Inside the Basket - Dave Reineke, Balloon Fiesta Pilot
Dave Reineke is a Balloon Fiesta pilot who has participated in the event the past 28 years.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, he dives into what its like to pilot balloons with his wife Kathy Reineke, how he became involved in the event, and tips for those thinking about becoming a pilot.
1. Give a brief overview of your ballooning background.
I got my license in 1981 after having my first ride in 1978. My wife Kathy followed me with her license in 1983. We are unique in the fact that there are not many husband and wife pilot teams, especially this long. We have owned multiple balloons over the years including special shapes for the last 20 years. Working with shapes has brought us travel and friends coast to coast in the states and many international countries.
2. How and when did you become involved in Balloon Fiesta?
My first Balloon Fiesta was 1982, but work would not allow me to return until 1993. We have not missed one Balloon Fiesta over the past 28 years.
3. What is your favorite part about being ale to participate in Balloon Fiesta?
Balloon Fiesta is like a mecca for balloonists, you are drawn to New Mexico in the fall. It is good flying weather, and you can see friends from all over the world and make new ones over breakfast burritos!
4. Your wife, Kathy Reineke, also participates in Balloon Fiesta as a pilot. What favorite Balloon Fiesta memory do the two of you share?
We always love to bring the current special shape out of the bag on Thursday morning and watch the crowd go wild. Our hearts are really into bringing joy to kids of all ages!
We have had Mr. Potato Head and Bud E. Beaver in years’ past and currently operate Peg Leg Pete the Pirate Parrot.
5. What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a pilot?
Follow your dream! Find a (FAA) Part 141 school or a commercial LTA (lighter than air) pilot willing to work with you and get started. We tell people your first ride is whatever you paid for it, your second ride you buy your own balloon.
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