Lifting off 13-17 April 2017

Pilots and Balloons 2016


Pilot Registrations are now closed for the 2016 festival. We look forward to welcoming the below to the festival and seeing these awesome balloons in the Wairarapa skies! 


BRANSGROVE, Chris – Hamilton, NZ

Chris has been flying hot air balloons for over 30 years and has been part of most balloon fiestas around the country over many years. International fiesta’s have also been in the mix, including flying at the world’s biggest annual hot air balloon fiesta in 2002 – Albuquerque, and came first in the ‘Flight of the Nations’ event. Chris owned NZs 1st single man balloon (sky hopper) and has owned many different balloons over the years.
 Balloon:  REMAX (ZK-WON) 

CLULOW, John – Hamilton, NZ

John has had a passion for ballooning for 10 years, starting out as crew at festivals in Hamilton, Wairarapa and Levin. He switched from crewing to flying balloons over five years ago.
Balloon:  MIZ Waikato (ZK-MIZ) 

CURSONS, Scott – Wellington, NZ

Scott is a self-confessed adrenalin junkie with kite surfing amongst his list of adventure hobbies. He’s a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer with nearly a decade of competition experience at Wairarapa, Levin, Methven and Hamilton. Scott’s another pilot who has spent time involved in international balloon festivals in UK, Metz, and Chateau DeOux in France, as well as Mildura in Australia in 2004.
Balloon:  Oh Lar Lar (ZK-LAR)  

DiLIBERO, Barry – Pennsylvania, USA

Barry has had a passion for ballooning since the very early 1990s. He’s flown all types of balloons both big and small and with his wife Terri, own five balloons including three special shapes; a candycane striped lighthouse and an American flag along with the space shuttle that visited the Wairarapa a few years ago.

Lighthouse LR

 Balloon:  Flighthouse 

DRYLAND, Gail – Hamilton, NZ

Attended Balloons Over Waikato for 5 years. Has attended the Wairarapa Festival as crew. Been flying ten years attending Albuquerque and Mildura Australia. Phoenix balloon is a Bolland Balloon very small and easy to put up and pack away.

photo (2)

 Balloon:  Phoenix (ZK-PHS) 

HENDRA, Dennis – Manawatu, NZ

Like many pilots, Dennis came to the sport initially as a crew member before purchasing his own balloon from overseas. He is a farmer and an aviation enthusiast.


 Balloon: (ZK-FAH) 

HICKEY, Pauline – Hamilton, NZ

Pauline has been a balloon pilot for more than 15 years and a crew member for more than 22 years. Competition & ballooning achievements include the Balloons Over Waikato NZ Champion in 2003. Pauline has also been involved in festivals in Christchurch, Blenheim, Wanaka, Wairarapa, Methven and Levin as well as overseas events in the USA, UK, France and Australia. Pauline is a foundation member of the Waikato Balloon Club and it’s a family affair with her two daughters both flying balloons and other family members act as crew.
Balloon: Sunrise (ZK-RYZ) 

HOLDERNESS, John – Hamilton, NZ

John started his involvement with ballooning like many other pilots, crewing as a starter until the addiction to fly grew. After six years of flying, he finally bought his balloon and has travelled to other fiestas around the country. This year John will be competing against his daughter Kelly Redshaw who will be flying his balloon so John has been loaned ‘Wild Fire’ by a fellow pilot and friend John Snodgrass who is unable to compete this year.

balloon pic
Balloon: Wild Fire (ZK-PNG) 

KING, Peter – Carterton, NZ

Peter has been another avid festival supporter, having flown around New Zealand. Peter usually launches from his own backyard and specialises in high altitude flight. He flies a light ‘Boland Balloon’ made by Brian Boland from Vermont, USA.
Balloon: Flagship (FAG) 

McKEE, Daryl – Auckland, NZ

Daryl first flew a balloon in 1990 and has since logged more than 2400 flying hours in NZ and throughout the world. Having gained his commercial pilot license nearly 22 years ago, he’s now a director of the Balloon Expedition Co of NZ.


Balloon: Nar Rakasa (ZK-ZVE)

Moore, Gary – Arizona, USA

Gary has been an FAA Certified Commercial Hot Air Balloon Pilot since 1992. In the years since achieving his rating, he has flown in more than 39 U.S. states and 18 countries, including U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, France, India, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and China.
Gary and his wife Diana have also participated in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (the largest balloon festival in the world) every year since 1994.
 Owlbert Eyenstein

Balloon: Owlbert Einstein (N47OWL)

OAKLEY, Michael – Darfield, NZ

Michael has been flying balloons since 1997 and has flown fiestas throughout New Zealand. He’s a five time Wairarapa Balloon Festival pilot champion. He’s represented New Zealand at the World Hot Air Balloon Championships in Mildura, Australia in 2004. Michael and his wife Kate now run a commercial hot air balloon business called Ballooning Canterbury which is based west of Christchurch. Michael is also a keen glider pilot with over 5000 hours and has won several New Zealand championships with NZ and world records to his name.
ZK-OAKBalloon: (ZK-OAK) 

REDSHAW, Kelly – Hamilton, NZ

Kelly has been ballooning since the age of 13, firstly starting as crew and from there the addiction grew. She enjoys how every flight can be something magical and different and the pure joy it brings people, its just contagious. This will be her first time flying in the Wairarapa Balloon Festival and in addition will be competing against her father John Holderness!


Balloon: Fusion(ZK-FTC) 

SALE, Ross – Auckland, NZ

Ross originally got the ‘air bug’ when he was young and silly and did a number of parachute jumps. When living in the USA he took up hang gliding for a number of years before it came in conflict with sailing. Balloons were the answer – and he gained a pilot’s license in the USA in the 1980s. Ross flies his “speedy little ‘Boland Balloon.”
Ross Sales BalloonBalloon: Bittersweet (N8295) 

SCOTT, Craig – Masterton, NZ

Craig started crewing in 2001 at the Wairarapa festival and then went on to crew in Hamilton and at the Wairarapa events during the following years. He was determined to make the switch from crew to pilot and six years ago, bought a ‘Boland Balloon.’ It’s another family affair, with his wife and children crewing for him.
Balloon:  Jelly Bean (ZK-FAI) 

SHAW, Murray – Hamilton, NZ

Murray has spent plenty of time in balloons – clocking up over 230 hours in a short amount of years. He didn’t start flying until 2006, but within two years, had amassed 110 flying hours, which is no mean feat. He’s also a festival stalwart, having notched up wins in fiestas in Wairarapa and Waikato.
Balloon: Whiskey 

SHOUSE, Michael – Wellington, NZ

Michael’s a US-licensed commercial pilot, a license he’s held for the last 32 years. Chief pilot of the Coca-Cola Balloon for the last 22 years, he’s competed in the 1979, 1981 and 1983 World Championships, several US National Championships and has flown many commemorative events worldwide.


Balloon:  Coke (N28861) 

WATSON, Howard – Wellington, NZ

Howard has been flying since 1996 and has attended Balloon festivals in Wairarapa, Hamilton, Levin, Blenheim, Hastings, Methvin and Oamaru. Ballooning is a Watson Family Sport with Sandra, Simon and Emma Helping as crew.

Balloon: Mogul (ZK-FBA) 

WILTON, Mark – Carterton, NZ

Mark became involved with ballooning more than ten years ago as ground crew. When a friend gave up ballooning, Mark learnt to fly. He’s a seasoned festival participant and won the WEL Energy Trust Trophy at the Waikato event in 2009.
Balloon: Team Swan (ZK-FAQ)

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