Hot air ballooning must be in Dom’s blood. With his father being an award-winning hot air balloon pilot of more than 40 years and his sister one of the world’s highest-ranking female pilots, it was surely inevitable that he would follow in their footsteps and catch the ballooning bug!

Dom joined Virgin Balloon Flights at the start of our 2018 season and covers areas such as North Wales, Cheshire, and Staffordshire.

He may be our youngest pilot, but don’t let that discourage you, he already has a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt.

Champion in the making

He won the UK National Ballooning Championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017 and finished in 4th place at the 2016 World Hot Air Balloon Championships in Japan. Competing amongst 104 of the best pilots from 31 different countries, this wasn’t bad going!

But this year, Dom went one better, or should I say 3 better, and was crowned World Hot Air Balloon Champion for 2018 – the youngest winner ever at just 25 years old!

He saw off competition from more than 100 other pilots from around the world to become the 23rd FAI Hot Air Balloon World Champion in Austria this August.

To say we are proud of his amazing achievement is an understatement! For Dom, it came as a bit of a surprise. “It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet, and all felt a bit surreal, but it’s a really nice feeling,” he said.

You can read about his win in more detail here.

Reflections on 2018

2018 has been a busy year for Dom, as well as becoming World Champion, he has got off to a flying start in his first season with us.

'I've really enjoyed my first season at Virgin Balloon Flights. Meeting new people and seeing how much they enjoy being taken into the sky in a hot air balloon for the first time, I always feel privileged to share that moment with them.

Some personal highlights for me this year have been some stunning flights over Blithfield Reservoir in Staffordshire, as well as flying into the Tanat Valley in North Wales and over the Peckforton hills in Cheshire.

I'm already looking forward to the next flight.'

We're looking forward to many more successful flying seasons with you, too Dom!