Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival --- July 2 -6

Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival - July 2 -6

Capital Catering

Capital Catering is Mid-Michigans largest and most capable catering and event planning company. We specialize in large commercial, institutional, and government catering with experience and capabilities to serve groups as large as 1000 or as small as 10. Capital Catering is your single source caterer for any size event.

Website: www.capitalcateringofmi.com

Mesmerizing Balloon Illumes

Balloon Illume - Photo by John KosakAs dusk falls over W.K. Kellogg Airport, some MAGICAL ILLUMINATIONS begin. During our "Balloon Illumes" the launch field will be lit up with the glowing burners of over 20 Hot-Air Balloons. This "picture-perfect" site, is something that you won't want to miss and will become one of your favorite family memories forever.

The Balloon Illumes also incorporate some audience participation. You will be asked to say "Twinkle" or "Light 'Em Up". When you say "Twinkle", the pilots will light their burners in spurts, causing them to twinkle. When you say "Light Em Up", the flame will stay lit and the grounds will light up. The "Balloon Illumes" are a fan-favorite part of the Field of Flight, year after year.

There will be TWO Balloon Illumes during our 2014 Event.

  • July 3rd: 9:15-9:45 PM
  • July 5th between the Twilight & Night Air Shows (9:15-9:45 PM)

You won't want to miss them.

Balloon Launch Weather Criteria

Weather conditions must be almost "ideal" in order for a Hot-Air Balloon Launch to take place. If there is any sign of a potentially non-safe flight, then the launch will be CANCELED. Experienced Balloon Pilot, Jim Birk, serves as our Balloon Meister. He is very trusted in the ballooning world and he makes the decision on if a safe flight can be executed or not. In addition, launches are also at pilots discretion. Here is some weather information on ballooning flights:

  • Winds
  • Winds Aloft
  • Visibility
  • Rain
  • Fronts
  • Thunderstorms

Read more: Balloon Launch Weather Criteria

Balloon Rides for Hire

Contact these Balloonists for Paid Passenger Rides in Battle Creek, Michigan and the surrounding areas. If they are participating in this year's hot-air balloon competition, they may not be available during the festival. NO PAID BALLOON RIDES ARE AVAILABLE DURING OUR EVENT/LAUNCHES! 

  • BATTLE CREEK, MI AREA
    Devon Cook 269-719-0333
    Phil Clinger 269-969-1328
    Tyler Jaques 269-274-0364
    Pat Rolfe 269-968-0368
  • GRAND RAPIDS, MI
    Woody Watson (Alto) 616-813-7251
  • JACKSON, MI
    Chuck Walz (Munith) 517-596-2621
  • LANSING, MI
    Tom Bergeon (Mason) 517-676-1444
    Ron Groce (Mason) 517-676-9657
  • OXFORD, MI
    Shawn Raya 248-969-4354
  • WAYLAND, MI
    Rick Kerber 269-790-6020
  • INDIANA
    Mike Nelson (Fortville) 317-627-5196
    Chris Smart (Huntington) 260-224-0251
  • OHIO
    Jim Birk (Defiance) 614-579-2970

Hot-Air Balloonists Confirmed

MORNING BALLOON LAUNCH 6:30 AM - Thursday, July 3 - Sunday, July 6

  • The 6:30 AM Balloon Launches will take place from various locations throughout the City and/or County. The off-site balloon launch sites will depend on the wind directions at the time and will not be announced, to avoid excessive traffic back-up and accidents caused by driving spectators.

EVENING BALLOON LAUNCH or FLY-IN 6:30 PM Wednesday, July 2 - Saturday, July 5

  • All evening Balloon Launches or Fly-Ins are scheduled around 6:30 PM and will take place at the W.K. Kellogg Airport. Join us on the festival grounds to get the best view point of the evening flights.

Special NOTE:  All scheduled activities/events are “WEATHER PERMITTING”. Balloon Flights are scheduled to take place most days around 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM. The 6:30 AM Balloon Launches will take place from various locations throughout the City and/or County. The off-site balloon launch sites will depend on the wind directions at the time and will not be announced, to avoid excessive traffic back-up and accidents caused by driving spectators. All evening Balloon Launches or Fly-Ins are scheduled around 6:30 PM and are best viewed on the festival grounds at the W.K. Kellogg Airport.  NO RAIN CHECKS OR REFUNDS.

Hot-Air Balloonists Confirmed:

  • Adams, Jason; Ontario, CanadaCanada Flag
  • Bareford, Dominic; Kidderminster, UK United Kingdom Flag
  • Coan, Larry; Livonia, MI
  • Cook, Deven; Battle Creek, MI
  • Demaree, Barbara; Albany, NY
  • Donner, Chase; Atlanta, GA
  • Ferrell, Rick; Lawrenceville, GA
  • Foelske, Aaron; Channohon, IL
  • Fujita, Yudai; Tochigi, JapanJapan Flag
  • Gibbons, John; Mount Morris, MI
  • Glenn, Michael; Phoenix, AZ
  • Groce, Ron; Mason, MI
  • Heartsill, Joe; San Angelo, TX
  • Heavin, Brandon; McGregor, TX
  • Heavin, Gary; Gatesville, TX
  • Jaques, Dave; Venice, FL
  • Jaques, Tyler; Battle Creek, MI
  • Kerber, Rick; Wayland, MI
  • King, Jeremy; Indianola, IA
  • Mitchell, Steve; Streetsboro, OH
  • Mohr, Dave; Three Rivers, MI
  • Moore, Michael; Augusta, MI 
  • Neill, Jim; Riverwoods, IL
  • Neill, Kelly; Naperville, IL
  • Nels, Andrew; Atlanta, GA
  • Nelson, Mike; Fortville, IN
  • Parr, Richard; Pittsboro, NC
  • Peck, Stephen; Battle Creek, MI
  • Pestun, Jeff; Zeeland, MI
  • Petrehn, Johnny; Leawood, KS
  • Petrehn, Paul; Howell, MI
  • Raya, Shawn; Oxford, MI
  • Reinert, Chris; Alta, IA
  • Reusch, Dan; Peoria, IL
  • Ricke, Tom; Clive, IA
  • Rolfe, Pat; Battle Creek, MI
  • Romaneschi, Bob; Phoenix, AZ
  • Roush, Tom; Tallassee, TN
  • Rubin, Jeremy; Ankeny, IA
  • Smart, Chris; Hunting, IN 
  • Stamats, Susan; Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Walz, Chuck; Munith, MI
  • Wilson, Dale; Battle Creek, MI
  • Zvada, Joe; McAllen, TX

