2017 Pilots & Balloons
Darren Kling – Art Aloft & Remax
From a very young age I’ve always had a high interest in aviation. I took my first ride in a balloon in 1989 and was introduced to a form of flight far different from anything I had experienced before. In 1993 I received my commercial pilots license and started BigSky Balloon Co. providing balloon rides and corporate advertising in NW Montana.In 2000 I relocated my business to Portland. OR and have been operating a corporate balloon contract in the Pacific Northwest region. For the past year I’ve been working on establishing a balloon ride business once again, and am very excited to now offer scenic balloon flights from Central Oregon in my hand painted Art Aloft balloon. Balloons have the unique ability to capture peoples imagination and transport them into an environment they’ve never experienced before. Sharing that experience with people for the first time is what continues to make it a fresh and exciting job for me.
Brann Smith – Sundancer
My first experience with hot air ballooning was 15 years ago. It then became my passion as I soon realized that it is such an amazing and unique sport. In 1999, I completed my commercial pilot training and began flying in Oregon with my own company. I believe hot air ballooning is not just about flying but the people you encounter and the wonderful experience and memories we create together.During career as a Pilot, I have flown in six states; Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and now California. Currently in Chico, California, I plan to again fly as a business and give back to the community where I grew up. I hope to share the joy and serenity of floating through the air with as many people as I can, hoping to inspire the feeling of freedom and adventure to the hearts of others that it brings to me.
Robert Raper – Redemption
I received my commercial certificate in 1996. Bought my first balloon in 1995 while learning to fly. Currently have 4 Balloons and manage my business – High Plains Drifter Hot Air Balloons, LLC. Currently I am moving from Miles City, Montana and returning to North Bend, Oregon. I usually attend 7-10 events annually including Reno, Nevada and Albuquerque, New Mexico. I fly throughout the western 11 states.
Greg Miller – I’ll Fly Away 2
Greg Miller BIO
As a Free Lance Photographer, Greg was looking for opportunities to take stock photos, and was invited to a balloon event in Salem Oregon. Greg attended the event and started crewing in 1990. What started out as a photographic experience, turned into a lifetime passion, for Greg, and his family. Greg ended up buying the balloon he was crewing for, in1995 receiving his private pilot license in 1996 and his commercial pilot license in 1997.
Greg and his wife Janet recently relocated their residence and home port for I’LL FLY AWAY BALLOON ADVENTURES to Prineville Oregon located in beautiful Central Oregon, where he offers Scenic Balloon Flights throughout Central Oregon, because the sun shines 300 plus days a year allowing for year round flying. When not flying in Central Oregon, he travels throughout the Pacific Northwest to different Ballooning Events.
Greg and his balloon I’LL FLY AWAY 2, a beautiful balloon with the bottom half all the colors of the Peacock, and the top half is all Black, have made the trip to Balloons over Bend several times and look forward to this years event. Come out to the field and say hello to Greg, and be part of the experience. Having relocated to Central Oregon Greg is building an active crew list. If you are interested in becoming balloon crew you can get more information from our website www.illflyaway.net or call Greg at 503 510-7835.
Koh Murai – Firenze
I am predominantly a sport flyer but also provide some instruction. I also enjoy aerostat construction with my first effort an AX-5. One of my other joys in LTA aviation is working on, executing, and helping others with long distance, long duration, and high altitude flights. It has been my pleasure to be the launch master for 5 world record flights. Yet time spent aloft is still the biggest thrill after all these years. The people you meet and become involved with are also a great reward and asset for participating in this sport.
From 1991-1998, I was involved as launch crew, launch master, and consultant for several trans-global balloon attempts. These included Earthwinds Hilton, Virgin Global Challenge, ICO Global Challenge, and Global Hilton. From 2000 – 2005, I was involved with scientific balloon and systems design and flight operations for a small private firm supporting various government and university agencies. This work included designs and flights in earth atmosphere, near space, and planetary exploration. Since mid-2007 to present, I have also been the engineering consultant and engineer of record for Firefly Balloons.
Bill Woodhead – His Sky
Bill Woodhead has been a airplane pilot for the past 45 years and a balloon pilot for over 37 years. He has flown balloons in balloon events in a majority of the states in the USA as well as in Canada, Kenya, East Africa, Israel and New Zealand. He currently lives near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Doug Adamczyk- Gem
My interest in ballooning and aviation started at the age of 5 when I lived in Albuquerque, NM. But it was not until I was in high school in Ohio before I had the opportunity to crew for a balloon pilot. That hooked me and I have now been crewing for 30 years.
Ten years ago I received my pilots license for single engine airplanes. Then, in 2013, I jumped at the opportunity to buy a balloon and received my Lighter Than Air rating one year later. I am currently a member of Northeast Ohio Balloon Pilots Association, the Balloon Federation of America, and also the Pacific Coast Aeronauts. I have flown balloons in 5 states and participated in multiple balloon festivals in CA, OR, NY, OH, and MI.
I look forward to returning to Bend for my 2nd year!
Mike Bauwens- Squeeze Easy
1974 – Introduced to Balloons as OSHA Inspector on my second inspection at Raven Industries, Sioux Falls, SD
1976 – Moved to Alaska. Brought first balloon to Anchorage, AK
1976 – Received Commercial Balloon Certificate
1981 – Moved to Colorado. Bought first 2 210,000 cubic foot balloons from Raven. Started ride business in Steamboat Springs and Summit County, CO
1983 – Expanded to Park City, UT. Asssisted in First Autumn Aloft Balloon Event
1984 – Became FAA Balloon Repairman
1993 – Started FAA Part 141 training school, became Designated Examiner for Salt Lake City, FSDO
2000 – Took first place at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with over 1,100 pilots competing.
Present – Still operate 141 School and serve as Designated Examiner and Balloon Repairman.
Have trained nearly 500 students everywhere from Mexico, Israel, Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, France, England, Scotland, Singapore, and all over the US. Enjoy traveling to visit and fly with students now.
Laura Hancock- Morning Glory
I live in Carlton, Oregon. I’ve been flying for about 20years. Morning Glory is co-owned with my crew chief and ballooning partner, Bales. I am a commercially rated contract balloon pilot. When I’m not flying I’m either in a sea kayak or mountain bike. I organize the Loose Goose Balloon Rally at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in August and Bend’s High and Dry Bluegrass Festival is at my brother Jack’s each August.