Inside the Basket - Cameron Wall, Balloon Pilot
Cameron Wall is the pilot of "Grandma's Legacy, a custom balloon with his Grandmother's underwater watercolor painting printed on the entirety of the balloon.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, Cameron shares more about his ballooning story and gives advice to those who are thinking of becoming a pilot.
1. Give a brief overview of your ballooning background.
Growing up in Albuquerque, many families have a tradition of going to Balloon Fiesta each year. This rang true for my family as I was toted around the field on my dad’s back starting at 3 months old. My obsession grew each year and I really lucked out when in preschool my classmate was MaryPat Abruzzo. I was thrilled to find out her dad was a pilot. Not just a pilot… my parents who have always been supportive, explained the pilot was The Richard Abruzzo, a world champion balloonist. Richard completely indulged my barrage of questions and requests for story telling of his historic flights. He’s a mentor I miss and am grateful to have had. At 17 I obtained my private pilot certificate. In the summer of 2020 I started flying commercially and I haven’t looked back!
2. What inspired you to become a pilot?
Seeing all the pilots and crew having so much fun on Fiesta field each year, it was impossible not to want to be a part of the show.
3. What is your favorite ballooning memory?
Having the opportunity to fly around the world I have so many favorite memories. From Kenya’s Serengeti to Lithuania’s new and old world side by side. However, my favorite balloon memory took place here in the U.S while crewing and coaching Amanda Brodbeck, when she won the Women’s National Hot Air Balloon Championship last summer in Jackson, Michigan.
4. What balloon do you pilot and what is the story behind it?
As a commercial pilot, year-round I fly many different balloons. However, at Balloon Fiesta I fly my pride and joy, “Grandma’s Legacy,” a custom balloon with my Grandmother’s beautiful underwater watercolor paintings printed on the entirety of the balloon. I grew up loving art, much to the credit of my grandmother. Whenever I was around her she was painting. So naturally, I wanted to paint just like her. Although she is no longer with us, her contagious positivity for living life to its fullest lives on through the balloon she created and I get to fly!
5. What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a pilot?
If you’re young, you’re never too young to start getting involved, and no matter how old you are, you’re never too old to be involved! Find pilots or crew and start to crew and chase for them. I attended several BFA balloon camps and highly encourage teenagers to take that step. There are so many options for becoming a pilot, but most of them start with the first step of getting involved.
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