*Note: Balloon Names, Balloon Pictures and Balloon Pilot Bios will be posted soon for those participating this year. Pilots, please submit your balloon picture, head shot and pilot bio to Barb Haluszka.

Jason Adams - 2 Kichaa

Jason Adams - Ontario Canada - 2 Kichaa Balloon

Jason Adams is from Ontario, Canada and will be returning this year flying in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition in his 2 Kichaa Balloon. Kichaa means insane or crazy in Swahili.

He has logged over 2159 pilot-in-command hours and has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for 21 years.

Jason is a professional hot-air balloon pilot

Jason Adams - Ontario Canada - 2 Kichaa Balloon

Dominic Bareford - A.B.O. (America's Brightest Orange)

Dominic BarefordDominic Bareford - ABO (America's Brightest Orange)Dominic Bareford is from Kidderminster, United Kingdom and this is his first year flying in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition. He will be flying Nick Donner's new balloon called A.B.O., which stands for America's Brightest Orange.United Kingdom Flag

He has logged over 120 pilot-in-command hours and has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for 3 years.

When Dom is not flying a balloon, he is a student in Mechanical Engineering.

In 2013, he won the British Grand Prix Trophy and also came in 4th at the Europeans.

 

Larry Coan - Superfluous

Larry Coan Hot Air BalloonLarry Coan Larry Coan is from Livonia, Michigan. He is an engineer for the Ford Motor Company. He is married to his wife Amy and together they have two children, Teri and Robin.

Larry received a hot-air balloon ride for his 27th birthday and was hooked. The rest is history. He has been piloting a balloon for 9 years with over 250 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

The name of his balloon is "Superfluous", pronounced su·PER-flu·ous, which means being more than is sufficient or required; excessive. This will be his 7th year participating in the event. Larry's crew chief is Jonny Hodge, who grew up in the sport because his dad was a pilot since he was a baby.

Larry placed #4 in the 2011 hot-air balloon competition.

Deven Cook - Even Higher

Deven Cook - Battle Creek MI - Even Higher Ballooncookdeven-evenhigherBattle Creek, Michigan's own Deven Cook will be participating in this year's Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition with his Even Higher balloon. He has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for 4 years and has logged over 100 pilot-in-command hours.

He is employed as a Cyber Security Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs at the VA Medical Center. Deven and his wife Lindsey have 4 kids, Elizabeth, Gabby, D.J., and Abigail (pictured with daddy).

Barb Demaree - Hot Ziggity

Barb Demaree - Ft Myers FL - Hot Ziggity BalloonBarb Demaree is from Ft. Myers, Florida and will be flying her Hot Ziggity balloon in the Battle Creek Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition. She is a retired teacher and has over 353 pilot-in-command hours. More about Barb in her own words...

Barb Demaree - Ft. Myers FL - Hot Diggity Balloon"I have flown over 34 years and got interested by watching Nikki Caplan inflate in Forest Park at St. Louis, Missouri.  I flew private airplanes but got very interested in ballooning in 1981 and haven't stopped yet. 

I have been an observer, debriefer, spectator, organizer, crew trainer, and competitor for balloon events. I have either flown or officiated in nine different states and two countries. I have worked with regional, state, national and world competitions.  It has been a delightful adventure! 

I have two grown children and one grandchild. I taught school 15 years and have taught various grades. I have been involved in medical organizations (national president of hospital hospitality houses), theater (all levels), politics (city councilman and held offices of  many organizations ), on housing authority board for 5 years, traveled, cards, and others. Being involved in many types of activities keeps me 'on my toes'."

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.demaree.14

Chase Donner - Balloon Name TBD

Chase Donner - Atlanta GA - AeolusChase Donner Chase Donner is from Atlanta, Georgia. He has been a licensed balloon pilot since 2004 and has over 515 pilot-in-command hours.

Chase will be flying a new balloon this year, pictured here, which has not been named yet. This will be Chase's 7th year flying in our event.

Chase placed #2 in 2011 in the Field of Flight hot-air balloon competitions. His brother, Nick Donner, also pilots a balloon and has been in many competitions.

Rick Ferrall - Stairway to Heaven

Rick FerrallRick Ferrall, Lawrenceville, GA - Stairway to Heaven Rick Ferrall is from Lawrenceville, Georgia. He is Regional Manager for MetroCast Communications. Rick got interested hot air ballooning during the 1981 Balloon Festival in Battle Creek. 19 years later he became a pilot. With 15 years of piloting under his belt, he now has over 512 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

His balloon name is "Stairway to Heaven".The Led Zeppelin song came on the radio and the rest is history. Rick has participated in 8 Field of Flight competitions. His crew consists of his wife Debi as crew chief, daughter Katie Graff and son Brian Ferrall.

