According to 14 CFR part 43, Appendix A, preventive
maintenance may be performed by the owner/operator
of an aircraft who holds at least an FAA Private Pilot
Certificate with a balloon rating. You may only work
on a balloon you own or fly.
The following is a list of preventive maintenance that
may be performed by the owner/operator of a balloon.
• Replacing defective safety wiring or cotter keys.
• Lubrication not requiring disassembly.
• The making of small fabric repairs to envelopes
(as defined in, and in accordance with, the balloon
manufacturers' instructions) not requiring load tape
repair or replacement.
• Refinishing decorative coating of the basket when
removal or disassembly of any primary structure or
operating system is not required.
• Applying preservative or protective material to
components where no disassembly of any primary
structure or operating system is involved and where
such coating is not prohibited or is not contrary to
• Repairing upholstery and decorative furnishings
of the balloon basket interior when the repairing does
not require disassembly of any primary structure or
operating system or interfere with an operating system
or affect primary structure of the aircraft.
• Replacing seats or seat parts with replacement
parts approved for the aircraft, not involving
disassembly of any primary structure or operating
• Replacing prefabricated fuel lines.
• Replacing and servicing batteries.
• Cleaning of balloon burner pilots and main
nozzles in accordance with balloon manufacturers'
• Replacement or adjustment of nonstructural
standard fasteners incidental to operations.
• The interchange of balloon baskets and burners
on envelopes when the basket or burner is designated
as interchangeable in the balloon Type Certificate Data
Sheet (TCDS), and the baskets and burners are
specifically designed for quick removal and
Any maintenance not specifically listed above must
be performed by a certificated aircraft mechanic,
repairman or certified repair station, or the
The following are some considerations that are not
usually included under maintenance, but which affect
the condition of a balloon.
Storage The worst enemies of balloon fabric and
baskets are moisture, heat, and light. Store your
balloon covered in a dry, dark cool place, preferably
on a pallet so air can circulate around it. If your balloon
is stored in a dry climate for a long period of time,
place a plastic bucket of water in the basket and
enclose the basket with an opaque cover. The water
will raise the humidity near the rattan and keep it
flexible. In humid areas you should try to keep the
balloon dry to avoid mildew. If you store your balloon
in a covered trailer, the trailer should be light-colored,
parked in the shade, and ventilated. (A closed, dark
trailer sitting in the sun will become an oven, and the
heat will degrade the envelope and dry out the basket.)
Handling The way a balloon is handled will affect
its life. Simple things like lowering, not dropping, the
balloon from its transport vehicle onto the launch site,
and carrying, not dragging it across the ground, will
prolong the life of the basket and envelope. Avoid
walking on the fabric. The inspection can be done
from the mouth and top openings or from a side vent,
without walking on fabric. Even shoes may damage
Volunteer crews may sometimes be necessary, and
are often overenthusiastic. Explain to them very
carefully your procedure for inflating and packing your
balloon. Ask them politely not to step on the fabric,
suspension cables, or rattan.
Transportation If you tie your balloon to a vehicle,
or trailer, devise a system that does not crush the
wickerwork or the basket edge. Cover the basket to
protect it from dirt, ultraviolet, and weather.
Launch/Deflation Site Check for objects at your
inflation/deflation site that may damage the fabric.
Clear the site of rocks, glass, and sticks.
Inflation Fan A large, high-powered fan running at
high speed will weaken the fabric in the mouth of a
balloon over a period of time. Two-stroke fans, or
poorly-maintained fans, will blow pollution into the
envelope and shorten fabric life. Prior to using the
fan, you should check condition of blades, motor
mountings, and security of the blade cage or guard.