07:28 AM

CAP Hot-Air Balloon Returns to New York Fest

Balloon duty

NYWG patch (final design, 7-21) Civil Air Patrol’s hot-air balloon “Imagination” returned to New York for the first time since before the pandemic as New York Wing members continued their long history of providing support for Broome County’s Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally.

First Lt. Mike Gallant, a member of the Indiana Wing’s Bakalar Composite Squadron, drove 12 hours with the CAP balloon in tow to arrive just in time for the festival’s start.

The wing has provided assistance for the festival for nearly 30 years.

Spiedie_Balloon_Fest_Logo“Unfortunately, the weather in upstate New York didn’t cooperate as much as we would have liked, but the cadets got invaluable experience with the balloon and our pilot,” said Lt. Col. Frank Birt, the wing’s government relations adviser. 

“We were able to get some tethered rides and one free flight."

Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Josh Nelson and Cadet Senior Airman Sara Hartman, both members of the Southern Tier Cadet Squadron, took flight Saturday evening in 

NYstier“Imagination” for 45 minutes over the greater Binghamton area.

“I loved it!” said Hartman, who acted as the pilot in charge trainee during the setup of the balloon, following a checklist to make sure everything was done correctly and safely.