The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), Flight Operations Standards Department (OPS), conducted a study visit to Spain for hot air balloons. This initiative received assistance and support from the EU-South East Asia Aviation Partnership Project (EASA-SEA APP) under the EASA Arise Plus initiative. The project, which began in August 2022, focused on hot-air balloon operations in Thailand. Mr. Matthias Borgmerier, an EU-SEA APP balloon operations expert who also serves as a balloon instructor and examiner, provided valuable assistance and recommendations for the development of hot air balloon aviation regulations and applicable laws under the Air Navigation Act B.E. 2497. Consequently, OPS extended the duration of the Extended Hot Air Balloon—Thailand Project to 2023, with operations scheduled to commence in February 2026.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) invites members of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to participate in a hot air balloon study visit scheduled between September 25 and October 6, 2023, in Madrid and other locations in Spain. The visit aims to explore the Spanish civil aviation authority (AESA), two hot air balloon operators, and a hot air balloon manufacturer. This visit provides practical insights into the safe and proportionate oversight of hot-air balloon operations in Europe. The EU-South East Asia Aviation Partnership Project (APP) funded the travel and accommodation costs for the five participants from the CAAT. During the study visit to Spain, the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency (AESA) shared insightful information on the hot air balloon safety oversight system and the supervision of hot air balloon operational practices. Ultramegic Company, a manufacturer of hot air balloons and aircraft maintenance units, provided guidance and details about equipment production, airworthiness requirements, and maintenance processes. Additionally, the Spanish hot air balloon operator AeroTour enhanced their knowledge by offering insights on the Approved Training Organisation and Continuing Airworthiness Part CAO/CAMO components of hot air balloon courses, along with their experience in flying hot air balloons.
These study visits provide participants with a valuable opportunity to observe and gain firsthand experience in hot air balloon activities, with a specific focus on ensuring regulatory compliance, acquiring technical knowledge and skills, and conducting field trip studies as part of the CAAT training development for Hot Air Balloon Inspectors.