FAA responds to regulatory concerns of Albuquerque balloon pilots

In a statement sent to KOB 4, the FAA said the following:

“The FAA has determined that major events such as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will not be affected due to advanced planning, waivers, air mission advisories, and other mitigations for a major airshow. The FAA directs an inter-organizational working group to explore possible solutions to other concerns related to balloon flights in the ABQ area.”

The regulations – which pilots say – have only been enforced since September, require all aircraft to use special GPS technology when in Class C airspace. This includes nearly all of Albuquerque and parts of Rio Rancho.

Balloon pilots say they would be happy to comply, but there is currently no way to install this device on balloons.

“We don’t have electrical systems inside the hot air balloons, so we can’t comply with the rule. They are applying a rule and they haven’t given us any guidance on how we can comply with it,” said Rainbow Ryders President and CEO Scott Appelman.

Balloon Fiesta organizers have confirmed they will be requesting a waiver for the upcoming 50th Anniversary Balloon Fiesta.

Several members of the New Mexico congressional delegation have spoken out against the regulations and are working to secure a permanent waiver for the balloons.