Our 2023 Pilot Lineup!

We are happy to introduce the pilots registered for the 2023 Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival. Not only do we have our local pilots, we have representation from across Alberta, BC through Ontario. We anticipate our international friends from the United States, United Kingdom, and Belgium will be able to participate again 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 July 2023, we have 29 entrants. That number may increase or decrease over the coming weeks as details are finalized. 

  • Competitor: #24

  • Pilot: Chris Monk

  • From: Meare Sommerset UK

  • Attended: 2023

Chris Monk

A Man of Many Balloons

Chris Monk has been flying balloons commercially for over 30 years. He has flown balloons of all types ranging from the tiny one-man Cloudhopper to huge 16-passenger balloons as well as special shapes. Having flown in over 20 countries, Chris' most memorable flights were over the Great Wall of China and Las Vegas Strip, and across the English Channel. He took part in breaking the ‘Cloudhopper’ stacking world record. Chris enjoys teaching ballooning to newcomers and always looking forward to the next flight!
  • Balloon: Bella the Bulldog

  • Call Letters: G-OWOF

  • Type: Cameron Z105

  • Size (volume): 105000

  • Category: Special Shape

Bella the Bulldog hot air balloon

Round of A Paws

Bella is excited to be joining Buster the Bulldog at this year's Festival.

  • Competitor: #25

  • Pilot: Peter Van Overwalle

  • From: Eke, Belgium & Ennis MT USA 

  • Attended: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021, 2022, 2023


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): 105000

  • Category: Special Shape

Princess Nelly hot air balloon

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).

  • Competitor: #26

  • Pilot: Gary Moore

  • From: Lake Havasu City AZ USA

  • Attended: 2023

Gary Moore
  • Balloon: Owlbert Eyenstein

  • Call Letters: N47OWL

  • Type: Valdemir Taviera N18

  • Size (volume): 120000

  • Category: Special Shape

Owlbert Eyenstein
  • Balloon: Darkside 2020

  • Call Letters: N720DS

  • Type: Kubicek BB34Z

  • Size (volume): 77000

  • Category: Sport

  • Competitor: #27

  • Pilot: Carolyn Lee

  • From: Belmont ON

  • Attended: 2023

Carolyn Lee

Love of Above

Carolyn has always been a fan of heights. She started crewing in 2019  and quickly catching the balloon bug. Carolyn pursued her license and became a licensed pilot in 2022. Carolyn has been flying the Remax balloon in Calgary and Edmonton this summer and is s excited to be returning to High River this year as a pilot.
  • Balloon: Remax

  • Call Letters: C-GBIQ

  • Type: Sundance Balloons SBA90

  • Size (volume): 90000

  • Category: Sport

Remax hot air balloon

World Renowned

At seven stories tall, the RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon grabs attention wherever it flies.

  • Competitor: #28

  • Pilot: Benoit Lambert

  • From: Court St Etienne Belgium

  • Attended: 2023

Benoit Lambert
  • Balloon: Darth Vader

  • Call Letters: OO-BQZ

  • Type: Cameron

  • Size (volume): 105000

  • Category: Special Shape

Darth Vader hot air balloon
  • Competitor: #29

  • Pilot: Jerry Elkins

  • From: Eureka NV USA 

  • Attended: 2018, 2022, 2023

Jerry Elkins

The all-American pilot

Jerry Elkins started flying balloons in 1979 and made a living as a traveling balloon barnstormer for 25 years. In 2015, he became the first balloon pilot to have flown in all 50 states in the USA. Jerry is the second of four generations of Elkin balloon pilots. He has enjoyed many adventures and met many amazing people during his 40 plus years as a balloon pilot.

  • Balloon: Hope on Fire

  • Call Letters: 4505N

  • Type:  Cameron O77

  • Size (volume): 77000

  • Category: Sport

Hope on Fire hot air balloon
  • Competitor: #30

  • Pilot: Brant Leatherdale

  • From: Calgary AB

  • Attended: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

HIIBF 2020 - Brant Leatherdale

Local Flyer

Brant Leatherdale is a pilot from Calgary where he lives with his wife, Tara, and children and is self-employed. Brant mainly flies in Western Canada and has attended major ballooning events in the USA and Mexico. Having attended every Festival since 2013, Brant is looking forward to flying the skies over High River again this year.

  • Balloon: Kiss the Sky

  • Call Letters: C-FRQV

  • Type: Kubicheck

  • Size (volume): 250000

  • Category: Sport

Kiss The Sky hot air balloon
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