Proposed regulations by the Rhode Island Airport Commission threatened to put a damper on hot air balloonists. AOPA, however, weighed in requesting changes that the commission recently accepted.
Instead of requiring multiple regulations with which to comply, the commission reinforced compliance with existing federal aviation regulations. Now the commission states that "Manned Free Hot Air Balloons shall meet 14 CFR Part 31 airworthiness standards" and that they “shall not free-fly during the period between sunset and sunrise, unless the craft is equipped with appropriate lighting in accordance with 14 CFR Part 31.65.”
The commission also dropped a proposed regulation regarding the pilot in command’s authority to determine maximum wind velocities for flights, saying that the federal aviation regulations cover the pilot in command’s authority as to the operation of a craft.
“AOPA is pleased that the Rhode Island Airport Commission took our comments to heart and made the requested changes,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy. “These changes will benefit all balloonists across the state.”