Ed Chapman, Balloon Ascensions Unlimited
Balloon Ascensions Unlimited has the finest balloons and pilots available to carry you wherever the wind decides. The quiet serenity of lighter-than-air flight is a truly majestic experience – a form of poetry. You can float tranquilly over the countryside at treetop level picking leaves and chatting with Earthbound pedestrians, or you can soar aloft with the clouds at thousands of feet above the ground. Join us for an adventure you will never forget! Passenger voyages make ideal gifts – for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other special occasions.
Let’s get to know more about Ed Chapman
So, what’s your story? Where were you born? How long have you been here in the Driftless, What keeps you here?
Born in Detroit, Michigan December 16, 1946. Third oldest of 10 children, graduated from Michigan State University in 1968. Flew F-4s in the Marine Corps; worked as a Flight Instructor and Charter Pilot, hired by Braniff International in 1977, flew in the airline industry for 30 years. Have flown hot air balloons since 1976; also qualified to fly gas balloons. Currently Safety Officer and Chief Flight Instructor for the Red Baron Flyers, a 52 year old flying club based at Houston County Airport in Caledonia, MN.
What is your best childhood memory?
Traveling to Northern Michigan and seeing the Mackinac Bridge.
If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
Nothing different…no regrets!
What are you most proud of?
Induction into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame two years ago.
What is your favorite music, or think a person should listen to at least once?
Bob Dylan, Beatles, MoTown
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
Haven’t been to Scotland or Ireland….yet.
If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be?
Wallet, cell phone, warm clothes!
What teacher in school made the most impact on you and why?
Dominican nuns at St. Clement in Center Line, Michigan
What was one of your most defining moments in life?
Flying F-4s in Vietnam
How do you spend your free-time?
What are your favorite reads, and why?
Military history books, flying magazines
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Oh, no, you don’t!
If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?
Being with the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
Working with stained glass…can only admire what true artists do.
What does a perfect day look like to you?
Wake up refreshed, good breakfast, flight with a student in an airplane, lunch with friends, prepare for a balloon flight, float over the Driftless Area, pizza afterwards, ice cream for dessert, a good night’s rest.
What are some of your favorite places for fun or to eat here in the Driftless?
Neighbors’ driveways for informal get-together.
What is the most courageous thing you have done in your life?
Getting married in 1967!
If you were to tell a friend to come and visit the Driftless Area, and they ask “Why” … what would you tell them?
The Driftless Area is one of the most amazing geographical areas in the world and a population to match it!
Let’s get to know more about Balloon Ascensions Unlimited
Tell us about what you do for work or your business, and how long have you been doing this?
I have operated my company, Balloon Ascensions Unlimited, since 1976, offering rides, training and advertising, also organizing hot air balloon Rallies.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career with your business.
Safely carrying passengers in multiple different aircraft for over 52 years. Setting 20 World Records in hot air balloons.
Tell us about one person that you’ve met, that stands apart from the rest or has influenced you, while here in the Driftless.
Ten years ago I met a lady in Caledonia who eventually became the Chair of the Caledonia Balloon Rally, Chris Swain. She’s 86 years young and has more energy and creativity than most people 1/3 her age, and a zest for life that could be a model for all of us.
What do you wish other people knew about you or your business?
I’m passionate about all forms of aviation and invite Driftless citizens to view this Amazing area from the sky!
If you weren’t here running your business, what would you be doing instead?
Traveling the world.
How do you develop yourself outside of your work environment?
Reading…so many books, so little time!
Ed Chapman, Balloon Ascensions Unlimited