Aaron Foelske - The Hummingbird

AJ Foelske - The Hummingbird BalloonAJ Foelske - The Hummingbird BalloonAaron Foelske is from Channonhon, Illinois will be flying in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition in his brand new balloon called The Hummingbird Balloon. Previously he flew his balloon called Basket Case.

He has logged over 330 pilot-in-command hours and has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for 12 years.

When Aaron is not flying his balloon, he is an Engineer for Nicor Gas.

 

Yudai Fujita - Aeolus

Yudai Fujita - Aeolus Greek God of Wind BalloonYudai Fujita - Japan - Aeolus BalloonYudai Fujita will be returning all the way from Tochigi, Japan and will be flying Chase Donner's balloon, Aeolus, Greek god of wind, in this year's Battle Creek Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition. 

When he was 16, he started training for flight and at age 18 he became a pilot. He has been a pilot since 2005 and has over 500 pilot-in-command hours.

Yudai placed #12 in the 2013 Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

John Gibbons - Great Escape

John Gibbons - Mount Morris MI - Great Escape BalloonJohn Gibbons - Mount Morris MI - Great Escape Balloon

John Gibbons, who grew up in Battle Creek, now resides in Mount Morris, Michigan. He has been a licensed pilot for 3 years and has over 75 pilot-in-command hours. This is his second year participating in the Field of Flight with his balloon “Great Escape”.

John is employed at Walker Electric as a Master Electrician/Estimator/Project Manager. John’s crew has expanded for the weekend with the addition of his new daughter Addison! Also crewing is his girlfriend Torie Sedlarik, her daughter Ava, & Friends Ryan Pendall & Joel Leatherman.

Michael Glen - Elevation II Balloon

Michael Glen is from Phoenix, Arizona and is looking forward to flying for the first time in the 2014 Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition in his Elevation II Balloon

Michael Glen - Elevation II BalloonMichael Glen - Elevation II BalloonMichael grew up with his brother Chris in a small town in New Mexico where his parents Bill & Susie Glen were public school teachers.  His father started in hot-air ballooning in 1973 and traveled with his family all over the United States pursuing his passion.  Eventually it became Michael’s passion as well.  As far back as he can remember Michael dreamed of becoming a balloon pilot just like his father.

At 21 years old, Michael was involved in a single car rollover accident where he was ejected from his vehicle.  He was not wearing a seat belt.  This accident left him a T11/T12 paraplegic.  Unable to use his legs, this accident seemed to squash his dream of flying a balloon.

Now more than 10 years since his accident, Michael has realized his dream of becoming the first paralyzed hot-air balloon pilot.

Despite his struggles with his disability, despite negative feedback from those who didn’t believe his dreams were possible, despite the fact that no one had ever accomplished what he was setting his sights on, Michael persevered.  He is truly an example of what a human being can accomplish with dedication, passion and discipline.

Michael has always been one to help others and sincere in his efforts.  He credits his parents, teachers and coaches for this attribute.  He has a passion for children and is looking to share his story with kids across the country.  If you would like Michael to come to your school and share his story, please visit his Motivational Speaker website or call him at 520-349-4825.

Wife Shawn named his balloon Elevation II after the idea of elevating him from his wheelchair.

He has logged over 320 pilot-in-command hours and has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot since 2006. During his years as a hot-air balloon pilot, Michael has placed in the top 5 in Reno, Rio Grande Balloon Classic and a few others.

Rolling Pilot Website
LIKE Rolling Pilot on Facebook

Ron Groce - Freebi

Ron Groce - Freebi BalloonRon Groce - Freebi BalloonRon Groce is from Mason, Michigan. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 32 years with over 1000 hours as a pilot-in-command of a hot-air balloon.

He is a machinist by trade. He is married to his wife Jami. The name of his hot-air balloon is "Freebi".

Ron has participated in every single event at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival.

Joe Heartsill - Texas Racer

 Joe HeartsillJoe Heartsill Hot Air Balloon Joe Heartsill is from San Angelo, Texas. Joe attended the Albuquerque, New Mexico balloon festival in 1978 and knew he had to get one for himself. He purchased his balloon and didn't even know how to fly it! He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 34 years and has over 2000 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. Joe works in Investments. He is married to his wife Nancy and has a daughter named Kate as well as his two sons, Rhett & Lucas.

The name of his balloon is "Texas Racer" simply because he loves to race and is from Texas. This will be his 26nd year participating in the event. His crew includes his wife Nancy as crew chief, daughter and her husband, Kate & Joel Ives, Mike Best, and Battle Creek local Bryan Evans.

Joe placed #3 in 2013, #5 in 2012 & #6 in 2011 Hot-Air Balloon Competitions.

 

 

 

Brandon Heavin - Ms B Heavin

Brandon Heavin, Curves Unity BalloonBrandon Heavin - Ms B Heavin BalloonBrandon Heavin is from Moody, Texas. Brandon's father, Gary taught him how to fly. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 12 years and has over 225 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. Brandon is currently raising beef cattle and farming - "Someone has to feed the people!"

The name of his new balloon is "Ms B Heavin" which is a play on the 'infamous' Heavin name and for his wife, Amy.

This will be his 6th year participating in the event. His father, Gary Heavin, also pilots the "Almost Heavin" balloon. Brandon and his wife Amy crew for his balloon.

