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Manned Free Balloons

What is a balloon?
A balloon is a lighter-than-air aircraft that is not engine driven, and that sustains flight through the use of either gas buoyancy or an airborne heater.

What regulations and policies pertain to balloons?

Can I use a gas medium other than helium to inflate my captive gas balloon envelope?
You may only use those gasses that are approved for use in your balloon.  Some balloons are approved for lifting gasses such as hydrogen or "city gas".  Review your operators manual and/or the balloon type certificate data sheet to determine the gasses approved for use in your balloon in the interest of aviation safety.

Am I required to have a compass in my balloon?
You are required to have a compass if the balloon design is of the captive gas type.

Can I use another manufacturer's basket or burner on my hot air balloon?
You may use another manufacturer's basket or burner on your balloon if the basket or burner is FAA-approved for your balloon. This is normally accomplished by means of a Field Approval or Supplemental Type Certificate.

Does a balloon require a Flight Manual?
No. Flight manuals are only required for rotorcraft and airplanes that were not type certificated and had no flight time prior to March 1, 1979. (14 CFR Section 21.5). Flight Manual requirements are also addressed in the Type Certificate Data Sheet for balloons as well.

What if I have additional questions regarding balloons?
If you have additional questions regarding balloons, please contact the Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City, Missouri.

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