Proposed amendments for CASA to administer recreational balloon activities - (CD 2312OS)

Closed 25 Sep 2023

Opened 11 Sep 2023

Feedback updated 1 Nov 2023

We asked

This consultation outlined the proposed amendments to Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 95.54 (Part 131 Recreational Activity and Specialised Balloon Operations) Instrument 2021 that would empower CASA to administer recreational balloon activities.

The Australian Ballooning Federation (ABF) currently administers recreational ballooning activities. The ABF do not wish to transition to become a Part 149 approved self-administering aviation organisation (ASAO) by the deadline of 2 December 2023. Therefore, CASA will assume the role of issuing private pilot authorisations and the oversight of private pilot training and operations.

About this consultation
This consultation was open for 2 weeks and closed on 25 September 2023. The consultation asked if the proposed amendments would empower CASA to effectively administer recreational balloon activities in place of the ABF. A draft of the CASA Recreational Ballooning Procedures Manual (CRBPM) was attached for information. The CRBPM is a repurposed version of the ABF operations manual v3.0 and sets out the syllabus of training, privileges and limitations for pilot authorisations ratings and endorsements. Other information about operations, maintenance and incident and accident reporting is also included in the CRBPM.

You said

Twelve responses were received. Seven respondents identified as recreational balloon pilots, 3 as commercial balloon pilots, 4 as a balloon owner, and 6 as 'other' (respondents could nominate more than one category). Ten respondents offered their personal views and 2 submitted feedback on behalf of an organisation. Of the respondents who made a written submission 8 consented to having them made public, 3 requested that their submissions remain confidential, and one identified as a CASA officer.

Summary of feedback
There were no objections to the proposed amendments to CAO 95.54 that would empower CASA to administer recreational balloon activities. Most of the comments received were about omissions from, or amendments to, the CRBPM. CASA did not seek comment on the CRBPM at this consultation, but we will continue to work with the ABF on the content of the CRBPM until the handover.

We did

CASA identified that a further amendment to CAO 95.54 was required so that the holder of a private pilot (balloon) permit issued by CASA could conduct balloon maintenance in accordance with Part 2 of Schedule 8 of CAR. This has been added to the amendment instrument.

As there were no objections to the proposed amendments to CAO 95.54 CASA has proceeded to make the instrument and it will come into effect on 2 December 2023.

Published responses

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


The Australian Ballooning Federation Inc (ABF), that currently administers recreational (private) balloon activities, has advised it will cease administering Part 131 recreational activities and issuing pilot authorisations from 2 December 2023.

We are proposing to amend Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 95.54. This will empower CASA to issue recreational pilot authorisations for Part 131 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) aircraft. This amendment will affect all operators and pilots of balloons conducting recreational activities and would be effective from 2 December 2023. It would enable CASA to effectively administer all private ballooning activities.

CAO 95.54 currently directs the ABF to act as if it were a Part 131 Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisation (ASAO). During the drafting of Part 131 it was expected that the ABF would transition to become a Part 131 ASAO under Part 149 of CASR.

CASA is proposing to amend CAO 95.54 to remove the direction to the ABF and to re-configure the exemptions that apply to relevant pilots so that these exemptions are not reliant on the existence of the ABF. Instead, the exemptions will apply to a person who holds a CASA pilot authorisation that will be the equivalent of the current ABF pilot authorisation. 

Principal changes that would occur

To effectively administer recreational ballooning activities from 2 December 2023 we intend to:

  • recognise existing ABF private balloon certificate holders namely, private pilots, flight instructors, examiners and students under training
  • incorporate ABF records of issued pilot authorisations and their holders into CASA's system, including records of suspensions, variations and cancellations
  • issue an equivalent CASA permit to all existing ABF certificate holders
  • ensure we have a legal system that provides for new CASA-issued private pilot authorisations, ratings and endorsements
  • legislatively promulgate, where appropriate, existing ABF operational, training and licensing rules for all types of pilots under ABF administration.

For more detail on the proposed changes please refer to the Summary of proposed change (SPC) on Consultation Draft (CD) 2312OS.

Why your views matter

Your feedback will help us make sure the proposed requirements are suitable, the final legislation is clear, and it will work as intended.

Please submit your comments using the survey link on this page.

If you are unable to provide feedback via the survey link, please email for advice. 

Documents for review

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

  • SPC on CD 2312OS, which provides background on the proposed standards
  • Consultation Draft - Civil Aviation Order 95.54 Amendment Instrument 2023 (No. 1)
  • Draft compilation of CAO 95.54
  • CASA Recreational Ballooning Procedures Manual
  • MS Word copy of online consultation for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation. 

What happens next

At the end of the response period, we will:

  • review all comments received
  • make responses publicly available on the consultation hub (unless you request your submission remain confidential)
  • publish a Summary of Consultation which summarises the feedback received and outlines any intended changes and next steps.

All comments received on the proposed legislation will be considered. Relevant feedback that improves upon the proposed instrument will be incorporated into the final instrument. 

Post-implementation review

Amending CAO 95.54 is phase one of a 2-phase project. Phase 2 will consider the legal framework required to transition balloon pilot licensing from Part 5 of CAR and CAO 95.54 into CASR. The operational rules for all Part 131 aircraft operations are set out in the Part 131 Manual of Standards (MOS) and when the Part 131 MOS comes into force, CAO 95.54 will be amended.


  • Hot air balloon operators
  • Balloon Instructors and flight examiners
  • Balloon manufacturers
  • Balloon Pilots
  • Balloon Sports aviation operators
  • Balloon pilots holding a CP(B)L
  • Sport and recreational balloon owners and pilots


  • Operational standards
  • Sport and recreational ballooning