Brandon placed #15 in the 2013 Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

Gary Heavin - Almost Heavin

Gary Heavin Balloon PilotGary Heavin - Waco TX Almost Heaven BalloonGary Heavin is from Waco, Texas. Gary started hot-air ballooning because of his love for flying and competition. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 30 years with over 750 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

Gary will be flying a different balloon this year instead of his Curves balloon. His new balloon is called "Almost Heavin", a play on his last name, Heavin. He and his wife Diane have two kids, Shilah and Brandon (the other Curves balloon pilot). Gary is the founder, owner and CEO of Curves International. His Curves balloon name is a Double Etendre' play on his last name..."Heavin Bound/Almost Heavin".

This will Gary's 6th year participating in the event. Both his wife Diane and daughter Shila are on his crew. Gary placed #4 in 2013 & #10 in 2012 hot-air balloon competitions.

Dave Jaques - Post Sugar Bear

Dave JaquesDave Jacques Sugar Bear Hot Air BalloonDave "Capt. Flaque" Jaques (pronounced flake) is from Venice, Florida but is a Battle Creek native. He is a retired electrician from Post. His latest project is building his "man cave". He has three boys, Brian, Mike and Tyler (Post 2 Balloon). He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 28 years with over 700 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

Dave has participated in this event for so many years that he has lost count. His balloon is the highly recognized "Post Sugar Bear" balloon.

Back in 1984, two of his friends bought a balloon. He crewed for them and eventually formed the Post Balloon Club. His crew is made up of Post Balloon Club members as well as local volunteers.

LIKE the Post Balloon Club Facebook Page.

Tyler Jaques - Post Cutting Edge

Tyler JaquesTyler Jaques - Battle Creek, MI - Post Racer BalloonTyler Jaques is from Battle Creek, Michigan. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 7 years and has over 230 hours being pilot-in-command.

This will be Tyler's 7th year competing in the event but he has crewed at the event since he was a child. He became interested in hot-air ballooning because his father, Dave Jaques, is also a pilot of the Post Sugar Bear balloon. It truly is great for him to be participating. Tyler's new balloon is the "Post - Cutting Edge" Balloon. He previously flew the red and white Post 2 balloon. His crew is made up of Post Balloon Club members as well as local volunteers.

Tyler is presently a manager at Meijer and owns his own hot-air balloon ride company called BC Balloon Rides where he pilots his balloon call Sapphire. He has a daughter named Brittney and his girlfriend's name is Erica Brandt.

Tyler Jaques and Daughter Brittney

LIKE the BC Balloon Rides Facebook Page.
LIKE the Post Balloon Club Facebook Page.

Rick Kerber - Michigan CAT

Rick Kerber in the Michigan Cat Balloon Rick Kerber, Wayland, MI - Michigan CAT BalloonRick Kerber is from Wayland, Michigan. Rick has 2 uncles and one aunt who have piloted balloons. He started when he was 16. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for 12 years with over 425 hours as pilot in command of a balloon. Rick has been a rental manager at Michigan CAT for 29 years. He is married to his wife Cris and has two daughters, Jennie & Megan.

Rick flies the "Michigan CAT" Balloon. This will be his 8th year participating in the event. Rick's family will be his crew. Rick placed #15 in the 2012 Field of Flight hot-air balloon competition.

Jeremy King - HBC Contracting/That One There

Jeremy King in the HBC Contracting Balloon Jeremy King Jeremy King was born and raised in Indianola Iowa, where the National Championships used to be held, so he has been around the hot-air ballooning world all his life. He started as a baby being pulled around the balloon field in a wagon while his mother sold programs. As he got older he was able to sell programs himself.  At the age of 14 he signed up to crew and right there knew he wanted to be a pilot someday.  It took many years of crewing and flying with friends before he decided to go get a balloon and license himself. 

In 2003 Jeremy started his training in a good friend's balloon. In early 2004 Jeremy talked his crew chief into driving down to Florida to pick up a balloon. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for 9 years with over 565 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon and he received his commercial license in June 2008. Now he is training some of his crew to become pilots.

Jeremy is a handyman as well as the proud dad of his son, Cooper Wade King. He will be flying the balloon called "That One There" and he flies for "HBC Contracting". Jeremy truly loves to be in the air and see the faces of people when he comes floating by. His crew consists of Brad Morris and Jean & Courtney Grant.This will be his 5th year participating the event.

Check out Jeremy's website
LIKE his Team Flyin' KOAT Facebook Page
KOAT = King Of All Trades.

Steve Mitchell - Scrumtrulescent

Steve Mitchell - Streetsboro OH - Scrumtrulescent BalloonSteve Mitchell - ScrumtrulescentSteve Mitchell a/k/a "Steve-O"  or  "Snakes 'n Sparklers" is from Streetsboro, Ohio. Steve grew up in Battle Creek. His parents, Jeff and Mary Mitchell, lived just 1/2 mile south of the W.K. Kellogg Airport. While in high school he crewed with his brother and loved it so much, they decided to get a family balloon called "Summer Glo", which has been involved in previous Field of Flight events.

Steve has been a licensed balloon pilot for 7 years and has over 145 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He is a packaging engineer for Nestle. This year, he'll be flying his new balloon, "Scrumtrulescent". Scrumtrulescent is a word coined by Saturday Night Live comedian Will Ferrell when doing an impression of The Actors Studio host James Lipton, in order to describe the performance of actor Charles Nelson Reilly on the Match Game. Previously Steve flew the  "Green Lantern" balloon, which came from the movie and also because of the green and yellow colors of the balloon.

