Getting Young People Involved in Ballooning with the Support of Amazon Studios and Prime Video

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Hot Air Ballooning

Did you see the Aeronauts Movie on Amazon Prime or ever dream of flying a hot air balloon? With Prime Video and Amazon Studios’ support, Seattle Ballooning is providing scholarships for free balloon training to young people in the Seattle area. What’s even more astounding is students will get to fly in Seattle Ballooning’s hot air balloon replica from the movie “The Aeronauts.”

There are currently 4000 balloon pilots globally, and there are less than 15 active hot air balloonists in the State of Washington. Our goal is to create a diverse next generation of hot air balloon pilots in the Northwest.

Typically the cost of getting a hot air balloon license is $7,000-$10,000. Our hot air balloon scholarships allow students from all walks of life to get flight hours, learn flight operations, and learn how to fly hot air balloons.

Due to this unique program, we can only accept a total of 75 students for the 2021 summer program. Our program’s focus is helping young people get into hot air ballooning from diverse backgrounds. 

  • Over 50% of selected applicants will be women
  • Over 25% of all students will be people of color
  • Over 25% of students will be from low-income and underserved Seattle communities

What does the program include: 

  • Hot air balloon ground school
  • Hands-on operation and set up of hot air balloons
  • Training on being part of a hot air balloon crew
  • Up to 6 hours of flight training time in balloons
  • Solo in a hot air balloon once all test and training is completed

Students are responsible for paying for any fees related to FAA paperwork, FAA practical tests, FAA knowledge tests, and additional flight time needed above the minimum hours required. Once students solo, most go on to purchase their own balloon for further training and solo flight time.

What are the requirements to be part of the Seattle Ballooning student training program?

Students must be between the ages of 16-25

Must have a valid drivers license

Transportation to get to Auburn WA (25 minutes S of Downtown Seattle) prior to sunrise

Additional restrictions: Applicants may not have a felony or any drug or alcohol infractions (Including DUI/DWI)

No active drug use (Drug tests will be administered for students of the program)

What is the application process?

Create a 2-3 minute video (Does not need to be edited… use your phone camera)

1. What about hot air ballooning gets you excited

2. A personal achievement that makes you proud

3. Why you deserve this scholarship

What happens once I am selected?

Students will have ten days to register through IACRA and get their student pilot’s license. We will send out directions to get all paperwork around your student license complete. If the student pilot license is not issued within ten days, the scholarship will be given to another recipient.

Online/In-person ground school will begin in mid-April

The flight program will start the 3rd week of May


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About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it's not considered work.

Seattle Washington

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