Inside the Basket - Gavin Moughan, Balloon Fiesta Pilot
Gavin Moughan is a Balloon Fiesta pilot that will be in attendance at the 50th event and has been participating for the past 38 years.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, he shares his favorite memory at Balloon Fiesta, how he became involved and his favorite event tips.
1. Give a brief overview of your ballooning background.
My parents were on Sam Baxter’s chase crew when I was in the womb. Essentially this will be my 39th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
2. How and when did you become involved in Balloon Fiesta?
I accomplished my Private Pilot License in 2016 and achieved Commercial Pilot in 2021. I was on Sam Baxter’s and Jeff Stocker’s chase crews every year before that.
3. What is your favorite balloon fiesta memory?
It is very tough to narrow down my favorite Balloon Fiesta memory. First and foremost I am forever grateful to have been raised by the “pop-top Adams Family” of balloonists founded by Sam Baxter and Jeff Stocker. Today I am only 1 of 2 or 3 “pop-tops” that fly in Balloon Fiesta. The other top contenders would have to be when I was a kid and our Adams Family chase crew would have water battles with the Viking Balloon team during the tailgating after flights on the dirt fields. Another top contender would be a few years ago when I launched from Balloon Fiesta field and landed back on my launch site an hour later. Getting a splash and dash at Balloon Fiesta is also something very special.
4. When you’re not flying balloons, you are involved in another exciting industry. What is it that you do and how has ballooning played into your successes?
When I am not flying balloons I work in the Film & TV industry as the Lead Logistical person in charge of Art Department needs. It takes a lot of collaboration and team work in order to plan, build, paint, and dress all of our movie sets. Most recently my team worked on Stranger Things 4 and it was definitely one of my career highlights.
5. What tips do you have for first-time Balloon Fiesta guests?
For first-time Balloon Fiesta goers I would recommend getting to the field as early as you can to avoid traffic. Bring blankets and snacks to survive the cold early hours. ALWAYS bring a chair.
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