Testimonial by hot air balloon builder and pilot Larry Nelson, of Guilford, CT:
Paul led me through the balloon building process from start to finish. He first sat me down and shared some proven designs and then using that as a starting point we developed a customized balloon with the look and performance I wanted.
By using Paul’s shop, I was able to start my project right away and put what money I had toward the purchase of fabric instead of sewing machines and cutting tables. As I built the balloon Paul helped me through the process of cutting panels and then sewing the panels into gores and then sewing those gores together until I had an envelope.
Due to my busy schedule, the whole project took a number of months, but Paul was patient and let me work on the balloon when we could all fit it into our schedules. The first time we cold-inflated the envelope in his shop, I couldn’t believe how much we had accomplished. Throughout, Paul was always available to help give a second opinion on the quality of a seam or help me back out of a sewing problem I managed to get tangled into. Along the way he shared a lot of great tips on balloon construction.
For anyone who doesn’t want to make the initial investment in sewing machines and cutting tables, or wants the added security of having a seasoned balloon builder monitoring the quality of their work and help them through the process, I would highly recommend the assisted build program. For me Paul’s program made the difference between talking about building my own ultralight balloon and actually flying it.