Archive for December, 2013

My Last Posting

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

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This will be my last posting. I am retiring from a career and love affair with hot air ballooning that started in the early 70’s with my first flight with Doug Mills and that group of crazies from Dutton, MI in their Piccard Stretch 6, N62US, “The Jolly Roger”.

Pic of the first Adirondack Balloon Fest from the Jolly Roger.

Pic I took of the first Adirondack Balloon Fest from the Jolly Roger @ ACC.

I have a nice young couple who are taking over my balloon ride service, that I know will be good stewards of my balloon flight legacy that began in the early 80’s with Adirondack Balloon Flights. So you folks who want to fly with ADKBF can be assured you will be in good hands. I want to give a special mention to the guys that flew with me back in the 70’s and are no longer flying; Fran Williams, Ron Fuller, Steve Maille and of course my old partner @ Adirondack Balloon Transit, LTD – Art Binley. Unfortunately, there also are a number of friends who are now flying in another world – Karen Rosenthal, Harry Repak, Sam Cally and Chuck O’Neil, just to name a few. It’s been a fun career.  I’ve met a lot of great people, had some fantastic times that I never would have experienced except for the opportunity presented because of an amazing flying machine, the hot air balloon.

In the beginning, 12/20/73, out in Dutton Michagan with Gordie Saunders in the Jolly Roger.

In the beginning, 12/20/73, out in Dutton Michagan with Gordie Saunders in the Jolly Roger.

The "Spirit of Glens Falls" comes to town and I get to be the pilot! Geez, not sure of the date, probably in '76/'77

The “Spirit of Glens Falls” comes to town and I get to be the pilot! Geez, not sure of the date, probably in ’76/’77

One of the very fun things I got to do, show-off having 1st child, Eric, in 1979. Afterward, flew over the city with the guy whose wife shared the room with Tani (he had his 4th daughter).

One of the very fun things I got to do, show-off having 1st child, Eric, in 1979. Afterward, flew over the city with the guy whose wife shared the room with Tani (he had his 4th daughter).

A very early flight back in 1978 with a very new Channel 10 meteorologist, Bob Kovachick, when we landed at Comstock Prison - max security! Made for good copy on his evening news!!

A very early flight back in 1978 with a very new Channel 10 meteorologist, Bob Kovachick, when we landed at Comstock Prison – max security! Made for good copy on his evening news!!

One of the many pleasures ballooning afforded me, meeting  Eddie Allen in 1974 out at the Nationals in Indianola Iowa, and becoming friends.

One of the many pleasures ballooning afforded me, meeting Eddie Allen in 1974 out at the Nationals in Indianola Iowa, and becoming friends. Pic shows Eddies smoke balloon being readied that he later flew @ 78 years young.

A note from Eddie after he attended the Adirondack Balloon Festival as our honorary Balloon Meister.

A note from Eddie after he attended the Adirondack Balloon Festival as our honorary BalloonMeister.

In 1980, did my first balloon wedding with a couple who came up from Texas. That's mayor Ed to the right who performed the ceremony and me on the left. Told them I'd make them famous if the flew with me. Their wedding was observed by hundreds as we tethered over Crandall Park pond in Glens Falls. The event was covered by all the  Albany TV stations, print media, and was broadcast live over network radio (no internet then). Because of all the hoopla, they ended up on the nationally syndicated television show, "To Tell The Truth". So, they had their moment of fame!

In 1980, did my first balloon wedding with a couple who came up from Texas. That’s mayor Ed to the right who performed the ceremony and me on the left. Told them I’d make them famous if the flew with me. Their wedding was observed by hundreds as we tethered over Crandall Park pond in Glens Falls. The event was covered by all the Albany TV stations, print media, and was broadcast live over network radio (no internet then). Because of all the hoopla, they ended up on the nationally syndicated television show, “To Tell The Truth”. So, they had their moment of fame!

 

On the set of Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories". A fantastic experience being involved in a major motion picture, but no Diane Keaton :0(

On the set of Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories”. A fantastic experience being involved in a major motion picture, but no Diane Keaton :0(

The contract for doing the film. Big bucks for late 70's.

The contract for doing the film. Big bucks for late 70’s.

