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

Closed 25 Sep 2023

Opened 11 Sep 2023


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