Pilot, not a 9 – 5 job

Ballooning over the Hunter valley is not a 9- 5 job

Wine Country Ballooning only has the one pilot. Owner and pilot Daren Pallett does not have the regular 9 – 5 job.  Flying the Hunter Valley since the late 1990s ballooning is both a passion and a profession. “there is no escaping our responsibilities as a professional aviator, passenger safety, landowner relations and running a profitable business  our essential, but also of great importance is providing a fun and memorabile experience for our passengers and making sure they get great value for money”

“No two days are the same when running your own balloon company” Daren goes on to add. “the best days are when you get out of bed at some crazy hour to meet your passengers. Up to 10 excited people all looking forward to doing what we think is normal. Flying the hunter valley is beautiful, living right where we fly is a real bonus, even on the bad days when we don’t fly I get to work from home with 5 world class wineries in walking distance and a big balloon hanger full of great man toys just in case I need to escape the wife and kids for an hour or two”

Learning to fly a Hot air balloon

It’s not as hard as you might think. Although you need a commercial pilots licence to fly paying passengers, to fly a small balloon with a few mates onboard is fairly simple.

Before you even start to train you need to join the Australian Balloon Federation (ABF) They can issue you with a  Student Pilot Certificate. To become a balloon pilot you must undergo a total of 16 hours of training with an ABF Instructor and pass the five exams on the following subjects:-

  • Navigation
  • Radio Procedures
  • Rules and Procedures
  • Code of Conduct
  • Aerostatics
  • Meteorology


If you want to know a bit more have a look on the ABF website