Pilot Applications are closed as of April 30, all approved notices have been sent out.  

Hotel booking information for Pilots has been sent out via email to you on May 15, if you did not receive the links please email Jennifer to have it sent to you directly. 


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

The Pilot Application opens the 1st Monday in March.  For the 2019 Balloon Fiesta this is March 4, 2019 at 8am MT.  

It will close on April 30, 2019 at 11:59pm MDT

No, Balloon Fiesta has a new website with a new host platform, therefore all pilots will be required to set up a new user name and password on the first page of the application, under 'Pre-Registration'. 

Applications received after April 30, 2019 but before May 31, 2019, 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, 2019 will be considered for acceptance.  Once the maximum number is accepted, no more applications will be processed.

You will need the following:

  • 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 8.  

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, 2019. 

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. 

September 1, 2019, 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, October 3 and Friday, October 4 from 10am until 7pm. 

Late registration will be available twice; once on Saturday, October 5 or by appointment.  Registration will also be open Wednesday, October 9 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 5 and Wednesday, October 9, 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. 

  1. 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 October 4 – out October 13).
  2. Once your event registration is approved by AIBF, primary pilots will receive an approval email with ‘Pilot Rooms’ and ‘Premium Pilot Rooms’ preview list, a separate email will be sent out on Wednesday, May 15, to secure and book your hotel room. If you choose any room on the “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.
  3. All hotel reservations must be made through HBC Event Services, if selecting one of the hotels from the preview lists, and all RV site reservations must be made through the AIBF RV Coordinator.
  4. Alternate Housing Program: Balloon Fiesta will provide $1,000 each to the first 25 pilots who choose to secure their own housing/accommodations for Balloon Fiesta and not use HBC to secure their hotel room.  The first 25 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 25 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. If you do not use a hotel and if you inform Balloon Fiesta, in writing or email Jennifer Garcia by August 15, 2019, you will receive a refund of your pilot entry fee at Registration.
  8. Any hotel cancellations must be made with Balloon Fiesta Travel using contact information provided on reservation confirmation form.

** Eligible pilots participating in only the Special Shape Rodeo will receive hotel accommodations for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Oct. 9, 10, & 11), 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.