This is Steve's 3rd year participating in the hot-air balloon competition.

Dave Mohr - Rainbow Twist

Dave Mohr Hot Air Balloon Dave Mohr Dave Mohr is from Three Rivers, Michigan. Dave crewed in 1987 for one year and was hooked. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 27 years with over 1038 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

Dave is a tool and die maker. He is married to his wife Cindy. Dave flies the highly recognizable "Rainbow Twist" balloon. This will be his 27th year participating in the event.

Michael Moore - Shenanigans

Michael Moore Hot Air Balloon Michael MooreMichael "Mike" Moore is from Augusta, Michigan. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 11 years with over 120 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He is the Assistant Maintenance Supervisor for Kalamazoo County. He is married to his wife Linda and has a daughter named Lisa and a son named Scott.

Mike crewed for Dale Wilson for about 9 years. His balloons name is "Shenanigans". Dale Wilson's wife named the balloon when she said, "Lord knows the shenanigans you'll pull..."This will be his 12th year participating in the event. Family and friends will be crewing Mike's balloon.

Join the Hot Air Balloon Floaters Association group on Facebook.

Jim Neill - Stellar

Jim Neill - Riverwoods IL, StellarJim Neill - Riverwoods IL - StellarJim Neill is from Riverwood, Illinois and has flown in most of the Battle Creek events since 1981, returning this year for another round in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition in his Stellar Balloon. He has been flying since 1975 and has logged over 985 pilot-in-command hours. 

His most memorable flights in the World Championships in Montreal, a major event in Saga, Japan, and a second place finish at the 2002 National Hot-Air Balloon Team Championships. Through the years, he has flown in Canada and won many events in the U.S., including winning the 1988 Kodak 3 City Tour Championship, which, at the time, paid the highest cash prize for ballooning.

Jim's most satisfying achievement is his training of son, Kelly and daughter, Kim, both who are now balloon pilots. His biggest supporter is Eileen, his wife, who has faithfully and more than competently followed his every flight...except those in which she was a passenger. He and son Kelly helped build their current aerostats, PengWind and Jim's balloon Stellar.

Kelly Neill - PengWind

Kelly Neill - Naperville IL - PengWind BalloonKelly Neill - Pengwind BalloonKelly Neill is from Naperville, Illinois and will be flying the PengWind balloon for the first time in this year's Battle Creek Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

He has been a hot-air balloon pilot for over 15 years and has logged over 200 pilot-in-command hours. When he's not flying his balloon, he is employed as a Graphic Designer. Kelly and his wife Tammy have 2 kids, a/k/a his co-pilots, Sofia and Kieran.

AJ Nels - Astro Racer

AJ Nels - Atlanta GA - Big Red BalloonAJ Nels - Astro Racer BalloonReturning to Battle Creek for his 2nd year, Andrew 'AJ' Nels, from Atlanta, Georgia will be flying his new balloon called Astro Racer in the Field of Flight Balloon Competition. His old balloon was Big Red Balloon 

AJ has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for over 11 years, logging over 135 pilot-in-command hours. When he's not flying his balloon, he is employed at an Engineer at Delta Airlines.

Mike Nelson - Midnight Racer/WWMT

Mike NelsonMike Nelson - Midnight Racer (WWMT Banner)Mike "Fire Marshall Mike" Nelson is from Fortville, Indiana. He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico near another large hot-air ballooning event. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 9 years and has over 618.5 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He is a Heavy Equipment Diesel Mechanic.

His balloon naming was a family effort. They all wrote possible balloon names on the refrigerator and eventually picked "Midnight Racer". In the 2014 event, he'll fly Midnight Racer with the WWMT banner. He also owns and flies another balloon called Tickled Pink.

This will be his 9th year participating in the event. He is married to his awesome wife Keely and has four children; Brittany, Olivia, Lita and Mikey. His website, Ballooning 4 Education, was created to promote the science of ballooning and flying in general to get the younger generation involved in flying.

Richard Parr - Racing Venture

Richard Parr - Racing Venture BalloonRichard Parr - Racing Venture BalloonRichard Parr is retired and lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina with his wife Lindy.

He will be flying Racing Venture in his second Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition this year in Battle Creek.

Richard has been a licensed balloon pilot for 7 years and has logged over 405 pilot-in-command hours.

Stephen Peck - Gypsy Wind

Stephen Peck Hot Air Balloon Stephen Peck Stephen Peck is from Battle Creek, Michigan. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 23 years and has over 400 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He is a retired counselor with the Red Cross and Binder Park Zoo. His wife's name is Sandy. 

This will be his 20th year participating in the event. His balloon was named "Gypsy Wind" because Stephen likes the song Gypsy Wind! When he was first learning, Tom Roush required him to land the balloon at a nearby nudist colony...a day he will never forget.

Jeff Pestun - Special Purpose

Jeff Pestun Hot Air Balloon Jeff Pestun Jeff Pestun is from Zeeland, Michigan and grew up in the Battle Creek area watching hot-air balloons and then crewing his first balloon when he was only 8 years old. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 15 years with over 400 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He presently works in Technology Management for Hope College. Jeff is married to his wife Robyn and has two children, Andrew and Allison.

The name of his balloon is "Special Purpose" which is a reference to the movie "The Jerk". This will be his 13th year participating in the event. Jeff's parents, Nick & Marilyn will be crewing along with his son Andrew.

Jeff placed #11 in 2013 & 2012 and #9 in 2011 in the hot-air balloon competitions.

