 flights with a BBAC approved Instructor; the other hours may be with any valid PPL(B) holder (pilot should have at least 50hours P1)
You need to keep a flight log with flight training records completed by the instructing pilot.
You need to keep a BBAC training log; this is a requirement of the BBAC not the CAA.
You need to be recommended by a BBAC approved Instructor for a flight test with a CAA Examiner.
You need to undertake a flight test examination with a CAA approved Examiner.
You need to perform a solo flight under the supervision of the Examiner or an instructor who is delegated by the Examiner.
You need to take the written examinations; Aviation Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Balloon Systems and Human Performance & Limitations.
You need to have a Medical declaration of fitness signed by your GP.
You should attend an approved Landowner Relations Seminar.
You need to complete the written examinations and flight test within a 24 month period.
Don't worry though, the standard required is based on common sense and being safe... it is really on a level with being able to drive a car!
I just need to undertake the UK PPL(b) theory exams...
If you just need to do any UK PPL(b) written examinations, Hannah Cameron, BBAC Ground Examiner is happy to adjudicate at Cameron Balloons Ltd, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 4NH during factory hours at a mutually agreeable date and time.
Cameron Balloons are supporting Aerobility, which helps disabled people fly - so exam 'charges' will now be £15 per examination all of which will go to that great cause.
(Note: Normal charges per examination are recommended by the BBAC to be about £35each)
Happy revising and we will keep you posted on Facebook, with monies raised.
To make arrangements to sit your UK PPL(b) examinations, please contact Telephone: 0117 963 7216 Email:
What can I do after I have qualified as a UK PPL(b)?
BBAC Records and Badge Schemes
Competition Flying both for fun and at National and International level
Fire & First Aid Courses
RT (Radiotelephony) Courses
CPL(B) Examinations and Courses
BBAC Instructor Ratings
& BBAC Examiner Ratings
I just need to renew an exisiting UK PPL Balloon Licence...
If, as a pilot, you have not met the currency requirements and have either exceeded 13months or more than 4years without flying - it is quite straightforward to get ‘back up to speed’.
Currency is described for the UK PPL(B) as the pilot having to make 5 ascents as Pilot in Command within the preceding 13 months or satisfactorily pass a GFT (general flight test).
However, if your non-flight period exceeds 13 months you need to obtain a valid medical certificate and pass a GFT with a CAA appointed PPL (B) Examiner or undertake the balance of outstanding flights either under the direct supervision of a current BBAC Instructor or Examiner or as solo flights.
Or, if your non-flight period exceeds 4 years you need to obtain a valid medical certificate. Apply to the Chairman of BBAC Examiners or the CAA by email for an assessment of the amount of training required before undertaking a GFT. (Cameron Balloons can help with contact details ) You may then require some additional training & practice flights and a GFT and possibly some theory exams, to read the manuals and to understand any new air-law changes and lastly you may also need to attend a landowner relations training session.
Let us know how we can help, to get you FLYING, contact or +44(0)117 963 7216