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Meet Monty, Virgin Balloon Flights’ 21st Birthday Hot Air Balloon Pilot Mascot

Pilot Monty Meet Pilot Monty! This handsome chap has joined us as our official virtual pilot mascot to mark Virgin Balloon Flights’ 21st birthday. Designed by a local Shropshire student, he will be the poster boy for all of our promotion celebrating this momentous milestone, before taking up an ongoing role with our forthcoming school educational programme. Monty grew up in Telford with his brother Flynn and sister Skylar. His mum was a nurse while his dad was an engineer who flew hot air balloons as a hobby. “Some of my earliest memories are of being in the back of our old Renault 19 car with my brother and sister, as mum drove through the country lanes following dad as he flew overhead in his balloon so we could meet him when he landed,” said Monty. Up, Up and Away His dad took him on his first hot air balloon flight as soon as he was old enough to see over the top of the basket and from that moment on he was hooked and was determined to get his own pilot’s licence as soon as he could. However, although you can get your private pilot’s licence at 17, Monty discovered lots of new hobbies during his teenage years and ballooning ended up taking a back seat until a year ago. While travelling abroad with a group of friends, they had the chance to enjoy a hot air balloon ride safari in Kenya. Monty’s love of hot air ballooning was rekindled and as soon as he returned home, he began his training to get his pilot’s licence. He formally got his licence the day before his 21st birthday – much to the delight of his dear old dad Virgil. “Now he can fly me around instead of me flying him around all the time,” joked Virgil. [caption id="attachment_6661" align="alignleft" width="234"]Pilot Monty in his Virgin hot air balloon. Pilot Monty in his Virgin Balloon Flights hot air balloon.[/caption] A Dream Come True Monty was thrilled when he was asked to join Virgin Balloon Flights as their new 21st Birthday pilot mascot. “They’re the biggest commercial hot air ballooning company in the UK and one of the biggest in the world, so I jumped at the chance to join their ranks, even if it was just in a virtual sense!” said Monty. “I’m so excited to have joined such a brilliant team of pilots. It really is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get stuck into my new role at Virgin Balloon Flights.” Monty’s main duties will include starring in a series of 21st birthday online adverts for Virgin Balloon Flights, regular posts about his adventures as our mascot on social media and, once schools are back after the summer holidays and our flying season is over, helping educate primary school children about hot air balloons and how they work. Pilot Profile Name: Monty Age: 21 Occupation: Virtual Pilot and Official Mascot for Virgin Balloon Flights (although Cookie the office Pomeranian might disagree as he was there first!) Hometown: Telford Siblings: Two – older brother Flynn and younger sister Skylar Likes: Nature and the great outdoors, rock music, countryside walks, hanging out with our balloon pilots and c [caption id="attachment_6734" align="alignright" width="300"]Monty loves his 4x4 convertible. Monty loves his 4x4 convertible.[/caption] rew, Virgin Balloon Flights, meeting new people, Bristol Balloon Fiesta, dogs, driving his 4x4 Jeep convertible and eating pizza Dislikes: Rainy or windy days, the sea, traffic jams and cats (because they’re plotting to take over the world as soon as they evolve opposable thumbs) Hobbies: Flying hot air balloons, hiking, gliding, rock climbing, camping, playing the drums and collecting hot air balloon pin badges (he’s got hundreds!) Favourite band: The Foo Fighters Favourite TV show: The A-Team (an 80s classic his older brother introduced him to from an early age!) Favourite films: Up and Top Gun Favourite actor or actress: Tom Cruise Favourite colour: Red (of course!) Favourite food: Fish and chips with mushy peas and a good dollop of ketchup Favourite drink: Champagne or hot chocolate

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