2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic flying season with the addition of not one but two new pilots signed up to fly our big red balloons! First up is William Wood, or Woody as he's called by many. He'll be covering our Scottish launch sites of Coupar Angus, Perth, Crieff and Biggar (Sheildhill Castle).

Will was born into a family of hot air balloon enthusiasts with both his parents being involved in the world of ballooning. His late father Chris even flew with us for many years so it seems only natural that he would follow in his footsteps. Not a stranger to competitions, Will has taken part in and won many including The Great British Long Jump Competition where he was a runner up in 2015 and 2017 before winning in 2018. His winning flight was a mammoth 8 hours long, covering 233 miles starting on the Dorset coast and finishing in Cromer in Norfolk. “I have a bug for endurance and journeying, both in ballooning and elsewhere!” Wills passion for ballooning has taken him to many far flung places across Europe and even the Caribbean. His love of adventure even carries on outside of the world of hot air balloons. In 2015 he sailed a 34ft yacht with his uncle and a friend across the Atlantic and has also traveled 5,000 miles through South East Asia by motorbike. Will can often be found enjoying the great outdoors riding either his mountain bike or motorbike in the beautiful Scottish landscape. We think he'll fit in perfectly here at Virgin Balloon Flights! Up next is Tom Hook who'll be flying from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, West and South Yorkshire and Manchester.

Similar to Will, Tom's family have been involved in the world of ballooning ever since he was little. Having grown up around balloons, Tom decided to train for his balloon licence at just 19 years old. Following him earning his licence, Tom qualified for and competed in the Junior World Championships in 2016. Since then, he has piloted 27 different balloons and flown in 12 different countries. He is currently representing Great Britain at the European Championships later in 2019 flying his racing balloon. For Tom, ballooning has now become a way of life: "The most enjoyable part for me is watching the world go by as you drift across the sky, everything is so calm. Sharing the experience with other people is one of the most rewarding experiences of all.” Aside from ballooning, Tom's other passions revolve around the great outdoors and playing sports such as basketball, running and even rowing. We are very happy to welcome Tom and Will into the Virgin Balloon Flights family and wish them both a fantastic 2019 flying season!