Credibility

Spirit Balloons not just have the right people, We have The BEST people to bring you the unforgettable experience!

Lee Hooper
Chief Pilot

Lee has been involved in hot air ballooning from an early age, and is credited as being the youngest person ever to have earned a commercial pilot’s licence. With over 2,000 flying hours in balloons, Lee has become one of the leaders in his field.

Lee’s profession and hobby has seen him flying commercially around the world in such places as Canada, USA, Europe, and Myanmar (Burma). Lee has also been the President of the Bristol University Hot Air Balloon Society (BUHABS), and Flight Director for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. As well as being chief pilot for Spirit Balloons, he was also previously the chief pilot of Balloons over Bagan one of the largest and most successful overseas balloon operations.

Lee is also credited with being the first person to drop a hang-glider over the city of Bath in July 2000; he taught a BBC news reporter to fly over a period of just 8 weeks in 1999, all whilst being filmed by the local news. He was also the first person to fly an aircraft inside a shopping mall, a feat that was done by flying a tiny one-man hopper balloon in the main lobby of a large UK shopping mall.

Lee holds both UK and USA Commercial licenses, and is a qualified instructor for both the FAA system and the UK License system. He is also an inspector for hot air balloons and holds a rating for Hot Airships.

Lee on balloon flying “After all these flights I still get a buzz, no two flights are the same, that’s the amazing thing about ballooning, you can never get bored”

Jonathan Gates
Operations Director

Jon has been involved in hot air ballooning Since 2002 and has flown in various parts of the world. Originally from Canada, Jon is now based in SE Asia.

Jon has both a UK and US Commercial license for balloons and is a US flight instructor.

Jon is a keen competition pilot and this year will be representing Singapore at the World hot air balloon championships.