John Petrehn - Kodachrome

John Petrehn - Leawood KS - Racer XJohn Petrehn - Kodachrome BalloonJohnny Petrehn is from Leawood, Kansas. He started hot air ballooning in the early 70's has been a licensed balloon pilot for 27 years and has over 2600 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He works in real estate.

The name of his new balloon this year is "Kodachrome". Previously he flew "Racer X" and he has competed in EVERY Field of Flight Balloon Competition in Battle Creek since 1991. His brother, Paul Petrehn, will be flying this year as well.

Johnny placed #8 in 2013 & #1 in the 2012 hot-air balloon competitions.

Paul Petrehn - Stranded

Paul Petrehn - Howell MI King Me BalloonJohn Petrehn - Stranded balloonPaul Petrehn is from Howell, Michigan. He has a new balloon this year called Stranded. Paul's brother, John Petrehn (Racer X), started hot-air ballooning in the early 70's so Paul grew up around it. He has been a licensed balloon pilot since 1993 and has over 1600 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

He presently works in sales for Cameron Balloons. This will be his 15th year participating in the event, flying his Stranded balloon. His girlfriend Erica is his crew chief.

Paul placed #2 in 2013 & 2012 and #7 in 2011 in the hot-air balloon competitions.

Shawn Raya - Sullair

Shawn Raya and the SULLAIR Balloon Shawn RayaShawn Raya is from Oxford, Michigan. Shawn grew up with his dad flying the Father & Son Construction balloon. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 27 years and has over 1740 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. Shawn is a purchasing manager at RHK Technology. He has a wife named Sandra and 4 kids; Joshua, Audrianna, Ashley & Victoria.

Shawn will be flying the "Fast & Serious" balloon with the "Sullair" banner. This will be his 9th year participating in the event. Shawn's family helps him crew the balloon.

Shawn placed #7 in 2013, #8 in 2012 and #3 in 2011 in the hot-air balloon competitions.

Chris Reinert - Break Free

Chris Reinhart - Alta IA - Break Free BalloonChris Reinhart - Alta IA - Break Free BalloonChris Reinert is from Alta, Iowa. He has been a licensed balloon pilot since 1999 and has over 285 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. This will be his 1st year participating in the event, flying his Break Free balloon.

He presently works as a Physical Education Teacher and Coach. He and his wife Angie have two kids, Carson and Camden.

Daniel Reusch - Why Knot

Dan Reusch - Peoria IL - Why Not BalloonDan Reusch - Why Knot BalloonDaniel Reusch is from Peoria, Illinois and will be participating in his 2nd Battle Creek Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

He has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for over 9 years and has logged over 272 pilot-in-command hours.

When Daniel is not flying his balloon he is employed as a Technician for an Engineering Company. This year he will be flying his balloon called Why Knot.

Tom Ricke - Another Pastime

Tom Ricke - Clive IA - Another Pastime Tom RickeTom Ricke is from Clive, Iowa. When Tom married his wife, Julie, he married into a ballooning family. His father-in-law flew for 25 years. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 15 years and has over 500 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. Tom is a banker by trade.

The name of his original balloon that he flew through 2012 was "Pastime", which is the name of his wife's favorite authentic Mexican restaurant in Mason City, Iowa. In 2013, Tom began flying his new balloon called "Another Pastime".

This will be Tom's 15th year participating in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Competition. His crew consists of his wife Julie, son Jacob, daughters Morgan Smith and Courtney Schulte and nephew Phillip Johnson. 

Pat Rolfe - Firewalker

Pat Rolfe Hot Air Balloon Pat RolfePat Rolfe is from Battle Creek, Michigan. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 8 years and has over 321 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He is a retired maintenance engineer for the Kellogg Company. He has a wife named Cindy and 4 children; Patrick, Jennifer, Michael & Russell. He also has three grandchildren named Trevor, Madison and Natalie.

The name of his balloon is "Firewalker". There's a long story behind the balloon name...a bunch of guys around a campfire late at night being crazy...walking across a log on fire... This is Pat's 30th year participating in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Competition in any way, shape or form. Pat crewed for Dave Emmeret for 25 years and now the tables have turned and Dave, who is now a retired balloon pilot after 30 years of flying, is Pat's crew chief.

Bob Romaneschi - King Louie

Bob Romaneschi - King Louie BalloonBob Romaneschi - King Louie BalloonBob 'Capt. Bob' Romaneschi is from Phoenix, Arizona and will be flying for his 3rd year in the Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition in his balloon called King Louie.

He has logged over 5900 pilot-in-command hours and has been a licensed hot-air balloon pilot for over 30 years.

When Bob is not flying his balloon for competition, he is a Balloon Pilot/Repairman/Builder. He and his wife Devonne have two adult children, Erin and Ryan.

 

Tom Roush - Git-R-Done

Tom Roushe Hot Air Balloon Tom RoushTom "Old Fart" Roush is from Tallassee, Tennessee. He has been a licensed pilot for 56 years and a licensed balloon pilot for over 34 years and has over 1330 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He worked for Kraft and Post Foods for a number of years and retired in 1995.

The name of his balloon is "Git-R-Done". He has participated in EVERY SINGLE EVENT here since the Pre-World's in 1980.

"I'm 73 & if I'm going to do it, I'd better "Git-R-Done"" (this is his reasoning for the name of the balloon) His wife's name is Pat and they have 2 kids Laura & Patrick. His regular crew for 13 years couldn't be here this year... Liz Roxbery. Crewing this year are JC Smith, "Butters" Shelton, & Johnny Flathau. Tom restores antique airplanes and flies them.

