I started working as a Chase Crew Chief for hot air balloons in 1996. This is the person on the ground who pursues the balloon in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and recovers the balloon, pilot and passengers at the end of the flight. This job requires an excellent working knowledge of local and regional roads and a great sense of navigation.
Over the past twenty years, I accrued hundreds of hours working chase, and nearly 80 hours as a student pilot. I completed a terminal descent and a 1-hour solo flight in an Aerostar 126, a hot air balloon with a 7-story profile and 126,000 cubic feet of internal air. I also participated in flight competitions at several balloon festivals. Some of my favorite photos from these are below.