Concho. Pilot: Ron Aros, Tucson. Occupation: Retired civil engineer. Years as Pilot: 16. Awards: Numerous balloon festival flying awards; 2006 Tucson Pilot of the Year. Memorable Flying: “Flying a balloon over a small village in France is thrilling. Flying over and around the red rocks of Gallup, N.M., is very special. Watching the eyes of a child as you fly is a great thrill.”
Foolish Pleasure. Pilot: Dan Ewer, Tucson. Occupation: Air conditioning/heating. Years as Pilot: 6. Awards: Best achiever; president of Tucson Balloon Club. Memorable Flying: Flying in Albuquerque with all the balloons, meeting all the people who come back year after year to crew with us.
Helen’s Fault. Pilots: Sally and Philip Heinrich, Phoenix. Occupation: Sally, retired; Philip, statistical research. Years as Pilot: 20+. Awards: Flight Standards Service Good Friends Award, western division. Memorable Flying: Monument Valley, to look at scenery; White Sands, N.M., where other balloons stand out against white background.
Roping the Wind. Pilot: Scott Nichol, Mesa. Occupation: Owner, Roping the Wind Hot Air Balloon Co. Years as Pilot: 20. Awards: U.S. Nationals, qualified and competed, 2002; Top Gun Rookie of the Year, 2003. Memorable Flying: “Too many to list. I enjoy adventure flying and have made many unique and interesting flights. I am currently involved in a world record attempt to launch and land a paraglider in the basket of my balloon on the same flight (Perris, Calif.).”
Pilot: Roy Walz, Tucson. Occupation: Balloon pilot. Years as Pilot: 29. Awards: Tucson Balloon Club Pilot of the Year for five consecutive years. Memorable Flying: Flying in Chihuahua City, Mexico.