Pic that appeared in the Albany TU of Peacock VI by buddy Skip Dickstein.

Pic that appeared in the Albany TU of Peacock VI by buddy Skip Dickstein.

Me and Baker with NY Post staff writer, Michael Riedel, who did a feature article on us

Me and crew extraordinaire,  Baker, with NY Post staff writer, Michael Riedel, who did a feature article on us

The article.

The article.

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A passenger took this pic of me flying one of my earlier Peacock balloons.

A passenger took this pic of me flying one of my earlier Peacock balloons that Mike Delsignore now flys.

Kinda a crappy copy of the pic used when I was Mister October in the Finch Paper Calendar from 1996 :0)

Kinda a crappy copy of the pic used when I was “Mister October” in the Finch Paper Calendar of Adirondack Characters from 1996 :0)

At the North East Pioneers Association gathering last May down in Poughkeepsie, l-r with Andi Rooney, Gil Foster, Me, Chris Mooney and Rick Pollock.

At the North East Pioneer Aeronauts Association gathering last May down in Poughkeepsie, l-r with Andi Rooney, Gil Foster, Me, Chris Mooney and Rick Pollock.

With some legacy buddies at The Wally Fest 2 years ago; Rudy Schwenker, Paul Stumpf, Bob Auchincloss, Tom Stoldoski, Me, Tom Smith. (Tom, at least I didn't have to look up the spelling of your name :0))

With some legacy buddies at The Wally Fest 2 years ago; Rudy Schwenker, Paul Stumpf, Bob Auchincloss, Tom Stoldoski, Me, Tom Smith. (Tom, at least I didn’t have to look up the spelling of your name :0))

Since this is Christmas, I wanted to end with this pic taken by buddy, Skip Dickstein, of a flight I did with Art Binley in 1979 from Empire Plaza in Albany, from in front of the State Christmas tree and The Capitol Building. Have a Merry everybody.

Since this is Christmas, I wanted to end with this pic taken by buddy Skip Dickstein, of a flight I did with Art Binley in 1979, from the Empire Plaza in Albany, from in front of the State Christmas tree and The Capitol Building. Have a Merry Christmas everybody!

Well, that’s it. It’s been very much fun near 40 years. I’ve made some great friends of folks that I’ve dropped-in on out in Washington County that I’m gonna miss visiting with, like; Joe and Kate Maille (who provided a take-off spot for years), Bernie Vaughn, Donna and Brent Petteys, Steve and Pete at Pole Valley, Dick and Mary Stewart (who bailed me out when crew didn’t show up and got me and the pacs back), the Durkee Family (who welcomed our landings and allowed me to use their property for take-offs), the Siaulnski Family on Pollock Hill on the Argyle Flats (hey, it’s the name the locals gave the area), and many too many others to mention here. Thanks for the memories everybody! See you all on down the road! Enjoy!!

b-t-w, you can click on any of the above pics and they blow-up to view better….

 

As an addendum, I should add the balloon show that I did for The Port Authority of NY and NJ for Harbor Festival in New York City in 1979. My biggest challenge and client that I worked with during my career. It was quite an undertaking for a bumpkin from the north-country. Kinda a duck outta water, swimming with sharks, but still a great experience, and, I did meet some great folks doing it. Had a fantastic helicopter flight right over Manhattan, from LaGuardia to the heliport at the fire boat docks near Battery Park, for a meeting with the Port Authority folks atop one of the tower buildings in a private dining room (what a view). Helicopter flights to “The Meadowlands” to meet with owners to get approval for the Cool Pro Balloon Tour with Tom Gable to fly from their parking lot for the Festival (the FAA shot that one down – good grief, the site was right between Teterboro and Newark Airports). Got a hot air balloon out on Liberty Island for a tether for the Tall Ships parade (don’t think that one will happen again) plus had balloons stationed around lower Manhattan (Battery Park), Liberty Island Park in NJ and a park in Brooklyn Heights or Bay Ridge (don’t remember).

This is a pic of the poster created to promote the  Harbor Festival. That's a rendition of Bill Hughes Seagull Balloon and the Twin Towers - sad, but...

This is a pic of the poster created to promote the Harbor Festival. That’s a rendition of Bill Hughes Seagull Balloon and the Twin Towers – sad, but…