Ireland's newest Pilot, Brendan obtained his PPL in February 2020.
As a crew member for both private and commercial balloonists for many years, Brendan has been around ballooning for a long time but always preferred being on the ground driving retrieve for other Pilot's. However, in 2018 Brendan decided to put the kit owned by wife Laura to good use (whilst she was on maternity leave from ballooning) and start training for his licence in memory of his friend, fellow Pilot and IBA member, Aidan who passed away in early 2018.
As a daughter of a fixed wing, glider and hot air balloon pilot, I have been flying since I was knee high, and my Father taught me to fly. After a few years of training and studying for exams, I achieved my balloon pilots licence in 1990, becoming Irelands first female balloon pilot.
When I flew solo for the first time, I had an amazing feeling of exuberance in knowing that I could fly, and that feeling is etched in my memory forever. Later on my son also learned to fly balloons, so there are 3 generations of balloonists in my family.
Having flown in many different balloons over the years, my favourite balloon is Sky Baby (in the picture), my cloud hopper. A One Man (or woman) balloon, it doesn’t have a basket, just a seat and harness with the propane tank strapped on the back. This is really flying by the seat of your pants! The only down side of this type of balloon is that I can’t share the flight with anyone else (although many wouldn’t want to share it!). I also have a “normal” balloon, with a basket. It’s a “90”, which means it’s 90,000 cubic ft in capacity, and can carry 3 or 4 people depending on weight. But I still prefer hopping!
Pilot Joe Daly flies, along with his son Zack, the Discover Waterford Balloon. Flying for almost 20 years, Joe and Zack fly the Waterford Balloon around Ireland at various ballooning events and attend events in UK and France each year promoting the City of Waterford. A long Standing member of the IBA, Joe has been event Director for Irish National Ballooning Championships on a number of occasions.
The activities of the Waterford balloon team can be followed on their facebook page - "https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverWaterfordBalloon/"
I have been involved in Hot Air Ballooning since 2005; my job meant I had to get to get to know ballooning and all that it involved, but instead if it being "just a job" it has turned into a genuine love. I have been training on and off for around a decade now in order to obtain my Pilots Licence and like to get airborne as often as possible!
Fun Fact – I’m scared of heights! You wouldn’t see me standing on a chair however, get me in that balloon basket and I’m fine!
I have been flying all types of balloons ranging from one man 'Cloud Hoppers' to weird and wonderful Special Shapes for over 35 years. My passion for ballooning developed after my first flight and I immediately started training to become a private pilot and then on to become a commercial pilot. I now have clocked up over 2,000 hours and still enjoy every flight like it was my first.
This sport has enabled me to participate at events all over the world. Notable flights include an Irish Sea crossing from Tipperary to Wales and many winter Alpine crossings in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees centigrade at altitudes of up to 20,000ft.
My hobby became my job and I have had the pleasure of training many pilots for both private and commercial licenses.
My love of flying developed at a very young age when I dreamt of flying like a bird. To try and live the dream I participated in skydiving, paragliding, Micro lighting, rotor and fixed wing flying, however, the day I took my first balloon flight was my flying dream come true. Hot Air Ballooning is fascinating and so different to any other form of flight as balloons have no engines and are carried majestically by the breeze – when you take off you don't know where you are going to land or who you will meet when you get there so this to me is the best and most enjoyable form of aviation.
Since getting my licence in 2004 I have broken 10 World Records and hold 95 Irish Records in Hot Air Ballooning. This sport has brought me all over the world participating in events in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Canada; Florida; Australia; UK; Alaska; USA, Mexico and Dubai.
Tom's interest in ballooning began in June 1968 when he saw the first hot air balloon to fly in Ireland at the Rothmans Air Rally in Ballyfree, Co. Wicklow.
He has been flying balloons for almost forty years and had his first instruction flight in November 1977. He made his first solo flight eighteen months later in EI-BBM, a balloon owned by the Dublin Ballooning Club. He holds a UK Commercial Balloon Pilot's licence.
Tom has flown sponsored balloons for various companies including the "Club Orange Can" for Cantrell & Cochrane" and regular shaped balloons for Beamish & Crawford "Carling Black Label", Eircom and Travel Department.
Zack is Ireland's youngest balloon Pilot and along with dad Joe, flies in Waterford.
The skies of Ireland and Mondovi, Italy will never be the same following the untimely death of one of our best friends and fellow pilot Aidan Murphy. Aidan passed away in February 2018 following a determined battle with cancer.
In his own words.....
Founding member and involved in Hot Air Ballooning since 1995. I qualified as a Hot Air Balloon Pilot in 2000.I am also a licensed helicopter pilot.