Attention all Balloonists...

While flying in Albuquerque or Rio Rancho anytime of the year, please be aware of the prohibited and sensitive zones, different classifications of airspace, aircraft frequencies needed for tower communication and the entry points to our local Pueblos and reservations.

This information can be found on the PZ maps that are provided on the PZ map page of this web site and the 2021 Balloon Operations Manual. Isleta Pueblo is located south of Albuquerque and not listed on the AIBF PZ map.   

It is recommended that you contact a local pilot if you have additional questions regarding balloon flights in the area.

Pilot Application Updates for 2021

The "Pilot Application Update link" will be sent directly to the approved primary pilot from the 2020 application process starting on March 1 and closed on March 31.  Additional pilots are in the application process, if you would like to be an additional pilot for the 2021 Balloon Fiesta, please complete this link: ADDITIONAL PILOT.



Your Questions about the Pilot Application Process, Registration, Hotels and More!

The Pilot Application opens the 1st Monday in March.  For the 2021 Balloon Fiesta applications were rolled over from the 2020 Applications.   

It will close on April 30th*  at 11:59pm MDT  (*During a traditional year for applications, 2020/2021 excluded)

Yes, if you have applied in the last two years (2019/2020) your password and email will be the same.   For all 2021 Approved Pilots, they will just need to complete the updates to their application prior to March 31, no login and password needed. 

Applications received after April 30*, but before May 31*, if accepted, will require a non-refundable $100.00 late fee.  No applications will be accepted after May 31st*.  All applications received by April 30*, will be considered for acceptance.  Once the maximum number is accepted, no more applications will be processed. *Excludes 2020/2021

You will need the following saved to the device as any of the following file formats, jpeg, jpg, pdf,  you are applying from:

  • Pilot Certificate
  • Latest Flight Review
  • Latest Medical Certificate (if applicable)
  • Passport Number (if applicable)
  • Balloon Registration
  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Latest Annual Inspection
  • Operating Limitations (if applicable)
  • Insurance Information

All pilots will receive email notification of acceptance. Approvals will generally be done every other Wednesday, at the discretion of the AIBF Events Committee with final approvals no later than May 6*. *Excludes 2020/2021  

AIBF does not maintain a waiting list.  We expect the number of pilots at Balloon Fiesta to be approximately 550. 

You will receive a refund of your application fee within one week after receiving notification that your application has not been accepted.  This amount will be refunded to the card used originally to pay your application fee.  If for any reason this account has been changed or closed, it is your responsibility to contact Jennifer Garcia with updated card information.

Your additional pilot will be required to complete the registration process.   They will need to complete the following sections:

  • Pre-Registration
  • Pilot Information
  • Entry Agreement
  • Submit

One pilot will need to register, as the "Primary Pilot" and the others will need to be added as additional pilots following the steps listed under "How do I add an additional pilot."

No,  each primary pilot when approved is assigned a banner number.  You only receive ONE (1) basket banner, which must be attached to the basket of any balloon flying from Balloon Fiesta Park during the event.  If you wish to have more than one balloon, flying at the same time, a different pilot must be registered and approved as the primary pilot of one of your balloons.   Your Insurance policy must cover two balloons in flight at the same time; this will be verified with the listed agency. 

We are limiting the number of competitive balloons to 300.  Once we reach that number, you may only register as a non-competitor!  Changes to competition status can be made by contacting Jennifer Garcia.  Changes will only be allowed until August 1. 

Yes, the FAA requires that we confirm these documents every year to make sure that they have not been lost, stolen, damaged or expired.  Per the new FSIMS, we are required to submit your documentation at least 30 days prior to the start of the event. 

August 15, if not received by the deadline you will need to present all original documents to the FAA on-site before you can complete your on-site registration. 

This year the on-site Registration will be Thursday, September 30 and Friday, October 1 from 10am until 7pm.*      *Hours are subject to change on Friday, to allow the transition of the Sid Cutter to occur.*

Late registration will be available twice; once on Saturday, October 2 or by appointment.  Registration will also be open Wednesday, October 6 for pilots participating in Special Shape Rodeo.  

The registration process begins with each pilot viewing the safety video online or at the Official's Compound located just south of the Sid Cutter Pilots' Pavilion.  Video showings on Saturday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 6, will begin promptly at 4:45am and 10:30am.  You will not be able to participate in ANY Balloon Fiesta Events until you have completed registration. 

Primary pilots residing more than 50 miles from Albuquerque are eligible for hotel accommodations or an RV site with electricity for up to 9 nights (in Friday before the start and out on the last Sunday).
    1. Once your event registration is approved by AIBF, primary pilots will receive an approval email with ‘Pilot Rooms’ and ‘Upgrade Premium Pilot Rooms’ links to access and complete their hotel reservation. If you choose any room on the ‘Upgrade Premium Pilot Rooms’ list, you are responsible for the additional nightly upgrade charges listed. You are responsible for all incidental charges incurred during your stay upon checkout.
    2. All hotel reservations must be made through HBC Event Services and all RV site reservations must be made through the AIBF RV Coordinator.
    3. Alternate Housing Program: Balloon Fiesta will provide $1,100 each to the first 60 eligible pilots who choose to secure their own housing/accommodations for Balloon Fiesta and not use HBC to secure their hotel room. The first 60 pilots to indicate they want to receive this Alternate Housing Program money will be based on the time stamp of their pilot application submission. If there are, more than 60 that want to participate in the program a waitlist will be created. Balloon Fiesta will provide the program money at Pilot Registration. Participants will be required to provide a W-9 form and a signed acknowledgement that Balloon Fiesta is not responsible for their accommodations.
    4. If you choose to stay at a hotel that has not been approved by Balloon Fiesta in advance, Balloon Fiesta will not pay any portion of your room charges. Exception only applies to the Alternate Housing Program participants who are paid directly.
    5. Please note that in order to occupy a hotel room you will be required to provide a "Major Credit Card" when you make your reservation and check-in at the property for any incidentals and/or additional room nights.
    6. If you do not use a hotel or an RV site and you inform Balloon Fiesta, in writing or by email to Jennifer Garcia by August 14, you will receive a refund of your pilot entry fee at Registration.
    7. Any hotel cancellations must be made to Balloon Fiesta Travel (HBC) using contact information provided on reservation confirmation form. You will be required to pay a $35.00 cancellation fee. If you cancel your Balloon Fiesta Participation after September 1, you may be responsible for all room night charges and the $35.00 cancellation fee.
    8. Balloon Fiesta attempts to secure a set number of Chase Crew hotel rooms each year, with that in mind we are trying to have enough lodging for everyone. Please note that Balloon Fiesta will limit the discounted Chase Crew rooms per Primary Pilot to two (2). Any additional rooms will need to be secured with the Additional Room link in your approval email.


    Eligible pilots participating in only the Special Shape Rodeo will receive hotel accommodations for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, unless prior arrangements are made with the AIBF.

    Pilots flying in the America's Challenge will receive hotel accommodations per Gas Event rules.

To cancel you must contact HBC Event Services at balloonfiestahotels@hbceventservices.com or 505-346-0522.