For the thousands of you that have already seen some of the
Aero-TV programming that we produced at the 2010 Albuquerque
International Balloon Fiesta, its no secret that we had a great
time in and amongst the lofty flying machines that floated all over
New Mexico in early October. We've heard from a number of you that
the sport looked interesting... and more challenging than many
realized... which has produced some curiosity about the modern
sport of Hot-Air ballooning.
Thankfully; ANN teamed up with Cameron Balloons' Andy Baird to
put together a primer on all things ballooning and we're pleased to
present this two-part program to you now. Serving the needs of
balloon enthusiasts in the United States, Cameron Balloons US is
wholly US owned, managed and staffed. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan,
and fully regulated under the jurisdiction of the FAA, Cameron US
has an accomplished history dating back more than 30 years. Serving
overseas pilots around the world, Cameron Balloons Ltd. builds
Camerons in a production facility situated in Bristol, England.
More than 6,000 Camerons have been built over the past 30-plus
years – balloons of all types, sizes and shapes. Cameron is
the largest-selling brand of hot-air balloon in the world, and
offers pilots the most extensive range of aerostats in the
industry: hot-air balloons, personal "hopper" balloons;
“first to fly around-the-world” roziere balloons; gas
balloons; airships; and special-shape balloons.
Andy took his first balloon flight in Albuquerque in 1977, and
has been involved in aviation ever since. At age 18, he completed
his airplane license before going on to College to study
Aeronautical Engineering in England. In 1984, he completed an
internship with Cameron Balloons Ltd., in Bristol, England, before
moving back to Michigan where he spent ten years flying balloons.
Andy became Chief Pilot and Chief Flight Instructor for a major
Michigan ride and corporate balloon company. Later Andy became a
Representative for Cameron Balloons U.S., and started his own
business specializing in the operation of advertising balloons for
major corporations, gaining over 1,200 hours as pilot-in-command of
hot air balloons.
In 1994, Andy joined the Cameron U.S. Factory Team. The
factory's FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER), Andy is
Cameron's official test pilot, responsible for flight-testing of
all new special shape and standard balloons, plus the general
testing and implementation of new designs and equipment. Andy is
both a FAA Certified Repairman and a BBAC (British Balloon and
Airship Club) Inspector.