Separation from Balloon

Been asked about taking some photos of the company hot air balloon.
Using the Mini 2.
Pilot is happy to help, just as well cuz I can’t drive a balloon, but what is the consensus of opinion about the legalities.

What would be the required separation?
No monitory gain, so happy it’s a non commercial flight.

Thoughts please?

As far as I’m aware, balloons are classed as manned aircraft so usual rules apply, however with regards to a balloon, I think and don’t quote me, if you have permission and comms with the pilot it can be done.

Do not take my word for it. :+1:t4:


If the balloon pilot is on board that makes them involved in your flight so I’d imagine there wouldn’t be any legal separation limits.

But as above don’t quote me on it. :+1:t2:


I also did it here :grimacing:


I’m not even looking, I was jealous the first time.




There are two ways to do this.

Ask the CAA by email, explain the situation - licensed balloon pilot fully involved, sub 250gram UAV, non commercial, what separtion required? The guys at the CAA tend to be interested in aviation and I have always found them looking to help within the bounds of aviation regulations. Print out the email you get back just in case any thirf party who thinks he knows better gets on you case.

Or two - you are both consenting adults, go ahead and do it and apologise laier if anyone is offended.

The only thing that concerns me is launch and recovery of the drone, how easy is it going to be to hand launch / catch in amongst the basket suspension cables? Would it be sensible to have a lightweight platform - like a lollipop man;s “Stop Children” sign with a rim for the Mini to land on or will thayt bring its own hazards?

The drone pilot would be taking off and landing from the ground, not the balloon? :thinking:


Well now I just want to see someone launch from a balloon in flight…


That sounds like an awesome opportunity Keith hope you manage to do it :grinning:
Like the others I’m not sure but would have thought it would be ok as the balloon pilot is “fully involved”. It’s not like you’ll just be flying up to a random balloon with them having no idea what’s going on.
One thing I would say though is that even though no money will be changing hands, if its an organised shoot of a company balloon I would imagine that from an insurance point of view it would still be classed as a commercial flight. Maybe ask your boss to pay for a couple of hours of commercial insurance through a company like Flock? Look forward to seeing your images/footage :+1:t2:

If I was asked to use a drone to video a balloon in flight you can bet I’d fight for a place in the basket!


I have an open invitation since joining the Co. 5 years ago (well merged with) but the better half has vertigo although really wants to go up. Ironically since flying her mini she is more keen to go ballooning. Told her about the photo opportunity and she wants to go up in the balloon.

It’s a company balloon but I haven’t been asked to take photos.
I know I will be asked if they can use them but at the moment it’s just pleasure… does that wash? It is true but I also know I will be asked for use of them.

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I would say that if you are doing it on your time and not company time then that is the distinction. They are not telling you to be there because you work for them, you are choosing to be there when you could be somewhere else.

Email sent to CAA asking for advise. Thanks all but especially @macspite for the thought.
Might still go with option 2 though!

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I know what you’re saying but if the worst was to happen (the whole reason we have insurance) the insurance company will ask how it came to be. I doubt they would see it as ‘Non commercial’ with a big company balloon of a company you just happen to work for. Either way hope you get some awesome shots :+1:t2: :smiley:

I know, just being the Devil’s advocate.

The CAA’s guidance is all about ‘Has a client asked you to fly. If you weren’t being paid, would you still fly?’ I think it’s pretty clear here that no one is being paid and if I were in the location with the balloonist’s permission, I’d be using up all my batteries… :slight_smile:


If you are happy to lend me them, I’ll happily use all your batteries as well Ian. It will give me loads more air time. What a generous offer :wink:


What a great opportunity, I’d love to do something like that. I was asked to film a Paraglider, which I did flying an Inspire 2. We had a good deal of discussion beforehand for safety reasons the flight was great, a first for both of us.
My advice, determine exactly what your shots will be, how far from the target, in the event of an emergency what action you’ll take, and have a (spotter on the ground as you’ll need to be looking at your screen a lot to frame the shot) as well as someone ideally the “Balloon Pilot” acting as a spotter in the balloon with some sort of communication to you; we used a hands free Bluetooth module.

Finally enjoy the opportunity… :grin:

Here the para flight…