Proposed new rules for manned free balloons and hot air airships - Part 131 - (CD 1907OS)

Closed 30 Sep 2019

Opened 10 Sep 2019

Results updated 22 Nov 2019

In September 2019, CASA invited comment on proposed new regulations in the Part 131 Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) that will apply to tethered gas balloons and balloons that are intended for free flight under the control of a pilot. 

The summary of consultation below outlines the comments provided by respondents to the consultation and provides CASA's response to the issues raised.

As a result, we have incorporated the changes outlined in this document to the proposed Part 131 regulations and will now progress them to making via the standard government regulatory decision-making process.

CASA will also form a technical working group and aim to hold an initial meeting during December 2019. We will discuss the policies to be articulated in the Part 131 Manual of Standards (MOS) as per the proposed regulations. Following the finalisation of the Part 131 MOS, CASA will continue to engage with the technical working group regarding other regulatory matters to be included in the CASR.

In parallel with the technical working group discussions, CASA will develop the transitional regulations that will move existing charter AOC holders into the new Part 131 and discuss these with the technical working group. CASA will also develop a Part 131 plain English guide that incorporates the applicable requirements from Part 91, Part 131 and the Part 131 MOS.

The necessity for the development of any further guidance material or amendments to existing guidance material will initially be discussed with the technical working group.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The proposed new regulations in the Part 131 Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) apply to tethered gas balloons and balloons that are intended for free flight under the control of a pilot including:

  • hot air balloons
  • hot air airships
  • gas balloons
  • mixed gas/hot air balloons.

More Information

Hot air airships will be regulated alongside hot air balloons under Part 131.


Part 131 does not apply to unmanned balloons which are regulated under Part 101 of CASR.

Balloon: an unpowered, lighter-than-air aircraft.

Tethered gas balloon: a type of manned gas balloon that is permanently moored and used as a viewing platform is popular in scenic locations in Europe and other places. Such balloons are not intended for free flight but ascend on cables to heights of up to 400 feet carrying passengers in a gondola to admire the view. The balloon is controlled by an operator rather than a pilot, nonetheless CASA wishes to approve and oversight such balloon operations and has therefore included a provision for Tethered gas balloons in Part 131.

Manned free balloon: a free balloon capable of carrying one or more persons and is equipped with controls that enable the altitude of the balloon to be controlled.

Hot air balloon: a kind of manned free balloon.

Airship: a powered, lighter-than-air aircraft. An airship may be gas-filled and regulated like fixed or rotary wing aircraft (see Part 61 of CASR flight crew licensing rules) or a hot air airship, although powered and somewhat steerable, derives lift from hot air and operated like a hot air balloon.

Part 131 aims to improve the focus of Australian balloon transport operators on the potential for human and organisational factors to cause accidents, and in so doing, enhance aviation safety for the travelling public.

The proposed new regulation establishes the structure of Part 131 and specifies:

  • the certification and management of AOC holders conducting passenger carrying flights for hire and reward (currently charter operations and to be called balloon transport operations)
  • the operational and flight rules unique to Part 131 aircraft
  • the approval requirements for the new concept of specialised balloon operations (some of which currently require an aerial work AOC)
  • the requirements for Part 131 recreational activities to be authorised by a Part 131 Approved Self-Administering Aviation Organisation (ASAO) and other miscellaneous measures.

It is proposed that Part 131 will commence on 25 March 2021, in line with the introduction of new rules for parachuting (Part 105), sport and recreational activities (Part 103) and the suite of flight operations regulations (CASR Parts 91, 119, 121, 133, 135 and 138).

What’s in the proposed new rule set?

Part 131 largely consolidates existing requirements contained in the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR) and Civil Aviation Orders. It also works together with Part 91 of CASR to describe all the general operating and flight rules for manned free balloons and hot air airships.

More Information

Part 91 (General Operating and Flight Rules) was made into law in December 2018 and commences in March 2021.


It includes rules that apply to manned free balloons and hot air airships (Part 131 aircraft).

Part 131 modifies the Part 91 rules where appropriate to create operational and flight rules unique to Part 131 aircraft.

