Hudson Hot Air Affair :: Hudson, WI
Hudson Hot Air Affair  ::  Hudson, Wisconsin   Hudson Hot Air Affair  ::  Hudson, Wisconsin

Hudson Hot Air Affair

Hudson Hot Air Affair :: Balloons 2014


Balloon Name: Too Fun
Sponsor: WESTconsin Credit Union
Pilot: John Lewis, Belview, MN

It’s a winning combination with long time Hot Air Affair pilot John Lewis and his crew chief wife Barb and 5th year HHAA corporate sponsor WESTconsin Credit Union.  John’s been flying for 13 years, logging 186 hours in the air. The WESTconsin Credit Union crew of Chuck, Jay, Jim, Linda, and Lori are always there to promote HHAA at special events—welcome back as our corporate sponsor! They have tickets for the Taste of the Flyway Silver Screen Edition—pick them up at the Hudson office.


Balloon Name: RE/MAX
Pilot: Mike Sommer, Rochester, MN
Sponsor: RE/MAX Results

Welcome back to Mike who will be flying the popular red, white and blue balloon in Hudson this year.  He’s been a balloonist for 31 years, logging 551 hours as pilot in command.  Mike flies for RE/MAX Results and plans to participate in the media flights and Torchlight Parade. Thanks to Jim Henry and RE/MAX for always including HAA on the RE/MAX schedule. RE/MAX has been listed in every HHAA brochure since 1991.



Balloon Name: US Bank
Pilot: Scott McClinton, Prospect, KY
Sponsor: US Bank-Hudson

US Bank balloon and the local US Bank location have lots of history with HAA.  The balloon made its inaugural flight in Hudson in 2002 and the 2006 balloon appearance was part of ground-breaking ceremonies for a new Hudson building.  Flying for 27 years, Scott has more than 1,950 hours in the air and flies in special events throughout the United States.    Thanks US Bank for your continuous support of HHAA.   


Balloon Name: Freedom Flight V
Pilot: Luke Cesnik, St. Cloud, MN
Sponsor: Vietnam Veterans Chapter 331

Luke’s flying the newest black POW-MIA special shape balloon with a large eagle face with a tear in its eye.  The POW-MIA letters are 3D—puffed out along with all the barbs on the barbed wire.  Luke’s a 22-year pilot with 650+ hours in the air.  When not volunteering for the POW-MIA cause, Luke’s a computer tech/consultant.  Luke’s back as our Balloonmeister for 2014. And special thanks to VVA Chapter 331 for bringing this special balloon to Hudson each year.


Balloon Name:Rainbow Warrior
Pilot: Steve Jacobs, Lakeland, MN
Sponsor: Viking Electronics/Stillwater Balloons

Hot Air Affair visitors can see a big balloon up close when Steve arrives to fly for both Stillwater Balloons and Viking Electronics. Don, Carol and the crew at Viking Electronics are long time HHAA supporters who help bring special fun to the Torchlight Parade on Friday night. Steve’s a HHAA committee member who donates his time and use of his equipment to HHAA events. Thanks to both of you for being there when we need you!


Balloon Name: Barney
Pilot: Jim Wohlwend, Stillwater, MN
Sponsor: Dick’s Bar and Grill

A HHAA charter balloon sponsor is flying with Barney, a 90,000 cubic foot Aerostar. Jim was on the pilot roster when the event started 25 years ago and has flown more than 1800 hours since. He’s currently a pilot for Aamodt’s Hot Air Balloon Rides, Inc. Thanks Jim for helping with HHAA promotional events year round and especially at YMCA Camp St. Croix. Jim and the crew at Dick’s Bar are quite a team!!


Balloon Name:Valley Girl
Pilot: Scott Aamodt, Stillwater, MN
Sponsor: Aamodtís Hot Air Balloon Rides

Scott’s a 28 year balloon pilot whos company was at the very first Hot Air Affair in 1990.  He’s a HHAA committee member who’s helping out this year with appearances by his commercial balloon company at HHAA countdown events and the St. Paul Winter Carnival Parades.  His balloons can be seen launching year-round from Aamodt’s Apple Orchards west of Stillwater.



Balloon Name:Fire and Frost
Pilot: Ed Chapman, Jordan, MN
Sponsor: Pier 500

This is Ed’s eighth year as a pilot in Hudson with sponsor Pier 500.  He has more than 24,000 hours in a variety of aircraft, including more than 2,600 in hot air balloons during his 37 years of flying.  He has set 20 world records in balloons and has made five flights over 30,000 feet with the highest being 38,900 feet.  Welcome back Pier 500—the perfect spot to watch the Torchlight Parade Friday night.     


