The Official Website
of the

Gila & Salt River Base &
Hot Air Balloon & Airship
Ascension Social Society, Inc.


The Arizona Balloon Club


Last Update:
5 September 2014

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Breaking News & Updates


Mike Sovey

Mike Sovey passed away August 25, 2014.

Mike was a long time member of the AZ Balloon Club and his fine spirit will surely be missed by all. 

July 25, 2014

Commander Bill thought this
should be made available to members:

Life is changing, technology is changing, and ballooning is changing too.

The Balloon Federation of America wants to be a positive part of that change. With that in mind, we have put together a survey of questions to find out what we are doing well, what we can do better, and how we can provide better services to our members and the ballooning community as a whole. 

So, we are asking for your opinions. We invite all folks that are interested in ballooning to take part in our survey. We are asking BFA members, former members, and non-members to complete the survey. The surveys are completed anonymously, and we will review every single one.
Can you take 5 minutes and share your opinions and ideas? 

Take the survey at:

Jim Newnam

Jim passed away June 30, 2014.

A good friend to all and always willing to help out. He was a kind person who enthusiastically contributed to the AZ Balloon Club in many ways.
Jim was proudly laid to rest at the AZ Veteran's Memorial Cemetery.

Jim Curran

Jim passed away February 7, 2014.

Jim was a long time member of the AZ Balloon Club.  Jim was an active member for many years and brought fun and laughter to the launch field.

Link to Online Obituary

JoAnn Hill

JoAnn passed away Tuesday, January 28th, 2014.

Joanne was a long time member and was a very active participant in our club's activities as a pilot, board member, newsletter editor since the 1980's.  This wonderful person with a kind heart will surely be missed.

Link to Online Guest Book

Monday Feb. 3rd
10-11 AM viewing
11-noon Memorial Service
Reception afterward

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
15th Ave. & Maryland (1500 W. Maryland)

If you wish to send a card, Charles' address is:
Charles Hill
627 E. Royal Palm Square North
Phoenix, AZ 85022

Hope Parker

One incredible lady has passed from us and is surely off on another memorable adventure.  Click HERE for more details.

Willard "Bill" Dickinson

Willard "Bill" Dickinson passed away Aug 3 at the Beatitudes. He was 89.
Bill crewed for many people in the club but mostly for the Woodhouses and Unicorn Balloon Company. He eventually obtained his LTA pilot's license and already held a glider license. At this time, no services are scheduled.

Vel Campbell

It is with a very heavy heart to announce that Vel Campbell,
beloved mother, wife, friend & long time ABC member passed 11/19/2012.  Services were held December 1, 2012.

Vel's Obituary Link


A memorial Presentation by Connie Tyler

Beth Miller, long time employee with IMC, that many of us dealt with for our balloon insurance, died of cancer on Sept. 3, 2012.
No further information is available at this time.

Red Zone !!

     Can you please notify your members that the ASU Research Park is private property and balloonists are not allowed to land here. Our property is located between Elliot and Warner Roads in Tempe and we border the 101 Freeway on the east and a neighborhood of homes on the west.
     This morning a balloon landed in the Park near high security buildings mocking us by stating they land on private property secured or not. They will be issued a letter formally trespassing them from the Park. To avoid further incidents we would appreciate your club member’s cooperation.

Thank You,

Judy Page
ASU Research Park, Manager Property Services
8750 S. Science Drive, Tempe, AZ 85284

FAA Aviation Safety

SAIB: CE-10-31
SUBJ: Fuselage - Free Manned Balloons with Undivided Gondolas Date: May 5, 2010 This is information only. Recommendations aren’t mandatory.


This special airworthiness information bulletin alerts owners and operators of all models of free manned balloons with gondolas that carry more than four passengers of an airworthiness concern, specifically the potential risk of injury during landing with undivided gondolas.

The airworthiness concern is not an unsafe condition that would warrant airworthiness directive action under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 39.


This recommendation results from an NTSB accident investigation of aircraft N2867W, Aerostar S77 hot air balloon. There were eight passengers on board; two passengers were injured, one minor and one serious. During the Report of the Administrator, FSDO investigation, it was determined that large balloons may derive a safety benefit from having partitions in the gondola.


The FAA recommends that owners/operators of all models of free manned balloons with more than four passengers divide the gondola into partitions following gondola manufacturer methods or standard maintenance practices.

For Further Information Contact

FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, Attention: Mr. Taylor Martin, ACE 112, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, MO 64106; telephone (816) 329-4139; fax (816) 329-4090.

A Remembrance of Claire Bennett

     Claire Bennett passed away March 18, 2010 in Vienna, Missouri. He was an early balloonist and attended flying events in the Valley and had many ballooning friends.
     Claire had a private license, commercial license, instructor, and was an FAA examiner. He was an astute business man, but will be remembered by the older balloonists and crews for his leadership of “The Hot Air Gang.” This group put on the Four Corners Memorial Day Balloon Race for many years at Farmington, New Mexico. The flying tasks were challenging and unique. After flying were many fun activities. In the whole world, nothing compares to this weekend of flying, fun, and now memories.
     Claire will always be remembered for his smile, laughter, and his ability to be a friend to all he met.  His wife, Louise, can be reached at 573-422-3454 or PO Box 327, Vienna, MO, 65582-0327.

Submitted by Wally Perry

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