Tom placed #4 in the 2011 hot-air balloon competition.

Jeremy Rubin - Legacy

Jeremy Rubin - Ankeny IA - Legacy BalloonJeremy Rubin - Ankeny IA - Legacy BalloonJeremy Rubin is from Ankeny, Iowa. He will be returning to Battle Creek for his 3rd Hot-Air Balloon Competition. He has been a licensed balloon pilot since 1999 and has over 500 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

He presently works in Finance. This will be his 3rd year participating in the event, flying his Legacy balloon.

Jeremy and his wife Macenzie have 3 children, Madison, Avery and Reece.

Chris Smart - Dream Racer/ BluFish

Chris Smart - Blu Fish Balloon

Chris Smart - Blu Fish BalloonChris Smart, also known as CCD (Chris Can Do), is from Huntington, Indiana. 2014 will be Chris' 3rd year flying his Dream Racer Balloon with the BluFish Consulting banner in the Battle Creek Field of Flight Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

He started out in crewing and has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 23 years and has logged over 1300 pilot-in-command hours. He also has a passenger ride balloon called "Dream Achiever" and is a hired pilot for the RE/MAX of Indiana balloon. When he's not flying his balloon, he is a Heavy Equipment Manager at a Limestone Quarry. His Best Friend Cindy is his crew chief and has 4 children; Janee’, Mike, Amy and Candice.

Chris placed #6 in 2013 & in 2012 Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

Susan Stamats - Alley Cat

Susan Stamats Hot Air Balloon Susan Stamats Susan Stamats is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She saw a hot-air balloon and then she was hooked. She now has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 28 years with over 2400 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon.

Susan flies the "Alley Cat" balloon. She has participated in every event at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Hot-Air Competitions except one. She says her balloon crew is the Best in the World!

Chuck Walz - RE/MAX Mighty Max

Chuck Walz - Munith MI - RE/MAX Mighty Max Chuck WalzChuck Walz is from Munith, Michigan. Before becoming a pilot, Chuck was on a balloon crew. He has been a licensed balloon pilot since 1993 and has over 950 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. Chuck works for the Jackson County Road Commission. He has a wife named Cindy and has a son named Brian. He has participated in this event for many years.

He will be flying the "RE/MAX Mighty Max" balloon. Chuck's crew consists of his crew chief and wife Cindy, brother Rusty and his girlfriend Sarah.

Chuck placed #13 in the 2013 Hot-Air Balloon Competition.

Dale Wilson - Seventh Heaven

Dale Wilson Hot Air Balloon Dale Wilson Dale "Captain Boomerang" Wilson is from Augusta, Michigan. After crewing in the 1981 World's Championship, he bought his first balloon in 1987. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for over 26 years and has over 520 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He is retired from AT&T. His wife's name is Lori.

His mother-in-law came up with the name of his balloon "Seventh Heaven". This will be his 31st year participating in the event. Dale's crew consists of members with an average age in the 60's.

Joe Zvada - Super Chicken

Joe Zvada - McAllen TX - Super Chicken Joe Zvada - McAllen TX - Super Chicken Joe Zvada is from McAllen, Texas. He has been a licensed balloon pilot for 13 years and has over 650 hours as pilot-in-command of a balloon. He presently works as an Aircraft Scheduler/Dispatch for Charter Company.

The name of his new balloon is "Super Chicken". This was his 9th year participating in the event. 

Joe  won 1st place in the 2013 in the hot-air balloon competition and placed #9 in 2012 and #11 in 2011.

Check out the Balloon Pong website.

2014 Final Balloon Competition Standings

  1. John Petrehn - Kodachrome BalloonJohnny Petrehn Racer XJohnny Petrehn 7185
  2. Joe Heartsill 6559
  3. Chase Donner 6546
  4. Jeff Pestun 6373
  5. Shawn Raya 6372
  6. Joe Zvada 6304
  7. Yudai Fujita 6301
  8. AJ Nels 6210
  9. Chris Smart 6198
  10. Dominic Bareford 5616
  11. Jason Adams 5395
  12. Brandon Heavin 5326
  13. Larry Coan 5257
  14. Steve Mitchell 4999
  15. Jeremy Rubin 4978

 Congratulations and thank you to all those who participated!

Final Balloon Competition Standings 2013

2013 Hot-Air Balloon Competition Final Standings:

1 Joe ZVADA, TX 7950Joe Zvada - McAllen TX - Super ChickenJoe Zvada - McAllen TX - Super Chicken
2 Paul PETREHN, MI 7860
3 Joe HEARTSILL, TX 7730
4 Gary HEAVIN, TX 7590
5 Nick DONNER, KY 7550
6 Chris SMART, IN 7540
7 Shawn RAYA, MI 7510
8 John PETREHN, KS 7470
9 Harold CLIVER, TX 7260
10 Phil CLINGER, MI 7050
11 Jeff PESTUN, MI 6950
12 Yudai FUJITA, JPN 6880
13 Chuck WALZ, MI 6860
14 Rhett HEARTSILL, TX 6800
15 Brandon HEAVIN, TX 6680

Congratulations and thank you to all those who participated!

