2024 Pilot Application will be available starting on March 4, 2024.

Please visit the PILOT APPLICATION page for more details!


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 2023 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.



If you are interested in bringing a Special Shape for the 2024 Balloon Fiesta, please complete this link , no later than March 10th.   Don't forget, this is not the pilot application, that must be completed separately.   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Garcia


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

For the 2024 event the pilot application will open on March 4, at 9AM Mountain Standard time. 

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

You will not need a password to complete your application. If you are a returning pilot, you will need to look up your information with your pilot certificate number.

All applications received by April 30, will be considered for acceptance.  Once the maximum number is accepted, no more applications will be processed. 

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

You must have obtained your certificate prior to March 1st of the year in which you are applying for.   You can have a change in rating after applying (Private to Commercial) and update your application. 

All pilots will receive email notification of acceptance. Approvals rounds are noted on the application welcome letter.   

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 Miranda Portillo with updated card information.

Additional pilots will be able to apply once the Primary Pilot has been approved.  There will be a link and code provided in the Primary Pilot’s approval email that will link the Primary Pilot to the Additional Pilot that is applying. 

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 Miranda Portillo.  Changes will only be allowed until July 31. 

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 16, 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 (2024) the on-site Registration will be Thursday, October 3 and Friday, October 4 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 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. 


A)  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).

B)  Primary pilots will receive an email with ‘Pilot Rooms’ and ‘Upgrade Premium Pilot Rooms’ links to access and complete their hotel reservation in July of 2024.  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.

C)  All hotel reservations must be made through the AIBF Pilot Coordinator and all RV site reservations must be made through the AIBF RV Manager.

D)  Alternate Housing Program: Balloon Fiesta will provide $1,300 each to 100 eligible pilots who choose to secure their own housing/accommodations for Balloon Fiesta and not use the Balloon Fiesta booking sites to secure their hotel room. The first 100 pilots to indicate they want to receive this Alternate Housing Program money will be determined by the time stamp of their pilot application submission. If there are more than 100 that want to participate in the program a waitlist will be created. AIBF will provide the program money at Pilot Registration. Participants will be required to provide a W-9 form and a signed acknowledgement that AIBF is not responsible for their accommodations.

E)  If you choose to stay at a hotel that has not been approved by AIBF in advance, AIBF will not pay any portion of your room charges. The only exceptions to this are the Alternate Housing Program participants who are paid directly.

F)  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.

G)  If you do not use a hotel, RV site, or the Alternate Housing Program and you inform AIBF, in writing or by email to  pilots@balloonfiesta.com by August 15, 2024, you will receive a refund of your pilot entry fee at Registration.

H)  Any hotel cancellations must be made through the Pilot Coordinator using the contact information provided on the 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.

I)  AIBF attempts to secure a number of Chase Crew hotel rooms each year. With that in mind, we are trying to have enough lodging for everyone. Please note that AIBF will limit the number of discounted Chase Crew rooms to two (2) per Primary Pilot. Any additional rooms will need to be secured with the Additional Room link in your hotel reservation email in July. 

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 the hotel directly or email Pilots@balloonfiesta.com