The 2013 flying season sees seven new pilots welcomed into the Virgin Balloon Flights team. With over 100 launch sites across England, Scotland and Wales, we have a large network of wonderful pilots taking passengers to the skies all around the country. Each and every pilot is hand-picked for their expertise and experience and we’re extremely proud to have some of the world’s very best hot air balloonists working with us. Meet the new high-flyers….

Celia MorleyCelia Morley Flying over southern Scotland Most memorable flight: There have been so many memorable flights: I’ve done two channel hops, the first in 2005, and the second in 2011 had a Spitfire doing circuits around the balloon. I flew a lady on her 98th birthday, flew in the Italian Alps and did a splash and dash in the Rio Grande.”

Steve RichardsSteve Richards Flying over Surrey Most memorable flight: “After nearly 30 years of flying, there are so many memories of fantastic flights. Flying over the Alps, landing at the very peak of one highest mountains in the area and getting out one by one to leave footprints in the snow and the fun of landing between the gigantic vineyards in South America are the best.”

Tim ParkerTim Parker Flying over Essex Most memorable flight: “Being a balloon pilot is the best job in the world. There is nothing better than a perfect flight with great landscapes, good weather, happy passengers and people waving up at the balloon, my most memorable flight was seeing a non-domestic big cat on an early morning flight over Somerset!”

Lawrie EllisLawrie Ellis Flying over north Scotland Most memorable flight: One of my most memorable flights was a channel hop to the Isle of Wight from Southampton. Quite a different way to get to the Island from my days before ballooning when I frequently sailed to the Island and circumnavigated it in a number of Round the Island Races.”

Piers GlydonPiers Glydon Flying over Derbyshire Most memorable flight: “Flying in the Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan, taking off in remote villages 10,000 feet above sea level and soaring on the wind over the mountains has got to be my favourite flight, but i love the British countryside and the views of the Peak District are stunning from the air. The area around Bakewell is a beautiful one in which to fly.”

Gavin ChadwickGavin Chadwick Flying over West Midlands Most memorable flight: “I enjoyed many balloon flights during my younger years and by the age of 10 I’d decided I wanted to be a balloon pilot. At school, the careers officers weren't sure how to react when I informed them of the unusual career that I’d picked. I have also partaken in several competition events in the UK, Italy, and France – where I was selected as the UK entrant for the European Cup for Young Balloon Pilots.” Martin CowlingMartin Cowling Flying over Mid Scotland Most memorable flight:One of my favourite flights was flying over the Valley of the Kings. We took off from Luxor and as we rose up in the air, the ground below us was green for a couple of kilometres then just faded into desert. You get a complete different perspective when you’re up in a balloon. To float above the river Nile and the Valley of the Kings really is something else.” To fly with one of our new hot balloon pilots from just £117 per person simply visit virginballoonflights.co.uk or give us a call on 0844 844 8070