A Hot Air Balloon Scrapbook

I'm flying, silently and leisurely at 11 mph, about 1,000 feet above the Yadkin Valley near East Bend, NC. Standing in a large rattan basket, I'm fully aware that the only thing keeping me aloft above terra firma is the attached flamboyantly colored and billowing canopy. The craft is a hot air balloon, the world's oldest form of aviation. My flight is so glorious I wish I could choose this mode of transportation every time I travel.

Capt. Jack Ponticelli, owner of Carolina Balloon AdVentures, is obliging my aerial wishes on this humid, hazy, summer morning.

An FAA-rated commercial hot air balloon pilot, Jack has been living his passion for more than 35 years, and "has done everything you can do with a hot air balloon," he asserts. Jack also is sales manager and pilot for FireFly, one of the world's largest manufacturers of sport and commercial hot air balloons located in nearby Statesville.
Excerpts, from Mary Gilbert, a writer and blogger sharing stories from the road about people, places, and passions. Read her article: "Up, Up, and Away in a Beautiful and Bold Hot Air Balloon" - Agust 14, 2018

Over my years of ballooning, I have met many people and part of many memories, each one special. Here is a collection of stories and mementos that have made my flights worthwhile.
Vivian's Birthday Flight August 9, 2011
"Dear Jack, Debbie, Brianne, Mike, Doug, Rusty, Haley and ? (rats, was doing so good). Hello to you all and thanks for a great day. I truly felt the majesty of God on the balloon ride, it was a tranquil and peaceful ride. Thanks to all of you for the warm welcome. Barry and I had a really fun day. I went back to work, beaming with delight and now everyone wants to experience the joy! I will send them your site.

It was a pleasure meeting you all..."

Vivian and Barry Vhevener@aol.com
Ballooning with Brenda and Gene on July 5, 2010 - The scenery was breathtaking.
"From the very beginning our  balloon adventure was a very pleasant experience. From booking the flight to the champagne breakfast the crew and Captain Jack were very helpful and kind. Even helping us find our next destination. The scenery was breathtaking, and take off was very smooth. My sister and I have always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, but because of the death of her son and her granddaughter being in a coma, she couldn't experience the awesome ride we did. It was a beautiful Carolina morning and after helping inflate the balloon, we were ready to climb in and enjoy just how awesome our Lord and savior is, and how He knows what we need, and how much we need to get somewhere where we can just enjoy the peace and quiet. Thank you Captain Jack and crew for a wonderful experience".  Brenda & gene Bennett - brendab25@comcast.net
Ballooning October 29, 2009 - An awesome experience that will not soon be forgotten. .
"Captjack, Thank you for the balloon ride. It was an awesome experience that will not soon be forgotten. We appreciate your skills and ability to pilot the balloon which ultimately made for a more pleasurable experience. My only regret is my camera breaking right before flight, I am extremely grateful for your wife lending us hers. We look forward to seeing the pictures, and lastly thank you for your hospitality following the ride. I will definitely refer any friends and family that are interested in flying to you.  Thanks again,".  Alice Ames
Risa and Edye celebrated their 60th birthday with a Hot Air Balloon Ride.
"The ride was great. Calm and beautiful. Of course the excitement centered around searching for a place to land and the eventual landing itself. The cows we met were quite surprised but tolerated it well! Jack was terrific and most professional, and we felt safe all the way. The crew was very pleasant as well. Thanks for a good and safe time. I would gladly recommend you to anyone who was interested".  Risa
Douglas completed his 200 jump from my balloon.
"This past Sunday, I had the ride of a lifetime. I made my 200th jump from a hot air balloon, thanks to Capt. Jack of Carolina Balloon AdVentures"........"Next time, I promised myself, I've got to stay in that balloon."  Douglas Kiang
Balloon-Barbecue-Bonfire Ad-venture for the Kent's
"We searched for a ballooning web site in December of 1998 and came across Captain Jack's immediately. After reading through it we knew we had to get our group signed up as soon as possible. We sent in a deposit for sixteen people in January of 1999. The date I chose was June 5th. We've found through experience that it's never too early to make a commitment for a big event.
Captain Jack corresponded with us by e-mail and by phone through out the end of winter right up to the day of the launch. His attention to detail kept us at ease. A party this size needs a good coordinator to keep everything on track. Everything was meticulously planned out. Our numbers grew from sixteen to twenty one passengers, and the event blossomed from a simple balloon trip to a balloon-barbecue-bon fire adventure!
When the big day came we couldn't have asked for better weather. We were very fortunate, because this spring had some unusual wind conditions.
Balloon flights take place in the early morning or early evening when the winds are much calmer. Our group required seven balloons. We were introduced to our pilots, and soon after we took a hayride to the launch site. We whooped with excitement when we saw those balloon inflating! We knew that the adventure was just minutes away and that we would soon fly away with the wind. The site of those balloons taking off was astounding!
If you have a hunch that you'd like to go on a balloon ride we bet you can think of a lot of people who would love to join you. We found that out when we sent in a deposit for sixteen people to go flying with Captain Jack. My wife and I knew we could get at least sixteen people to join us, and when the big day came we had twenty-one people flying and five joining the chase crews! To top of the evening flight Captain Jack arranged to have a barbecue and bon fire for our group. My parents came for the ride too, and since it was their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary Captain Jack had a chocolate cake made in the shape of a balloon in their honor. The sites we saw, people we met, and fun the whole group had has made memories that will last a lifetime. What a blast!
We couldn't write this without thanking the pilots and their crews. These people deserve a special recognition for their professionalism, enthusiasm, courtesy, and dedication to the sport of ballooning".
"Thank you all!"  Kent and Caroline Smith
"More memories to come....."

Carolina Balloon AdVentures
Hot Air Balloon Rides
3028 Black Diamond Lane
East Bend, NC 27018

(336) 699-3332
We would love to hear from you!
Send us an e-mail: carolinaballoon@yahoo.com