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Hot Air Balloon Pilots Visiting Jackson Embrace Their Lifestyle

Hot air ballooning is a passion for professional pilots such as Kevin Knapp, who attends 25 to 30 shows a year to promote the Mayflower Transit balloon. "Once I discovered ballooning and learned for myself how fun it is, how magical it is, how peaceful it is, how quiet it is, that's when I discovered my passion for flying balloons," Knapp says. Howell, Mich., pilot Ken Myer says that ballooning nurtures a feeling of "total aweness" of the surrounding world. "When you're up there without the burner, it's total peace and quiet," he notes. "I love the 'free' feel." Knapp, who recently attended the Hot Air Jubilee in Jackson, Mich., says that following his introduction to ballooning, he got together with a St. Louis ballooning group and started networking with area pilots. He enrolled in piloting classes and did his "ground school" work via a local community college. Prior to acquiring his pilot's license in 1990, he clocked 10 hours of flight time with professional pilots and two hours of solo experience.

August 20, 2009

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