Kerry Coate-Bond | Virgin Balloon Flights
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Virgin Balloon Flights

Kerry Coate-Bond

KERRY'S LOVE OF HOT AIR BALLOONING BEGAN BACK IN 1999, WHEN HE JOINED A LOCAL COMPANY AS A MEMBER OF HOT AIR BALLOON GROUND CREW.

"I WAS ON MY WAY TO A BALLOON FESTIVAL IN GERMANY WHERE I WOULD BE FLYING THE FOX BALLOON WHEN I RECEIVED THE CALL FROM VIRGIN BALLOON FLIGHTS. THAT WAS ON THE THURSDAY AND THE FOLLOWING TUESDAY I WAS COLLECTING MY UNIFORM," HE SAYS.

Soon after he had the chance to fly a small balloon with some fellow crew members and found himself hooked on ballooning.

He gained his private pilot's licence in 2001 and his commercial licence in 2003 and has been flying hot air balloons for a living ever since.

Kerry has flown hot air balloons in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and as far afield as Thailand, as well as all over the UK, and says one of his favourite places to fly is the Austrian Alps in the winter - which is where he can usually by found in January of each year. He also holds the honour of being the first hot air balloon pilot to have launched from London's Hyde Park

"One of my most memorable flights was a Long Jump in 2002 from Winchester to Lincoln," he says. "While over the control tower at RAF Cottesmore, a harrier did a vertical loop around the balloon. It was fantastic, you could actually feel the air crackle!"

Kerry joined Virgin Balloon flights at the start of the 2015 season.

Outside hot air ballooning, Kerry enjoys tinkering with and keeping his fleet of classic cars on the road, sailing and listening to music.

He flies our balloon in the very south of England, including St Albans, Knebworth and Biggleswade.

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