Balloon Name: In Harmony
Pilot: Nick White, Wauwatosa, WI
Sponsor: Oakwood Dental

Nick began his ballooning career 36 years ago.  He has flown in state, national and international competitions and has been an active commercial pilot for RE/MAX, Milwaukee County Zoo and other commercial interests.  Thanks to his returning sponsor—we appreciate the continued support of Oakwood Dental—check out their coupon in the HHAA brochure.



Balloon Name: Kananga
Pilot: Scott Armstrong, Urbandale, IA
Sponsor:Comfort Suites of Hudson

Thanks to Comfort Suites of Hudson for embracing the Hot Air Affair since opening in Hudson. The hotel is paired with Iowa pilot and pharmacist Scott Armstrong. Scott’s been ballooning for ten years and has 250hours as pilot in command. His 77,000 cubic foot Lindstrand balloon is easily recognized with its orange, purple and yellow spirals.


Balloon Name: Crayola Lite
Pilot: Wynn Gustafson, Arden Hills, MN
Sponsor: Richard Pierce Memorial Flight/Relay for Life

Gus was on the very first pilot roster in 1990 and says he’s only missed one year of HAA due to a visit to the hospital. His 5th grade daughter had her first balloon flight when she was 2 months old during Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We’re pleased to have Gus fly a special program this year. Richard Pierce was a passenger in HHAA 2010 and lost his battle with cancer shortly after the event. His widow Kathy is again partnering with the Hudson Relay For Life to offer a balloon flight experience to another cancer patient or survivor.



Balloon Name: Euphoria Grande II
Pilot: Rich Jaworski, Blair NE
Sponsor: Hudson Vintage Neighborhood Alliance

Fun for the Euphoria crew does not end when the HHAA ends. In June 2013, Rich and his Hudson affiliates, Jean & Wayne Haut, spent a week ballooning in Colorado on a Ballooning Vacation. In the mornings they flew the Rocky Mountain valleys at Breckenridge, Eagle & Steamboat Springs (without snow and skiers). The cool summer nights were spent in lodges & backwoods cabins where they enjoyed great meals, wine & outdoor hot tubs.


Balloon Name: April Love
Pilot: Steve Johnson, Duluth, MN
Sponsor: Zappas Bros

Making his 19th visit to Hudson, Steve’s again paired with charter balloon sponsor Zappa Bros.  Steve says people ask “why the piano on the balloon?”  He tells them—“Well, I professionally play the piano and repair them; hence my claim to fame is I fix ‘em, play ‘em and fly ‘em!”  Thanks to Steve and the folks at Zappa Bros. for bringing the Aerostar Aurora back to Hudson.


Balloon Name: Sabrina
Pilot: Mike Klawitter, Eland, WI
Sponsor: The UPS Store

A private pilot and owner of a hardwood floor company, Mike has been flying balloons for 20 years and has 367 hours as pilot in command.  He’s been a HHAA pilot for nearly two decades and flies a 77,000 cubic foot Head balloon. Al and his crew from The UPS store help out with printing many of the HHAA materials—check out the new school program booklet put together by Mary Martin and Rush River Media!!



Balloon Name: Jill & Tedd’s Excellent Adventure
Pilot: Tedd Maxfield, Austin, MN
Sponsor:First State Bank and Trust

Welcome back this second year balloonist and sponsor combination. First State Bank and Trust opened last year in Hudson and stepped up as a balloon sponsor. Ted writes, ‘ Our balloon spent the first half of its life in Albuquerque, NM but has adjusted well to its new life up north. Some of its most memorable flights were winter flights, including last year at HHAA. What a great event!’


Balloon Name:Scotch
Pilot: Larry Nickolay, Newport, MN
Sponsor: Catalyst Sports Medicine

Now here’s a pair to draw to! Catalyst Sports Medicine owner John Knutson, a founding committee member of HHAA, and pilot Larry Nickoly have been together nearly every year since HHAA started in decades.  He’s 1990. When John purchased a new company recently—he requested that Larry again be his pilot. He’s got the experience with more than 30 years in ballooning and 1,234 hours as pilot.  


Balloon Name: Gus T. Guppy
Pilot: Larry Konash, Burnsville, MN
Sponsor: Hudson House Grand Hotel

Larry’s the manager of the Twin Cities aviation insurance company that has been a long time HHAA supporter. Gus T. Guppy’s flown all over the United States and we’re so pleased tohave his smiling yellow face back in Hudson. He will be carrying charter HHAA sponsor Hudson House Grand Hotel—25 years of continuous support.


Balloon Name: Nothern Lights
Pilot: Pete Riehle, Forest Lake, MN
Sponsor: Loparex, LLC

Pete’s a former Hot Air Affair Balloonmeister and he’s paired with his employer as a sponsor.  Pete says he had become tied up with his kids’ activities in recent years and sold his balloon to a friend.  The nearly 30 year pilot bought it back and is re-energized and excited to fly it again.  Glad you’re back Pete and Sue!!


Balloon Name: Not Yet Named
Pilot: John Rucker, Genoa City, WI
Sponsor: Hudson Ford

This is John’s third year as a pilot at Hot Air Affair, having been a crew member in Hudson for four years.  He’s been flying for 4 years and has 158hours in the air. This is the fourth year of sponsorship for the local automotive dealership under current ownership and a long time balloon sponsor prior to that. Thanks to Hudson Ford for helping us out when we call!



Balloon Name: The Patriot
Pilot: Daniel Whitman, Lakeland, MN
Sponsor:Freedom Valu Centers

This is Daniel’s third Hot Air Affair as a pilot, pairing the Stillwater Balloons’ patriotic red, white and blue balloon with long time HHAA sponsor Freedom Valu Centers.  Dan has been flying for four years and plans to greet visitors Friday night in the Torchlight Parade.  Thanks to Freedom Valu Centers for bringing their concession trailer to the launch field every year to serve as our announcer wagon.



Balloon Name:Fandango
Pilot: Russ Lucas, Dodge Center, MN
Sponsor:Reliance Electric Motors

Welcome back Russ and sponsor Reliance Electric Motors.  Russ is a 7 year commercial pilot with 1,455 hours as pilot in command of his 90K FireFly Galaxy balloon.  Thanks to Reliance Electric Motors for continuing as a HHAA balloon sponsor, plus look for their business card promotional ad in this year’s HHAA brochure.


Balloon Name: Cloud Nine
Pilot: Mark Nabor, Big Bend, WI
Sponsor:Anderson Heating

Welcome back sponsor Anderson Heating and balloonist Mark Nabor for their third year together.  Mark works in information technology and has been a pilot for 6 years.  He says he looks forward to participating with the sponsors each year with his 1997 Firefly balloon.  Thanks to Anderson Heating and volunteers Richard and Sharon Young—who have perfected smoosh boarding while wearing clown outfits!  Thanks for being on the HHAA committee!


Balloon Name: Airganic Garden
Pilot: Bennett Schwontkowski, Cary, IL
Sponsor:Family Fresh Market, Hudson, New Richmond, River Falls, Farmington

Welcome back the popular special shape balloon Airganic Garden—a perfect combination with Family Fresh Markets.  The balloon features state of the art inkjet printing for the attention getting design that includes two giant monarch butterflies, two mouth watering tomatoes, a 25 foot tall apple basket, strawberries, peaches, cinnamon sticks, a classic barn, five cows and two horses on a vivid blue and green background.  Check out the free milk coupon at Family Fresh Market in this year’s HHAA brochure!



Balloon Name: Nifty Gadget
Pilot: Chris Keefe, Oshkosh, WI

Welcome back Chris to Hudson as a HHAA pilot.  We’ve traveled the ballooning circuit with Chris for more than 20 years watching him crew for others—especially the Wisconsin Balloon. We’re pleased you’re back in Hudson as a pilot Chris.  Thanks to Resco—a HHAA charter balloon sponsor—that means stepping up to bring a hot air balloon to Hudson for all 25 years we’ve been doing this!!


Balloon Name: Sedona Sunset
Pilot: Glenn OíConnell, Elgin, IL
Sponsor:Lift Me Up Balloon/John & Evy Nerbonne

Glenn and his sidekick Brian Schwontkowski, along with Hudsonites Nancy and Gary Fouks, have been the foundation of Lift Me Up Balloon for many years.  They provide a balloon ride each year to someone touched by cancer.  The HHAA experience lets a cancer patient step away from his or her daily challenges to enjoy a lift up flying in Sedona Sunset.  Glenn’s a favorite volunteer at the local schools for education or special programs.    


Balloon Name: Hocus Pocus
Pilot: Dale Dommer, Ottumwa, IA
Sponsor:BMO Harris Bank

Dale says 2014 marks 22 years of flying balloons! Thanks for returning to HHAA for the sixth year as pilot for BMO Harris Bank. Molly Johnson started working at the bank in Hudson but recently moved to another BMO office in Ellsworth. She’s still an active HHAA volunteer currently working with Carla Timmerman to coordinate pilot activities—thanks for all the hard work!     


Balloon Name: Go Too
Pilot: Jim Borchert, Bloomington, MN
Sponsor:Eckberg Lammers

Jim was another pilot on the very first HHAA pilot roster in 1990. He’s flying his Raven AX8 this year for new balloon sponsor Eckburg Lammers. He holds a commercial license and has 560 hours in the air over his 28 years in ballooning. Jim’s first flight was in Hudson with Tim and Rose Eakins in March of 1986.He says ‘Tim jumped and my air toys started to accumulate. Been a great ride!’   


Balloon Name: Bubbles
Pilot: John Bulloch, Genoa City, WI
Sponsor:Hudson Physicians

Welcome to a new balloonist and new balloon sponsor to HHAA. John Bullock’s been flying for 9 years and has crewed for several years in Hudson but this is his first time as a pilot. Hudson Physicians has stepped up to sponsor John’s blue balloon with three smiling goldfish on the envelope. Look for smiles on spectator faces as this new duo goes into the air over Hudson.   


Balloon Name: Big Pine
Pilot: Dave Johnson, Minneapolis, MN
Sponsor:James Lawrence Company

Dave’s been flying balloons since 1979 and was on the first HHAA pilot roster in 1990. He and his pilot wife Sue have designed and built balloons including a replica of the Mongolfier Balloon, owned by Matt Wiederkehr, and four Buick balloons for the 1984 Winter Olympics. They’ve flown in events around the region and country. He’s paired with former balloon pilot Jim Wiersgalla who’s a long time supporter of HHAA.   


Balloon Name: Aerogami
Pilot: Rose Eakins, Hutchinson, MN
Sponsor:Linda White Family Hair Care/Brian Webb Property Executives Realty

A perfect match —Rose Eakins was the original balloon coordinator for Hot Air Affair in 1990 and continued for 7 years. Linda White was on the original tourism committee and has been a key player on the committee ever since. Both will celebrate 25 years of HHAA together in Rose’s balloon Aerogami. Rose says the balloon resembles folded paper patterns. “A balloon is called an aerostat—it seemed to fit”, she explained.   


Balloon Name: Peacock
Pilot: Michael Lesmeister, Rochester, MN
Sponsor:Minuteman Press

Welcome back Minuteman Press as a balloon sponsor—thanks to Pete, Cindy, Linda and the gang—we appreciate all your hard work in volunteering for the event. Cindy is coordinating The Silver Screen special events for this 25th Year celebration. Also welcome back Michael—two years at HHAA piloting and 6 years total. He’s a 16 year pilot with 578 hours in the sky and works as a service manager when not flying his Aerostar AX-7.  


Balloon Name: Pumpkin
Pilot: Keith Knefelamp, Lakeland, MN

Keith’s a two year pilot and will be flying for long-time HHAA supporter PressEnter! He can be found flying the big balloons at Stillwater Balloons and helping committee member Steve Jacobs in support of the Hot Air Affair. Thanks to PressEnter for coordinating the photo contest again this year—we appreciate your long standing partnership with HHAA.   


Balloon Name: Stefonia’s Dream
Pilot: Glen Terry, Anoka, MN
Sponsor:Stan Falkenhagen & Associates

Now here&rrsquo;s a story for the record books! Glen Terry was on the pilot roster at the very first HHAA in 1990 and continued to fly in Hudson for years. He hadn’t flown here for a while and wanted to return for the 25th Year to fly with founder Rose Eakins. He asked if he could bring his previous sponsor back with him too—well of course! Welcome back Stan—we missed ya!!   


Balloon Name: Colors on the Wind
Pilot: William Corn, Andover, MN
Sponsor:Sponsored by State Farm Insurance—Wendy Peterson Insurance Agency

William was a HHAA pilot back in the early years so we welcome him back to celebrate our 25th year! He’s a credit manager when not flying balloons, such as his Balloon Works AX-7. Welcome to Wendy Peterson and her State Farm Insurance agency as a new HHAA balloon sponsor. Hope you enjoy your first year flying in the winter—we look forward to many fun years to come!   


Balloon Name: Liberty Belle
Pilot: Bill Marhoun, Belview, MN
Sponsor:ViXXConverting/Anchor Paper Co.

Welcome back to Hudson Bill. He’s a 14 year pilot with 450 hours in the sky and 5 years at HHAA. Bill’s family lived in the area prior to moving to Belview and used to help with HHAA off season activities. ViXX Converting and their new owner Anchor Paper Co. are pleased to partner with HHAA again this year by providing the paper stock for this year’s brochure. Thanks Linda and the crew at ViXX.  


Balloon Name: RE/MAX Redux
Pilot: Steve Sinnen, Minneapolis, MN
Sponsor:RE/MAX North Central

Steve Sinnen will be piloting a balloon sponsored by RE/MAX North Central.   


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