Dream Balloon Flight For 21-Year-Old

Reading Time - 3 minutes

Oliver’s dream balloon flight turned into reality when he recently flew with us from Norwich and he didn't let his autism or hearing impairment stand in the way of enjoying an amazing experience.

His mother, Ellen, and his pilot for the flight, Robert Keron, tell us more about his story.

When Ellen sent us a photo of Ollie enjoying his Virgin balloon ride, we found his story very empowering.

While there are limitations in regards to safely traveling by hot air balloon, we aim to enable as many people as possible to enjoy this fantastic means of transportation.

And Ollie’s experience, as his mother shared it with us, feels like a great example of a dream come true, giving hope to others too.

Ellen says:

“In my opinion, I feel that the Virgin Hot Air Balloons experience would help anybody with special needs who wants to do the flight. Too many times our children miss out as we don't know what it would be like for them. They have a great team to phone or online chat with. I want to take the time to thank everyone who made Ollie's experience fantastic. He will never forget it.”

Drawing And Making His Own Balloons

From the area where he lives with his family, near Norwich, Ollie loved watching hot air balloons float by.

His enjoyment of watching them evolved into him drawing images of balloons from the internet.

He even started to make his own by using a wheelie bin liner, shoe laces, and a fan.

Two years ago, his family took him to a hot air balloon evening at Old Buckenham.

Mum Ellen remembers how happy Oliver looked at the event.

When he turned 19, Ellen started to think of how she could organise a hot air balloon ride for him.

As she explains, he needed help and support from somebody close, whom he knows and trusts, to be able to enjoy the experience.

While she was looking at ways to make this happen for him, Ollie kept watching balloons and making his own.

How His Dream Balloon Flight Became Reality

Oliver turned 21 in June this year.

Instead of gifts, his mother asked friends and family to contribute what they could towards the cost of a hot air balloon ride for him and a companion.

Her idea proved the best way forward, as they raised enough money to make the experience happen.

Ollie’s sign language tutor from Easton College agreed to accompany him on his dream flight.

She could help him understand each step of the journey and support him in such a completely new environment.

Ellen also tells us how much our pilot, Robert Keron, supported Oliver:

“When we got to the event, we explained Ollie's needs to Robert, the pilot. He was absolutely amazing. He let Ollie look and get in the basket before others got in. Ollie helped to pull out the balloon and take off the straps. To Ollie, this was a huge deal. I cannot praise Robert Keron enough for making Ollie feel at ease, which is the main factor with Autism.”

As the balloon took off, Ellen could see her son’s face brimming with happiness.

Talking about how the flight went, Robert Keron, our pilot, also gave us the in-flight perspective of the story:

“Ollie was great fun to be with and by all account has had a real interest in hot air ballooning for many years. He had a very sharp mind and got involved in preparing the balloon. Once we were airborne I explained how we use the different winds at height to steer the balloon. After we landed Ollie was really enthusiastic and was a great help to the crew packing up the balloon.”

Related Posts

Get your stamps ready, these flights are worth writing home about

A collage of over 30 'FloatFace' Selfies of people on our hot air balloons!

FloatFace and BalloonSpotter Hot Air Balloon Ride Competition Winners 2022!, It’s that time of year again! As we…

Read more
Yorkshire balloon rides

Neil Marshall; Crewman Extraordinaire!, Some might say Neil Marshall has the world’s…

Read more
mum on a hot air balloon ride experience

Daredevil Vera, 93, Gives Us Life Lessons!, When Kate Jones tagged us in a Facebook post…

Read more

Remembering a Loved One, This must have been a very emotional moment…

Read more