Final Standings 2011 - 2012

2012 Hot-Air Balloon Competition Final Standings

John Petrehn - #1 2012

John Pethren - Winner 2012 Hot-Air Balloon Competiition - Racer X Balloon
1 John PETREHN, KS 11178
2 Paul PETREHN, MI 10319
3 Rhett HEARTSILL, TX 10039
4 Nick DONNER, KY 9885
5 Joe HEARTSILL, TX 9660
6 Chris SMART, IN 9546
7 Robert GONZALES, TX 9501
8 Shawn RAYA, MI 8989
9 Joe ZVADA, TX 8715
10 Gary HEAVIN, TX 8711
11 Jeff PESTUN, MI 8559
12 Robert WATSON, MI 8368
13 Andy BAIRD, MI 8321
14 Jason ADAMS, ONT 8226
15 Rick KERBER, MI 8007

 

Congratulations and Thank You to all who participated!


Nick Donner - Nike Victory Hot-Air Balloon - #1 in 2011 Nick Donner - 2011 Hot-Air Balloon Champion

2011 Hot-Air Balloon Competition Final Standings

1. Nick Donner IL 6704 Nike Victory Balloon
2. Chase Donner GA 6500
3. Shawn Raya MI 6386
4. Tom Roush TN 6364
5. Larry Coan MI 6272
6. Joe Heartsill TX 6182
7. Paul Petrehn MI 6126
8. Phil Clinger MI 5602
9. Jeff Pestun MI 5557
10. Roy Smith TN 5421
11. Joe Zvada OH 5331
12. Rhett Heartsill TX 5215
13. Bret Christian IA 5172
14. David Troutman KY 4943
15. Jeff Sweet NC 4897

Congratulations and Thank You to all who participated!

 

Balloon Pilot Invite Letter

3140 5th Avenue
Battle Creek, MI  49037
Office:  269-962-0592
Fax:  269-962-8687

January 21, 2014                                        

Dear Balloonists:

The plans for the 2014 Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival are strongly underway and we cordially invite you to be a part of the celebration!  Our dates are July 2-6 with the first competitive flight being Thursday, July 3 in the AM!

As we all know, this event is an “Invitational” Event.  However, the list of invitee’s has grown.  We currently have over 65 Balloonists on our list of invites.  Yes, this does include some of our commercial balloons; however, with only 40 spots available for the non-commercial balloons we simply will not have room for everyone.  Therefore, I encourage you to return your application and entry fee as soon as possible to secure your spot!

Again, our dates will be July 2-6 with the Practice Flight being Wednesday, July 2 in the PM and the first competitive flight being Thursday, July 3 in the AM.  Our last competitive flight and “flight” will be Sunday, July 6 in the AM.  We are not going to have a flight that evening!  In fact, all activities for the Battle Creek Field of Flight will conclude by 6:00 PM that Sunday.  Therefore, complimentary Hotel Rooms will be covered from Wednesday, July 2 through Saturday, July 5.  

Registration for all Balloonists will be on Wednesday, July 2 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (Holiday Inn) followed by the first mandatory briefing (W.K. Kellogg Airport Eaton Hangar) at 4:30 pm.  This is our Opening Day for the Field of Flight and we plan to again make this a very affordable day for families.  The spectator fee will only be $10.00 per car load for parking and admission will be FREE.  Spectators will have the opportunity to go out on the launch field prior to the scheduled Practice Flight.  This gives the spectators a chance to intermingle with you and see up close what it really takes to be involved in the sport of ballooning.

I want you to know that we feel very blessed to have such a prestigious group of balloonists to invite!
Therefore, I have enclosed/attached the Official Pilot Entry Form, the Pilot Fact Sheet, Prize Money Payout, Hotel Accommodations, Bio Sheet, Shirt Order Form and the Tentative Schedule of Events. 

Right now, all I need from you to “CONFIRM” your participation is the Official Entry Form and your $75.00 entry fee.  The remaining paperwork will be due on or before February 14, 2014.  Although we will accept applications up to February 14, 2014, should all slots fill prior to that date, a waiting will be established.  I will send an email to you to confirm your participation the day I receive your paperwork in the mail.

As most of you know, I am the only one in the Office.  Which means the best way to reach me is email or my cell phone which is 269-986-4150.  You are welcome to call the Office at 269-962-0592 and if I don’t answer the machine will!  I will get back with you just as soon as I can!

And, last but certainly not least, it is again with great pleasure that we announce the return of Jim Birk as Championship Director!  There is no doubt that Jim and his staff will keep the flying competitive, fun and safe for all participants.

Again, thank you for all your support and we look forward to seeing you July 2-6, 2014, at the Battle Creek Field of Flight!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Sincerely,



Barbara A Haluszka
Executive Director

/bah

Listen to WIN 98.5 Country while browsing our site!

Battle Creek EnquirerBluefishBronson Healthcare | Bronson Battle Creek HospitalCapital CateringDuncan AviationDan HenryMiller LiteKellogg'sLifeCareParker AerospacePost Cereals websiteWIN 98.5 Your Country!Western Michigan University College of AviationWWMT News Channel 3

Applebee’s Battle Creek Wall featuring the BC Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival - Photo by Lisa Burns

“A special Thank you to Applebee’s in Battle Creek for featuring the BC Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival on their wall!  What an amazing job and tributeThank you for the support!

OFFICIAL 2014 Partners

bcucolorlogo2010 Adams Shirt Shack Behnke WarehouseCalhoun County Visitors BureauCharter MediaDemaagdFirekeepers CasinoHenkel AutoHeritage ChevroletHoliday InnBattle Creek HondaJons to GoKellogg Community CollegeLakeview Ford MCM Management Corp.MeijerNet Magik Pros Web DesignPodsSouthern Michigan OrthoStandard Printing & Office SupplySystex Sunshine ToyotaSchweitzer ConstructionT-EN-T Party Rentals LLCWest Michigan Wolves

Designed by Net Magik Pros Web Design.