Testimonial by hot air balloon builder and pilot Jim Mueller, of Washington, DC:
In late 2007 I decided I would finally move forward on my goal to build my first hot air balloon. Building the balloon was one of the items on my bucket list and I thought it would make me a better pilot. I researched as much as I could about how balloons are constructed.
When I discovered Paul’s website I decided to give him a call. We spoke a few times on the phone, and based on his advice and explanations of the work involved, I decided to go for it.
As you can imagine, I was very nervous about the sewing, and being a junior private pilot I also did not want to appear “in over my head”.
In the first meeting Paul gave me an overview of all the steps involved, approximate timelines, along with the choices I needed to make in terms of the design and size. He also explained the trade-offs in going with one design or another.
Once the design was finalized, we cut the panels, and then I received a sewing lesson. I was nervous about running the sewing machine, but I did eventually get the hang of it. I have to admit I actually enjoyed the sewing part much more than I thought I would. My day job entails working at a computer all day and I found the sewing to actually be relaxing.
In a little over three weeks the bulk of the building effort was complete and we did our first inflation. Once it was inflated, I felt like I was smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t believe the accomplishment.
I highly recommend working with Paul if you want to build your own balloon. My experience working with him was wonderful! In fact, I want to build a second balloon with his guidance.
Comment by Garry Guertin, pilot/owner of a Stumpf lightweigh 54K over an Aerostar Aurora lower end: