Our 2021 Pilot Lineup!

We are happy to introduce the pilots registered for the 2021 Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival. Not only do we have our local pilots, we have representation from BC through Quebec. We anticipate our international friends from the United States and United Kingdom will be able to participate this year.

Enjoy becoming familiar with the pilots and their balloons so you'll know who is in the sky when we fly. As of August 2021, we have 24 entrants. That number may increase or decrease over the coming weeks as details are finalized. 

Dream logo
  • Competitor: #13

  • Pilot: Johann-François Quellette Frève

  • From: Longueul QC

  • Attended: 2020, 2021

HIIBF 2020 - Johann-Francois Freve

Freedom Like No Other

Johann-Francois Ouellette-Frève has flown since before he was born. His mother is one of the first female pilots in Quebec and taught his father. Part of a ballooning family, Johann-Francois was familiar as a passenger and crewing at festivals. At 16 he became a student pilot. Johann-Francois's first festival after receiving his pilot's license in 2007 was at the Albuquerque Fiesta.  He has flown more than 30 festivals across America and Europe and wants to fly the world in a balloon. Johann-Francois says the freedom he feels when flying is like none other.

  • Balloon: Red-Y!

  • Call Letters: C-GGKI

  • Type: Sundance B SBA90

  • Size (volume): 90000

  • Category: Sport



Red-Y! will look stunning against blue skies flying over High River.

Read more about Johann-François Quellette Frève flying journeys in his young career.

Hitchin Post Drive In
  • Competitor: #14

  • Pilot: Pier Alexandere Marcoux

  • From: Levis QC

  • Attended: 2021


Pilot From the Start

Pier Alexandere Marcoux began crewing at festivals alongside his dad when he was 3 years of age. He remembers telling his parents “One day I will be a hot air balloon pilot". His first ride at the age of 12 was "awesome!" Pier Alexandere started training to be a pilot and became licensed in 2016. Since that time, he has flown in
Albuquerque, the St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec area, High River, Drumheller,
Glens Falls, and Sussex. He looks forward to many more destinations to come.

  • Balloon: Au-delà du rêve / Beyond The Dream

  • Call Letters: C-GIVG

  • Type: Ultramagic H-77

  • Size (volume): 77000

  • Category: Sport


Dream Bold

Beyond the Dream was purchased by Pier Alexandere in 2017. When you see Beyond the Dream in the sky, be reminded of always going beyond your dreams to live your best life.

Learn more about Pier Alexandere Marcoux's life of ballooning

TKWPC logo
  • Competitor: #15

  • Pilot: Tommy Quevillon

  • From: Vankleek Hill ON

  • Attended: 2021


Open Roads and Skies

Tommy Quevillon is the transportation guy - a trucker by day and pilot by night. His love of flying hot air balloons reaches back to June 2014 when he began crewing for Bill Whelan. Tommy started studying for his pilot's license in 2018 and celebrated becoming a licensed pilot in early July. Fun fact - Vankleek Hill was named the Gingerbread Capital of Ontario in 2003. Not for the cookie, but the decorative elements on over 250 Victorian era homes in town.

  • Balloon: Gavy the Alien

  • Call Letters: C-GAVY

  • Type: Whelan AX7

  • Size (volume):  77000

  • Category: Experimental


Alien Invasion 2.0

Gavy first flew the skies over High River in 2020 and returns with a new pilot at the helm, err burner.

Learn more about Tommy Quevillon's adventures travelling roads and skies.

  • Competitor: #16

  • Pilot: Scott "Scooter" Beaton

  • From: High River AB

  • Attended: 2019, 2020, 2021


Captain Crunch

Scooter's first flight happened during Little Britches Day in May 1980. The action packed flight (no details given) hooked him on the sport. By October 1980, Scott was a licensed pilot. He was a founding member of the Foothills Balloon Events Association, and with the Calgary Balloon Club, pulled off bringing the 1982 Canadian National Hot Air Balloon Championships to High River - with less than 4 months to go before the event. As part of that event, Scott planted the seeds for the Heritage Inn relationship that continues today.

  • Balloon: GONZO

  • Call Letters: C-GZOY

  • Type: Balloon Works F6B

  • Size (volume): 65000

  • Category: Sport


Light Up the Sky

GONZO will be the bright yellow spot in the sky.

Learn about when Scott Beaton became the original Captain Crunch.

  • Competitor: #17

  • Pilot: Pierre Cyr

  • From: Fort-Coulonge QC

  • Attended: 2021


Aviation Meets Navigation

Pierre Cyr had his first balloon ride at a "Festivant" in 2001 where he was the Aviation Weather Briefer. Years later he tried ballooning with Bill Whelan and it was love by 50' in the air. Ballooning was the perfect passion to combine aviation knowledge and navigation skills from the Navy. Pierre began pilot training in 2013 and received his pilot's license in 2015. Wanting to develop his skills and experience, Pierre received his Instructor Rating and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer certification in 2020. He has flown 16 balloons over 140 hours in the air.

  • Balloon: Whizz Dom

  • Call Letters: C-GPXU

  • Type: Aerostar S60A

  • Size (volume): 105000

  • Category: Sport 


Westard Travels

Whizz Dom and Pierre Cyr both are making their first appearance at an event in western Canada.

Read more about Pierre Cyr's aviation career and how it intersected with ballooning.

  • Competitor: #18

  • Pilot: Garry Lockyer

  • From: Oliver BC

  • Attended: 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021


The Official Pilot

Garry Lockyer has logged 1700 hours in the air since becoming a hot air balloon pilot in 1978. A competitive flyer, he has flown in several Canadian Hot Air Balloon Championships, crowned Canadian Champion in 1986, as well as North American and World Hot Air Balloon Championships. Garry also contributes to the sport as a competition official, officiating and being the Event Director at numerous events nationally and internationally across the years. For many years he represented Canada on the world governing body FAI.

