Alan Wolfson (Balloon Crew & Pilot)
By education a Chemical Engineer (BS & MS Ch.E., MBA Finance). He worked for Procter & Gamble for 20 years in a variety of process and product development positions, including a 4 year assignment in Italy. His second career, having nothing to do with his first, was writing portfolio management and contact management software for stock brokers and their firms for about 13 years. His third career can best be described as an airport bum. He has been a pilot for 17 years, something he wanted to do since he was a teenager, and owns a 1962 Cessna 182. In 2015 he added a hot air balloon rating to his pilot's certificate. In addition to flying, and teaching ground school on occasion, he is Secretary/Treasurer of the Warren County Airport Authority, Airport Manager of the Warren County Airport, and is President of USU Wright Flyer of Ohio, the non-profit organization that now owns the USU Wright Flyer.
Ken Ross (Certified Flight Instructor, Instrument, Balloon Crew & Pilot)
Ken started working with Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Co. four years ago as a Crew Member and, was hooked! Crewing with Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Co. all over the Country, from the Quick Check Festival of Ballooning in Readington, New Jersey, to The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, in Saint-Louis Missouri. Proud to be selected (well, passionately requested by organizers too!) as part of the official hot air balloon ride operations at The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico.
Long before involvement with hot air balloon rides, Ken’s flying career began with Fixed- wing (Airplane, or ASEL) pilot with a Commercial Rating as well as a FAA-Certified Flight Instructor, including Flight Instruction with Instrument privileges (CFII). Recently, Ken started working on his Hot Air Balloon add-on rating, which he will finish very soon. Look out this season for Ken to be piloting Balloons as well as Airplanes!
Ken represents an extremely rare segment of the aviation world. Yes, there are tens of thousands of airplane pilots. There are thousands of hot air balloon pilots. There are hundreds of Certified Flight Instructors. Very, very few pilots fly Hot Air Balloons AND Airplanes! Congratulate our professional aviator when you see him, he’s earned it.
Mark Wiesmann, FAA Commercial Pilot, Lighter Than Air.
Mark's involvement in professional hot air ballooning started when Mark rode his first balloon ride as a gift from his lovely wife, Vickie. The joke amongst balloonist states that your first ride is the cheapest, and certainly found that to be true as Mark fell in love with Cincinnati hot air ballooning. Soon after, Mark purchased his first balloon, started to pursuing his hot air ballooning rated Private as well as Commercial certificates. Certified by the FAA, Mark also serves as an Instructor for Hot Air Balloons in and around the Dayton Ohio area.
His passion shines as he really enjoys flying and volunteering for Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Company and watching the excitement on the faces of the people encountered. Mark feels very fortunate to be able to share the sport of ballooning and the thrill of flight from an Ohio Hot Air Balloon. Come fly with us and make memories that will last for a lifetime!
Patrick Hollenbeck started with Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Company years ago when seeking his Lighter-Than-Air Balloon Class add-on rating to his existing Pilots license. He earned his Private then Commercial balloon piloting privileges governed by the FAA, including Ohio Balloon Flight Instructor authorizations.