Some new provisions will be introduced to be consistent with other CASR Parts, such as systems and key personnel required for small aircraft air transport operators. Part 131 will require balloon AOC holders to have an exposition detailing their operational procedures.  CASA is proposing to give operators more time to implement more complex requirements such as:

  • a safety management system (SMS) tailored to the size and complexity of the operator and the accompanying requirement to have a Safety Manager, and
  • a training and checking system (tailored to the size and complexity of the operator).

Other topics we are seeking feedback on include:

  • flights over water
  • the new concept of specialised balloon operations
  • basic equipment requirements
  • loading requirements
  • pilot and operational safety-critical personnel qualification and training requirements for balloon transport operators.

These proposed Part 131 regulations do not include rules related to balloon pilot licensing, hot air balloon endorsements for size and design features, maintenance and continuing airworthiness of Part 131 aircraft or the training of balloon maintenance personnel. These topics will be addressed and consulted in the future. In the meantime, the relevant CAR 1988 rules on licensing matters and continuing airworthiness will continue to apply beyond 25 March 2021.

This consultation is structured to seek your comments on the specific requirements included in the Part 131 regulations – but not the content that could be introduced through the MOS. An opportunity for any general comments is included at the end.

Full details are included in the documents available under “Related section below.

Linkage to Part 149 – Self-Administering Aviation Organisations

Proposed Part 131 of CASR provides the complementary operational requirements for manned free balloons and hot air airships’ activities that will be administered by Approved Self-Administering Aviation Organisations (ASAOs) approved under Part 149 of CASR as Part 131 ASAOs.

CASA expects that individual members of these organisations will continue to follow their existing practice of complying with the relevant organisations’ manual suite.

Why your views matter

We are consulting to ensure that the proposed rules are clearly articulated and will work in practice and as they are intended. This consultation is seeking feedback on the proposed manned free balloon and hot air airship regulations.

Documents for review 

A copy of the Summary of proposed change on CD 1907OS and other documents related to this consultation are provided below in the ‘Related’ section. These documents include:

  1. The summary of proposed change on CD 1907OS
  2. Draft amendment Part 131 of CASR – Manned free balloons and hot air airships
  3. Operations Definitions instrument
  4. A downloadable MS Word copy of this consultation for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation.

Note: The word document is not to be used as an emailed submission, unless there are extenuating circumstances and this form of submission has been agreed to by the consultation project lead.

The survey has been designed to give you the option to provide feedback on the survey in its entirety or to provide feedback on the policy topics of interest to you.

Your feedback will make a valuable contribution to our policy decision-making process and help to inform any future regulatory change.  Comments on CD 1907OS should be submitted through the online response form.

General comments and file upload option

There is a general comments box at the end of the consultation, into which you can place your comments on matters related to the regulatory amendment, which have not already been addressed in the consultation.

Note: CASA can no longer offer the option to upload files because of the potential risk of malware.

Using and iPad

If you are using an iPad to complete the survey you will be asked to 'download the relevant PDF'. Depending on the software you have on your iPad you may need to download the free viewer to review the single document PDF files. Where a file is a 'multi-file or portfolio PDF you will need to source the Adobe free view - available from iTunes.

What happens next 

Once the consultation has closed, we will register and review each submission received through the online response form. We will make all submissions publicly available on the Consultation Hub, unless you request your submission remain confidential. We will also publish a Summary of Consultation which summarises the feedback received and outlines any intended changes and details our plans for the regulation/standard.

Information about how we consult and how to make a confidential submission is available on the CASA website .

 To be notified of any future consultations, you can subscribe to our consultation and rulemaking mailing list .


  • CASA Staff
  • Air operators
  • Hot air balloon operators
  • Balloon Instructors and flight examiners
  • Balloon manufacturers
  • Balloon Pilots
  • Balloon Sports aviation operators
  • Traveling public/passengers on balloon scenic flights
  • Tethered gas balloon operators
  • Balloon AOC holders and applicants
  • Balloon pilots holding a CP(B)L
  • Sport and recreational balloon owners and pilots


  • In-house training
  • Safety management systems
  • Training and checking systems
  • In-house training for CASA FOIs
  • Spare ???