MEET OUR PILOTS
Dave began flying balloons in 1981 when he fell in love with the sport and since then he has notched up around 3200 hours on flights all over the world. Now he takes people on unforgettable Virgin Balloon Flights in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
It all started for Dave when he saw in a local paper that the Nottingham Building Society was launching a hot air balloon shaped like a cottage. Intrigued, he and his wife went down to see it and he fell in love with the idea there and then. The ‘Flying Cottage’ made its maiden voyage on 14 February 1981 and from then on it became a popular attraction, regularly spotted flying over the city and at special events.
Having seen a local builder launch his balloon at the same event, Dave tracked him down a few weeks later and asked how he could get into ballooning. Two weeks on he was in the air with the builder, experiencing his first flight. He immediately went to buy a second hand balloon and learnt in that, before getting his licence and buying a brand new balloon of his own. He later went on to run his own successful ballooning business and sold it in around 2006/2007.
Over the years, Dave has flown over Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Holland, France, Portugal and of course the UK. In early 2010 he took a trip to Spain and flew over the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains in Spain. His most memorable flights have been over the Italian and Austrian Alps, but he also enjoyed a long trip from Ashbourne in Derbyshire to Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire where he landed amongst some sand dunes.
Dave, who started flying with Virgin Balloon Flights in 2008, is a member of the East Midlands Balloon Group an affiliated region of the BBAC (British Balloon and Airship Club) representing ballooning in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. He has been the greatest distance champion of the club nine times in the last 12 years.
“Every flight is exciting and has an element of challenge, I enjoy every minute of it,” he says.
Rebecca has a true adoration for the outdoors and has been a keen adventurer from a young age. In her own words she loves nothing more than “making people’s dreams come true” in a hot air balloon. She has been involved in ballooning for the last 12 years, and ran her own ballooning company before becoming a pilot for Adventure Asia Int. & Virgin Balloon Flights. With many flying hours under her belt she’s fast becoming one of the country’s most admired female pilots.
The other love in Rebecca’s life (aside from hot air balloons and her daughter Robyn) is sailing. Along with others she set up a charity which enables underprivileged and disadvantaged children the chance to sail aboard ‘The Richard Langhorn’ boat; encouraging teamwork, trust and reliance.
Both sailing and ballooning have allowed Rebecca to see, sail and fly in some of the world’s most amazing places including much of Europe, Sri Lanka, Syria, Switzerland and of course the UK where she sails the skies above Grantham, Peterborough, Newark, Stamford, Nottingham and Rutland Water. Various backpacking trips throughout her twenties also allowed her to explore China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa and parts of America.
A Commercial Pilot in the UK and has flown passengers from many destinations across Britain. He has also flown in Europe and Australia. 2010 will be Peters first season in Sri Lanka as a pilot with Adventure Asia
Peter has been an International Rugby player for Holland and is now a keen golfer. Hot Air Ballooning is his passion and he loves his job