SMS gets taken to new heights

Founded in 1965, the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) is a volunteer based organisation that aims to promote the safety and advancement of flying hot air balloons and airships in the United Kingdom. The club prides itself in looking after the interests of its members and in doing so also parents the BBAC Competitions club that hosts and organises competitive balloon flying.


The BBAC Competitions club runs four competitive events annually where members and balloon enthusiasts can enjoy the thrill of competing approximately 2,000 feet off the ground. The competitions are also vital in the selection process for the UK team that goes to the European and world ballooning events.

With the competitions being closed events, the communication methods with the members and officials exist on three simple platforms including the club website, email groups and SMS. The club started using the BulkSMS web platform in 2011 when they realised they needed a system in place that provided a fast and reliable way of communicating to all members and race participants.

According to Tony Molony, Senior official of the Competitions club, “The primary use of the service is to communicate time sensitive information to all participants quickly and efficiently, whether it be a change in event details on the day of the event or a change or cancellation of briefing times.” Tony goes on to say that it is extremely important that the messaging system is reliable because the sport is heavily dependent on the weather, specifically wind speed and direction. “It is [also] our primary method of telling pilots to land should the weather change whilst they are in flight, so it is vital that it works.”

Dr. Pieter Streicher, Managing Director of is fascinated by the BBAC and is happy to see independent volunteer based organisations using the BulkSMS services to communicate with their members and stake holders. He goes on to say that organisations, such as the BBAC, that use SMS to disseminate important and time critical information, prove that SMS is a diverse platform that doesn’t belong solely to the corporate world.