Pilots' manual handling skills are vital when it comes to hot air balloons. Since hot air balloons are not equipped with automation systems which are widely used on aeroplanes, pilots' manual flying proficiency becomes more important quality.
In the aviation industry, with the rapid development in automation technologies, certain manual tasks that pilots once performed are currently being done by flight management systems. As the use of artificial intelligence accelerates in the cockpit, pilot handling skills have become a less important quality.
However, when it comes to hot air balloons, pilots have full control of the aircraft as they’re without the assistance of any automation systems when flying, which highlights the significance of manual flying skills. Unlike other types of aircraft like aeroplanes or helicopters, hot air balloons are not equipped with cockpit automation and flight management systems reducing the workload of pilots. Therefore, pilots’ manual flying proficiency and skills are of vital importance in hot air balloons.
In the Cappadocian Ballooners Meeting held by the Association of Hot Air Balloon Operators of Turkey in 2019, Mehmet Cicek, the chief pilot of Urgup Balloons, pointed out the positive implications of the latest decree issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Turkey) for aviation safety, which increases minimum flight hour requirements for commercial hot air balloon licence. He also added that regulations enforced on hot-air-balloons in Turkey must be a role model for other countries.