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Icom Aviation Radio Falls 3,000 Feet and Survives With Barely a Scratch!

Icom Aviation Radio Falls 3,000 Feet and Survives With Barely a Scratch!

Icom radios are famous for their product quality and dependability and we at Icom UK are always hearing stories from our customers about how well they perform, especially in the toughest of environments. However we were surprised and pleased to hear this story from Jeff Lawton who accidently dropped his ten year old Icom IC-A3E aviation radio from his balloon 3,000 feet up and retrieved it later virtually undamaged.

John Coney who is the Secretary of the Mid Hants Balloon Club takes up the story. ‘On 24th March this year myself, Jeff Lawton and three friends went for a pleasure flight in Jeff's balloon from near Petworth in Sussex, intending to fly for about an hour. About 10 minutes into the flight, when the balloon was at 3000 feet, the radio was accidently dropped from the basket and fell into a grass field. We watched the radio fall all the way to the ground and made a note of the approximate grid reference of the landing.’

‘After landing a few miles to the North, near Chiddingfold, we returned to the farm and asked if we could look for the radio. The farmer agreed and we searched in the gathering gloom for the radio, but with no success. We left our phone number with the farmer and expected to hear no more.’

‘Two days later the farmer rang Jeff and told him he had found the radio in a grass field on his farm. We returned to the farm, brushed surface mud off the radio and turned it on, the display lit up and the radio worked. We tested it by calling the radio from another one and it both received and transmitted.’

‘Since then we have used the radio on every flight, it still has a bit of mud on it, but seems to be working properly.’

John added, ‘Our Icom IC-A3E is one of Icom’s older models, about 10 years old and gets taken on every flight. During the flight we use it talk to other Icom’s such as the retrieve crew on the ground. We also use it to talk to other balloons on the balloon frequency of 122.475. Most of the time we try and stay well clear of controlled airspace, but occasionally we fly near Farnborough, Odiham or Lasham and we use it to talk to these airfields if necessary.’

’We are all members of the Mid-Hants Balloon Club and details of the club can be found at Mid-Hants Balloon Club. Most club members use Icom radios both in the UK and abroad because of the quality and this story simply confirms what we already knew. We have told the story to many members of the balloon club – usually over a few beers – and the radio is still in use today’.

Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager of Icom UK Ltd said, ‘When we received the IC-A3E back at Icom UK I expected a lot of work to be done to it. But apart from a miniscule break in the battery case, the radio was as good as new….great testament to the Engineers at Icom Inc. who originally designed the IC-A3E.’

Mid Hants Balloon Club -


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