“I am passionate about sharing this magical experience with others, hoping to inspire future balloonists.”

- McKenna

My name is McKenna, and I am a commercial balloon pilot with Seattle Ballooning. Aviation, particularly ballooning, has been a lifelong passion. Over the past six years with Seattle Ballooning, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the joy of flight with countless individuals. Each flight brings new experiences and celebrations, making every moment aloft a thrilling adventure.

Experience & Credentials

My journey in ballooning began at the age of nine, crewing for various ballooning events. In 2016, I achieved my dream of becoming a hot air balloon pilot. Earning my commercial pilot’s certificate in 2018 was a significant milestone that allowed me to join Seattle Ballooning. More recently, in March 2024, I expanded my aviation credentials by obtaining my commercial plane rating. I am also dedicated to nurturing the next generation of balloon enthusiasts, having taught at hot air balloon camps for teenagers.

Passion for Ballooning

Growing up, I was captivated by the hot air balloons flying near my home. Chasing and watching these balloons land sparked a dream within me to become a balloon pilot. This dream came true when I earned my private pilot’s certificate for balloons on my 16th birthday. Hot air ballooning offers a serene and breathtaking experience, with each flight bringing new adventures due to the winds that guide us. I am passionate about sharing this magical experience with others, hoping to inspire future balloonists.

Favorite Places to Fly

Some of my favorite locations for hot air ballooning include Winthrop, Prosser, and Walla Walla in Washington state. These areas are renowned for their diverse and beautiful landscapes, from rolling vineyards to rugged mountains. The serene environment and breathtaking views make each flight a unique and unforgettable experience. Sharing the natural beauty of Washington state with passengers, especially those experiencing ballooning for the first time, is truly rewarding.

Personal Touch

Beyond ballooning, I love spending time outdoors and exploring new places. I also aspire to fly gliders, seaplanes, and helicopters someday. A personal philosophy I hold dear is to always pursue your passions and share them with others. This belief has guided my ballooning career and continues to inspire me to introduce others to the unique joy of flying.

Future Aspirations

I am incredibly excited about the future of ballooning and aviation. Recently earning my commercial fixed-wing rating has opened new opportunities, and I am eager to continue exploring them, with a goal of becoming an airline pilot. I also look forward to participating in more hot air balloon festivals across the country, including the renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. These events allow me to connect with fellow balloonists and create lasting memories.