Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
1. Who owns the Balloon - if I / we pay for it?
This is probably the first question on everyones mind, even though it may not be actually asked out loud.
Anyone can OWN the "balloon" - with this however comes a lot of responsibility and other duties to make sure that it will actually be airworthy and flown.
It is important to understand that the $55,000 are sufficient funds for an Envelop (the top bit) with the advertising put on it AND a retention that allows the rewards (flying or otherwise) been given to the contributors.
A "complete Balloon" of this nature is closer to $100,000. So we really hope that the campaign exceeds the target.
For the Parkes Ballon this means, that balloonists need to contribute their basket, burners, gas bottles, trailer, time (as crew and as pilots), car etc to get the Balloon into the air.
The Balloon also needs to be registered, insured and maintained on a regular basis - it is an Aircraft and underlies the CASA and Australian Ballooning Federation's regulations.
For this project I have partnered up with Ballon Joy Flights from Canowindra - Jan and Graham Kerr. They have 35 years of commerical ballooning experience, train pilots and operate their own Balloons safely and successfully. Their business is a registered Aviation Operation i.e. an Airline.
Once the Envelope is funded, they will technically OWN it, so that it can be registered, insured and flown under their commercial license. This is important as the main purpose is advertising PARKES and to do so the flights need to be "for reward (money)". So in other words, the Balloon will be flown commercially so that money can be charged, which pays for the upkeep and the operational cost - approx $150 per hour - without a paid pilot of ground crew.
2. Who gets the MONEY
When the $55,000 are reached the money will be paid out to a company which BUYS the balloon - then hands it over to the future operator (see Question 1.). When operated and after the rewards have been given back to the contributors, the Balloon may produce a surplus in funds, this money will go towards insurance, registration, maintenance and repairs and any funds after that will go towards an Parkes Basket, Burners, Gas Bottles, Trailer and so on.
Hoping for good returns, a retention needs to be built so that the Parkes Balloon (Envelope) can be replaced at the end of its useful life, say after 600 hours or so. If we then have surplus funds, they can be used for flights at Parkes specific events.
For example, when the Balloon is TAKEN to an Event, say Canberra Balloon Festival, then the people taking it there will cover all cost.
When the Balloon is flown on a regular basis, there is NO cost other than to passangers (commercially flown or cost share)
When a sponsor wants to SEND IT to say Sydney Vibe Festival, then the sponsor will cover the expenses and the people usually donate their time.
3. Where will it be flown
To Promote Parkes, the most effective locations for the Balloon to fly will be away from Parkes.
To allow Parkes' residents and local contributors to fly and enjoy the Parkes Balloon, it shall be in the Parkes area and flown here.
How that exactly works and where and when the Balloon will be flown, depends on the events calendar and the availability of funds to take it to the promotional events. If operated as suggested, this will be taken care of by Balloon Joy Flights and organised in cooperation with community organisations and the Parkes Council.
4. Who stands behind the project
The idea was developed by Christian Uhrig, Graham & Jan Kerr and Cathy Littlewood.
Graham is the Chief Pilot of Ballon Joy Flights, Jan is one of the the Organisers of the Canowindra Balloon Challenge - they both have strong ties with Parkes and bring their Balloons every year to the Elvis Festival.
Cathy Littlewood is the owner of Wholesome Blend in Parkes and joined the group due to her interest in Ballooning.
Christian Uhrig is a Pilot (Fixed Wing and Balloon) and a member of the Parkes Aero Club.
If you can assist with the project and want to join the team - please contact us