Testimonial by Entrepreneur, hot air balloon builder and student pilot Morgan Calderini of Providence, RI:
It is a pleasure and delight to share with all potential balloon builders my experience working with Stumpf Balloons. As a college student, I knew I wanted to learn to pilot a hot air balloon. After a year of research which included interviewing pilots, scouring libraries and the internet I quickly learned that the costs associated with learning to fly would be my biggest obstacle. In addition to working with and paying a pilot for lessons, I’d have to rent their balloon and pay for a myriad of other fees. Knowing I was fully committed to this pursuit and that I wanted to continue flying after my license was completed, it seemed that purchasing or building my own balloon would be a wonderful investment. I had considered purchasing plans and working from them myself to build a balloon, but this seemed like it would take forever. I wanted to enjoy the process it took to learn to fly and build my balloon and knew it would take a special mentor to help me achieve my goals.
My previous attempts at enlisting help was unfruitful; many accomplished pilots read me as a tire-kicker and did not take me seriously. Not Paul; he listened to my goals and worked with me to devise a plan of action. I visited the Vermont Balloon Loft in the fall and met Paul in person. I was introduced to the sewing machine and took it for a test drive to be sure I was up for the many hours I would be potentially be spending in that seat. And so began my adventure in building my own hot air balloon. Paul provided an accurate estimate for the project as well as a timeline.
I spent the month of January working in the Balloon Loft guided by Paul through the process of building a balloon. It was a once in a life time experience. The knowledge that Paul shared with me and his patient nature made what might have been a stressful experience one of the most enjoyable months of my life. As a pilot, I find great comfort in knowing how the balloon is constructed. Every knot, stitch and load tape was inspected by Paul and put together with my own two hands – for me this is invaluable. Safety is at the forefront of the balloon building process when working with Stumpf Balloons.
Paul has been building and repairing balloons since he was in college. He has seen it all; every brand, every best design–and every worst. His balloons draw on this experience and also inspire the part we all fell in love with–the flying. Getting in the sky and ease of use are two things that Paul taught me early on that continue to be guiding principles in my piloting career.
I would do it all again in an instant! Morgan Calderini, Lady Fingers Letterpress http://ladyfingersletterpress.com/