FAA Regulatory Issues












The discussion here applies only to the United States. If you are building a balloon in another country, drop us a line and we can point you at the appropriate resources.

An envelope built accouding to these plans is not likely to be light-weight enough to be an "ultra-light vehicle." Therefore, you will need to register it and obtain an airworthiness certificate from the FAA. That always sounds a bit scary at first. But, with a little planning, the regulatory process is fairly straightforward.

First, we recommend joining the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). In addition to helping your karma, the association provides its members with free techical assistance via telephone. So you once you are a member, you can call the EAA and ask knowledgable folks about FAA rules and procedures.

Second, we strongly recommend that you purchase the EAA's Amateur-Built Aircraft Certification Kit. The kit contains all of the forms that you will need (some of which can not be downloaded) as well as a booklet that gives step-by-step details about filling out the forms and other regulatory steps.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the FAA requires that you keep a log of all of your time spent building your envelope. You should also take lots of photos of yourself doing the actual construction work. The FAA will want to see the log and photos as proof that you did indeed build the "major portion" of the aircraft.

All information on this site is subject to the following disclaimer.

The balloon plans and descriptions provided here are
Copyright 2007-2008 Daniel Nachbar and Paul Stumpf
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.