Ballooning has been somewhat of a family tradition for Hugo, Co – Founder & Chief Pilot. Hugo is a 3rd Generation Balloonist and the fifth balloonist in his family.
Hugo’s rich heritage has fuelled a passion for ballooning. Having learnt the basics of balloon flight from his Father, Hugo went on to gain experience in the Yarra Valley, Australia.
Hugo realised that there was strong interest in ballooning in the South West and after looking at what was on offer he believed that there was room for a more personal and tailored experience. Further to this, we wanted to offer an experience that encompassed what is it is to be a balloonist and make it more than just a flight.
The heritage of three generations
Lady Gwen Bellew
‘The Lady and the Grouse’
Hugo’s late grandmother Lady Gwen Bellew was a ballooning pioneer and an important figure in introducing Hot Air Ballooning to the United Kingdom. In 1967 Gwen formed the London Balloon Club
Following this she purchased a Piccard, (G-AWCR) from America. This was one of the first modern day hot air balloons in the UK.
The balloon was called London Pride and it took its maiden flight on the 3rd June 1968.
‘It was still very primitive in my day’
Hugo’s father Giles is a highly experienced pilot having been flying for over 50 years.
He has flown all over the world, made many films for television and helped to pioneer the industry with the invention of the Parachute Rip system. You will now find this system on almost all hot air balloons flying around the world today.
In 1973 in his living room Giles designed and built his own balloon (G-AYTN) with his parachute design.
Giles, keen to keep the art of balloon flight thriving has taught hundreds of people to fly and continues to do so.
‘You meet the most interesting people ballooning’
Hugo has been around balloons ever since he can remember.
One of Hugo’s most memorable flights was flying down a valley in the mountainous rainforests of North Eastern India. Following a river only few hundred feet above, able to feel the spray of a waterfall he flew over – It was nothing short of spectacular.
Flying in exotic locations such as the mountains of North Eastern India, The Australian Outback or the rice fields of Chiang Mai, is a passion for Hugo and builds his experience flying in all conditions and geographies.
Hugo has a love and passion for being in the air however, no more so then when he is sharing the skies with guests enjoying their first lighter than air experience.