FAVIA 225 confirms John Piper as a guest speaker

As a Balloon Pilot, people often ask me how I got started with this wonderful adventure and what made me want to fly balloons.  Well….   All my life, I’ve been trying to get off this planet!

Like so many folks, I crewed for every balloon I could find and after a few years, I couldn’t take it anymore and bought my own balloon.  I got my Private Pilot License in 1993 and my Commercial License in 1994.  Along the way I would have to admit that my interest in balloons

NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 25: The Snoopy float glides down Central Park South during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade November 25, 2010 in New York City. This year’s annual parade features approximately 8,000 participants, 15 giant character balloons and 43 novelty balloons. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) Macy’s Parade official Website.

was also fueled by my occupation.  When I am not trying to “get off the planet”, I work as the Vice President of Macy’s Parade Studio where we design, build and fly the world’s most famous helium character balloons.  I am on a first name basis with Garfield, Snoopy, Underdog, Pikachu, Sonic, Sponge Bob, and Spiderman to name a few.  I have worked on 36 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades and have taken our helium friends all around the country and as far away as London, Tokyo, and Doha.

I am a member of the BFA, GEBA and the Gas Balloon Club of America, NC chapter.  A little over a year ago I flew our club Hydrogen balloon with Bert Padelt and was able to remove the “onboard heater” limitation from my Pilot Certificate.