Burt & Davies and Global Ballooning are proud to have developed and jointly funded the design and production of Australia’s first Easy Access Basket (“EAB”) for a hot air balloon. Unlike traditional balloon baskets, which require passengers to climb in and out over the high sides of the basket edge, the innovative EAB incorporates a door. This allows less able-bodied individuals, including those with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating physical ailments, to enter and exit the basket with ease.
On 29 May 2012 the EAB was launched for the first time over the Melbourne CBD. Two Burt & Davies’ clients had the opportunity to take to the skies and experience the joy and wonder of “lighter than air” flight. Michael Forbes, with C3/4 incomplete quadriplegia and Darren Cummins, a lower limb amputee, temporarily left behind the limitations and devastation which have plagued their lives when they were transported into the magical world that unfolds under the burner flame.
The circumstances which led to this project began when the Director and Chief Pilot of Global Ballooning, Kiff Saunders, himself suffered severe injuries in a transport accident in January 2012. The injuries he sustained nearly ended his career as a commercial balloon pilot.
Peter Burt and Clara Davies acted for Kiff in his TAC compensation claim. Having never represented a client from the world of hot air ballooning, they embarked on research into the ‘day in the life’ of a hot air balloonist; themselves experiencing an early morning flight over Melbourne. Over the discussions which followed, a bond formed and the seed was sown to build a balloon that would allow less able bodied individuals to fly over Melbourne.
“Although it is a highly unlikely partnership, a transport accident law firm and an adventure based aviation company, things happen for a purpose. The fact that we came together through highly unfortunate circumstances and found a common and wonderful objective makes complete sense of what could otherwise have been considered a tragedy.” – Kiff Suanders
After extensive planning and work to manage the design and build of this specially constructed basket, which required airworthiness certification from the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA), amendment to operating procedures, the development of a ‘safety case’ and an application for an exemption from regulations prohibiting the flight of ‘handicapped persons’ in commercial hot air balloon operations, the EAB now flies over Melbourne as part of the Global Ballooning fleet.
Our thanks to Photographer, David Callow, for shooting this footage and producing this video.
For more information on how Burt & Davies can help you, contact either Peter Burt or Clara Davies, specialist Car Accident Lawyers & Car Accident Compensation Lawyers, Level 11, 451 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. They are both Accredited Personal Injury Lawyers who practice exclusively in Transport Accident Compensation & TAC claims.
Telephone (03) 9605 3111 or freecall 1800 109 940
© Burt & Davies 2014