Proposed new Part 131 Manual of Standards - Balloons and Hot Air Airships - (CD 2103OS)

Closed 15 Sep 2021

Opened 16 Aug 2021

Results updated 14 Dec 2021

This consultation sought detailed comments on the proposed Part 131 Manual of Standards (MOS) that will support the Part 131 regulations commencing on 2 December 2021.

The consultation opened on 16 August 2021 and following a request to CASA, the closure date was extended from 13 September to 15 September 2021.

We received 8 responses to the consultation, of which 5 consented to having their comments published.

The Summary of Consultation provides the main themes that emerged from review of the responses, the CASA response to the feedback and the changes CASA will make to the proposed Part 131 MOS as a result of this feedback.

In response to industry input including advice from the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel and Part 131 Technical Working Group, CASA has deferred making the Part 131 MOS. We will work with industry to progress the remaining issues in the Part 131 MOS in 2022.


Published responses

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


The general operational rules in Part 131 of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) and the proposed Part 131 Manual of Standards (MOS), will apply to all Part 131 aircraft pilots and operators. The MOS will provide much of the complex or technical detail of the Part 131 regulations and is intended to provide easy to read compliance detail for operators of Part 131 aircraft.

Please note:

  • A Part 131 aircraft means a hot air balloon, a hot air airship, a gas balloon, or a mixed gas and hot air balloon.
  • An operator of a Part 131 aircraft means the holder of an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) or other approval, or a person, organisation or enterprise (not necessarily the owner) engaged in aircraft operations involving the aircraft.

There are only a few proposed changes for recreational balloon operations. Additional requirements are proposed for balloon transport operators conducting scenic flights for paying passengers. While some rules are necessarily prescriptive, there are provisions in others for the operator to assess the hazards and risks to ensure that a proposed flight will have a safe outcome.

There are 17 principal changes in the Part 131 MOS. These changes include standards for lighter-than-air aircraft, changes to existing terminology, minimum height requirements for flights above a populous area or public gathering, requirements for flights over water and procedures for balloon transport operators, that would ensure a final reserve fuel for emergency use. Details on these changes and others are provided on Page 3 of this survey. You will also have an opportunity to provide comment on this page and other pages specific to the subject matter.

Currently operational rules that apply to balloons and hot air airships are found in many of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) and Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs). The proposed Part 131 MOS will bring the technical operational rules and standards that apply to Part 131 aircraft into one document, making it easier for operators to find information.

When Part 131 of CASR commences on 2 December 2021, any applicable CARs and CAOs that are no longer required will be repealed. 

Changes in the presentation of the rules as they currently exist, may mean operators will need to make changes to their documentation and in some cases changes to operating procedures.

Integration of Part 131 with Part 91 of CASR – General operating and flight rules

Under the existing rules many of the general operating regulations that apply to all aircraft also apply to balloons and hot air airships, unless exempted under other provisions.

Part 91 will replace the existing general operating rules. While some Part 91 rules will apply to Part 131 aircraft, others will be turned off and replaced by an equivalent rule in Part 131. The rules that are disapplied for Part 131 are listed in regulation 91.030 of CASR.

Some rules in Part 91 are not applicable to Part 131 aircraft because of technical limitations. For example, regulations that apply to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight or speed requirements, are not intended to apply to Part 131 aircraft. A Plain English Guide (PEG) is being drafted; this is a document that will provide explanation of both the Part 91 and Part 131 rules. Two Part 131 advisory circulars that set out recommended practices for pilots and operators have already been published and will be updated to reflect the new rules. These are:

Previous consultations

Prior to the release of this consultation draft, CASA has consulted internally and externally via the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel Technical Working Group, consisting of representatives from CASA and the balloon industry. A face-to-face meeting was held in February 2020 and two video conferences were held in March and April 2021. Comments from the consultations have been considered in the drafting of the MOS.

Why your views matter

CASA recognises the valuable contribution community and industry consultations make to the policy decision-making process and future regulatory change. We are consulting to ensure that the proposed new rules are clearly articulated and will work in practice and as they are intended.

Comments are sought from every sector of the community. This includes the general public, government agencies and all sectors of the aviation industry, whether as an aviator, aviation consumer and/or provider of related products and services.

This consultation seeks feedback on the proposed Part 131 MOS that supports Part 131 of CASR that was made into law in December 2019. 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 applicable to you. The survey page titles will assist you in locating those areas that are of interest to you. You can decide on which of the topics you wish to comment and on how many or how few you wish to comment. Each topic includes a reference to the relevant chapter in the MOS so you don't have to read the entire document.

Your feedback will make a valuable contribution to our standards development and making process and help to inform any future regulatory change. 

Documents for review

All documents related to this consultation are attached in the ‘related’ section at the bottom of the page. They are:

  • Summary of proposed change on CD 2103OS, which provides background on the proposed standards
  • Consultation Draft – Part 131 Manual of Standards
  • CASR Part 103, 105 and 131 Regulations 2019 (F2020L01283)
  • Civil Aviation Safety Amendment (Operations Definitions) Regulations 2019 (F2019L00557)
  • Civil Aviation Safety Amendment (Part 91) Regulations 2018 (F2018L01783)
  • MS Word copy of online consultation for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation. 

Comments on the CD 2103OS should be submitted through the online survey available below.

Note: The MS 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 applicable to you.

What happens next

At the end of the response period for public comment, we will review each comment and submission received. We will make all submissions publicly available on the CASA website, unless you request your submission remain confidential. We will also publish a Summary of Consultation which summarises the feedback received, outlines any intended changes and details our plans for the regulation.

All comments on the draft Part 131 MOS consultation will be considered. Relevant feedback that improves upon the proposed regulations and is consistent with the regulations and other CASA policy, will be incorporated into the final ruling.

CASA has set a date of 2 December 2021 to commence the proposed rules. 

Post-implementation review

CASA will monitor and review the new rules during the transition phase and on an ongoing basis. We will also continue work on proposed further changes to the Part 131 regulations to better support balloon operations.


  • CASA Staff
  • Sports aviation operators
  • Hot air balloon operators
  • Air traffic controller/s
  • Forecaster/Meteorological service provider
  • Self-administering aviation organisations
  • 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


  • Operational standards
  • Equipment standards
  • Self administration aviation activities
  • Sport and recreational ballooning
  • In-house training for CASA FOIs