  • Balloon: Cotton Candy

  • Call Letters: C-GSOK

  • Type: Ultramagic Z-90

  • Size (volume): 90000

  • Category: Sport


Eye Candy

Cotton Candy's bright colours and distinctive chevron pattern will be easy to spot in the sky.

Read more about Garry Lockyer's competitive flying and officiating.

Inclusion Foothills logo
  • Competitor: #19

  • Pilot: Alain Bard

  • From: Ottawa ON

  • Attended: 2021


Lifelong Flyer

Alain Bard's has been a flying enthusiast all his life. Building model aircraft and kites as a young boy turned into building hot air balloons and baskets from scratch. His 4 special shapes designs are a rocket ship, Christmas deer, polar bear, and tiger. Alain is licensed to pilot paragliders, power paragliders, and since 2009, hot air balloons. In addition to flying many festivals across Canada and the US, Alain has flown in Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Taiwan, Philippines and New Zealand. 

  • Balloon: Alien Rocket

  • Call Letters: C-FIIY

  • Type: Bard Balloons

  • Size (volume): 65000

  • Category: Special Shape

Green and black rocket ship balloon shape

Fan's Choice

Alien Rocket is the special shape chosen by fans to compete in 2021's Festival. For anyone who might be concerned, this is a friendly alien invasion. Since the inaugural flight in 2016, it has flown and ignited childhood dreams in over 7 countries around the world. With the envelope weighing in at 95kg with 1500 yards of fabric, Alien Rocket was designed specifically to be easy to handle by 4 local crew members. 

Learn more about Alain Bard's long standing love of flying.

  • Competitor: #20

  • Pilot: Bill Dickinson

  • From: Rolling Hills AB

  • Attended: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021


Ballooning in the Blood

Bill Dickinson first took to the skies with some thin fabric and a bunch of hot air in 1993. It was love at first flight and he became hooked on ballooning. Bill began pilot training in 2001 and became a licensed pilot in December 2002. Since then he has flown in locations from Billings MT through to Grand Prairie AB and looks forward to exploring more places from the sky and ground. Bill and Annette, his wife, enjoy farming outside of Rolling Hills AB, although it does cut into flying time. 

  • Balloon: Geppetto

  • Call Letters: C-GFPH

  • Type: Galaxy GLX 7

  • Size (volume): 77000

  • Category: Sport


Love of a Woodcarver

Geppetto became Bill's flying partner in 2013. The patchwork of red, orange, and yellow brightens the skies every time she flies.

Read more about Bill Dickinson's ballooning adventures.

Foothills Signs logo
  • Competitor: #21

  • Pilot: Brigitte "Brie" Johnstone

  • From: Manotick ON

  • Attended: 2021

Brigitte Johnstone

Happened One Christmas

Brigette "Brie" Johnstone was bitten by the ballooning bug after being gifted a  champagne flight for Christmas. She purchased a balloon, hired an instructor, and became a pilot in 1992. Brie is actively involved in the National Capital Balloon Club as well as the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival where she is on the Board of Directors and a pilot for the Gatineau team. When not flying, Brie is a physiotherapist working with children with disabilities in the community schools. 

  • Balloon: She's A Hoot

  • Call Letters: C-FIET

  • Type: Bill Whalen AX7

  • Size (volume): 77000

  • Category: Special Shape

Red Owl Special Shape Hot Air Balloon

Whimsical Wisdom

She's A Hoot has an uncommon distinction of being built by her pilot. Brie worked alongside Bill Whelan and Sandra Rolfe in 2014 to create these wise eyes to fly the skies.

Learn more about Brie Johnstone's three decades of ballooning.

  • Competitor: #22

  • Pilot: Chris Jones

  • From: Billings MT USA

  • Attended: 2019, 2021


Dream Come True

Chris Jones dreamt of flying since the first flight with his grandfather piloting a fixed wing plane. His love of ballooning began in 1998 with crewing at an event. Chris became friends with another pilot and traveled around the country to crew at events for many years until receiving his pilot's license in 2017. Chris now organizes the annual balloon festival in Billings, Montana.

  • Balloon: Sapphire Sunrise

  • Call Letters: N7111G

  • Type: Raven Aerostar S55-A

  • Size (volume): 77500

  • Category: Sport


Jewel of the Skies

Sapphire Sunrise returns to High River. The blue and yellow combination will sparkle in the sky.

Read more about Chris Jones' path to becoming a hot air balloon pilot.

Heritage Inn logo
  • Competitor: #23

  • Pilot: Peter Van Overwalle

  • From: Belgium & Ennis MT USA 

  • Attended: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021


World Traveller

Peter Van Overwalle's journey to become a pilot started as a passenger in 1997. The next step was crewing in 1998 and then received his pilot's license in 1999. He flew commercially in Belgium for 12 years until family business matters required more of his time. Peter has 1100 hours in his log book with flying a range of balloons from a cloudhopper to 300,000 cubic feet. Ballooning has taken Peter around the world having flown in 20 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.

  • Balloon: Princess Nelly

  • Call Letters: N917PN

  • Type: Kubichek BB30Z 

  • Size (volume): 

  • Category: Special Shape


Princess Nelly

Princess Nelly will brighten the skies with her bright pink complexion, goofy smile, and big silver crown. She is the youngest, but most regal sister of Nelly (grey) and Nelly B (pink).

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