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Ballooning chances rise

Hot air ballooning at Hood Aerodrome might get another chance to fly after operators at the airfield submitted a new ballooning risk assessment this week.

Earlier in the year, Masterton District Council [MDC] wrote a risk assessment for ballooning that it used to try and prohibit retired aviation professional Michael Shouse from ballooning at Hood as a ground lease condition for a hangar he was trying to buy – despite the fact he had flown his balloon from Hood for 12 years.

The risk assessment, obtained by Shouse under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act [LGOIMA] and seen by the Times-Age, said that ballooning posed an “extremely high risk” of blocking the transitional surface of the sealed runway during inflation and an “extremely high risk” of increasing airspace complexity.

But earlier this week, the Hood Safety Committee, comprised of aerodrome businesses and tenants, met with MDC to discuss the decision.

MDC community facilities and activities manager Corin Haines said the meeting was “a wide-ranging discussion” in which the council agreed to let the committee produce their own ballooning risk assessment.

Committee members said MDC asked them not to speak to the media but confirmed to the Times-Age yesterday that they had already submitted their new risk assessment to the council.

Haines said although MDC had not changed its position against ballooning at Hood, it would nonetheless consider the new proposal next week.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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