Balloon Flights in the Disney World area of Orlando Florida.  Rides Flown Daily at sunrise in Central Florida. Over35 Years Experience!

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Thompson Aire Ground Crew

The ground team is the backbone of our operation.  No balloon will ever fly without a ground team.  When you come and fly with us please give the ground team at least a pat on the back!

Gina Thompson

Poor Gina came for a balloon flight with her sister and daughter one day and had no clue what she was in for.  She started to date Captain Jeff and then he proposed.  They were married in May and now have a daughter named Ava Marie Thompson.  The next generation of flyers in the Thompson family.  Gina is busy with the baby most weekends but still finds time to come out and crew.  She has fallen in love with the balloon world and understands completely her husbands love for this and enjoys being part of his world.

          
Capt Kim McCourt,

Kim has been with us for 8 years.  About two years ago he said he would like to learn how to fly.  His life has not been the same since.  He has worked his butt off to learn the regulations and get his flight time as well as purchased his own balloon to finish his training in.  We are happy to say that on July 27th of 2008 Kim took his first SOLO flight!  Have a look on the calendar to see his photo after his solo flight.  We will end up moving him from this page to the pilot page soon.

Photos below were take of Kim's SOLO on 07/27/08

 

I think I can, I think I can, I know I can... I am OFF!!!! Flying HIGH!!!! I didnt see this comming! I did it!! I did it!!  I DID IT!!

Capt Kim is now a pilot.  He still comes out as part of our ground team from time to time but don't be surprised if you see him as your pilot too!

Audra Thompson

Brother Jon's daughter.  Audra is a balloon crew person right out of the gate.  Pictured here at the United States National Championships she is right at home on the balloon launch field.  She will jump on board on any flight if you tell her there is a spare spot.  Her infectious smile and go get em attitude will put a smile on your face.

Kayla Rementer

Kayla is the daughter of Capt Jeff's wife Gina.  Kayla was a little hesitant about going out and becoming part of the ground crew but Capt Jeff's Niece Audra convinced her to come out after a few sleep over's at Uncle Jeff's house.  She now comes out and is  enjoying crewing.  Still a fight to get her out of bed in the morning but still loves it when she does.  Of course we are now in the teenage years and she has a boyfriend.

HI TOM  FACE TIME ME!!

Ava Marie Thompson

Ava is truly a priceless treasure.  We will update photos as time goes by.  Ava is the first child for Capt Jeff and most likely the last grandchild for Grandparents Connie and Jim Thompson.  Ava was in her first balloon by the time she was only 2 1/2 months old.  She may not be the next pilot in the Thompson family but there is no doubt she has many flights ahead of her.  She may be out with us some weekend so you can meet her. She took her first flight when she was only 7 months old and now has three flights in her log book and she not even three years old yet!

Connie Thompson

Sarge as we all have come to affectionately know her.  Mom "Connie" Thompson started chasseing for Jeff back in the mid 70's.  Connie was the first chase team the Thompson Family had.  Later when Dad "Jim" started to fly she became his chase crew.  Father was content with flying in balloon festivals but mother wanted to chase in competition.  So father had no real choice but to become a competitive pilot and fly in balloon competitions.  Thanks to Mother being so persistent father was awarded the *Shields-Trauger Award this last year in Albuquerque.  This is the higest award in ballooning and father gave most of the credit exactly where it should have gone.  MOM...

This is a special award (BFA's highest) and therefore does not have to be awarded annually.  (BFA Balloon Federation of America)

Leandro Bartole

Poor Leo,  He was so worried about what we would say here on the Crew page.  Leo wants to be a pilot some day.  He tries as hard as he can but we think his middle name should have been Murphy,  If something can go wrong it will for Leo.  

I have no doubt that someday he will earn his dream and become a pilot but he has more to learn than he can even fathom yet.  Each day he is out with us he learns more and more and Leo has a very elegant style about him.  Polite and well mannered he is absolutely an asset to our team.

 

Pat Woods

Pat is the Universal Crew person.  Crewing for several of the pilots in the area he also goes on the road with brother Jon in the summer time.  When he is on the road with brother Jon he is the Chief Crew person for the Children's Miracle Network balloon team.  If you look on the TA calendar you will see his name on several days.  The GC on the calendar means Ground Crew so when you see GC Pat then that is ground crew Pat.

Patrick Layton

Retired navy seal and mailman for Disney, Patrick is also a valuable part or our ground team.  He has his private pilots certificate to fly balloons.  Patrick also learns more about flying while he chases for them.  Patrick also crews for several pilots but we like to get our hands on him first if  we can.   

Hailey Thompson

Hailey is the daughter of Jeff's sister Jule.  Hailey has been involved in ballooning since she was able to walk.  Starting out as crew for grandpa (Jim Thompson) Hailey and her brother Tyler were more or less born into ballooning.  Hailey has spent the last few summers down from Iowa, crewing for us!  It never fails the first day she is out on the crew as soon as all the other crews hear her voice on the radio the next ten minutes all you hear is "HI HAILEY"  "HI HAILEY" "HI HAILEY"  "HI HAILEY" "HI HAILEY",,,.....

Paul and Julie Drew

Paul and Julie are friends from the UK.  They chase balloons back home in the UK and when they come to the Orlando area each year they chase for us.  Friends for many years we all look forward to their yearly visit.  Great fun and just down right good people we are blessed to have them out and to have them here to play with us each year.

Maggie Mae

I went out with a friend to look at some puppies.  I was not there to get a dog, however, this little puppy came out from behind a shed and laid across my feet and went to sleep.  Several of the guys looked at me and said.  Looks like you have been chosen.  I guess I was.  She has turned out to be the love of my life.  Well mannered and extremely obedient.  Maggie Mae is a great member of our ground team.  She is not out every day but if she is with us on your flight day you too will fall in love with my little girl.  See Maggie in Action!

Stunning Sunrise View

 

 

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Jeff Thompson has been awarded a Directors Award from the Balloon Federation of America for his work with the BFA Hall of Fame committee.  Inside the website HotAirBalloonist.com Jeff created a storage and work area for all the files used in choosing Hall-of-Famers.  Please help support the site become a member.

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