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THE BALLOONS AND PILOTS



MATT SCAIFE NSW
VH-FEQ  Felix

  Matthew is the current (and twice) Australian Champion, winning in 2014 in Canowindra & 2015 in Northam. He is the current Japanese Grand Prix Champion (2016) along with other team-member pilots, including wife Nicola; and has placed well when representing Australia at World Championships. Nicola & Matt have flown competition balloons throughout Australia and overseas, often accompanied by their young son; and are both Commercial Balloon Pilots in the Hunter Valley.


NICOLA SCAIFE NSW
VH-NKS  Flow

   Nicola has been a pilot for 10 years. She is the current (and twice) Women’s World Champion, current Japanese Grand Prix Champion (2016) along with other team-member pilots, including husband Matt; and was runner-up in the 2015 National Championships in Northam. Nicola & Matt have flown competition balloons throughout Australia and overseas, often accompanied by their young son; and are both Commercial Balloon Pilots in the Hunter Valley.



DOMINIC BAREFORD UK
tba

  Dominic is a 23 year old pilot from the United Kingdom. He won the World Junior championships in 2014. Dominic became involved with ballooning through his father and enjoys flying for fun and competitively. He has held a licence for 7 years and has represented the UK in international competitions several times. U.K National champion 2015, 2016. 6th place World championships, 2016.





JAMES ANSELL ACT
VH-LFS  Scout Balloon

  Started in 2012, the ACT Scout Balloon Team is a unique program offered by Scouts ACT, training youth members to be both pilots and crew. James was the first pilot qualified through the Scout Balloon program, getting his ABF Private Pilot Balloon Certificate in Easter 2014. He is a PhD student at the ANU and has a penchant for unusual pilot headgear. Co-pilot Jacob is the most recent pilot to train with the program. He is currently studying chemistry at the ANU.



NIGEL BLACK HONG KONG
G-CXCX  Cathay pacific

  Nigel is a Senior Training Captain with Cathay Pacific. He has been flying hot air balloons for 23 years, originally gaining his balloon licence here in WA. Nigel won the Masters Cup at Saga Japan in 2009 & 2012; and out of the many balloon flights he has made all over the globe, including in the Swiss Alps at Chateau D’Oeux, he lists flying over Hong Kong as being the most interesting.





ANDREW CLEMENTS WA
VH-ACU  Jenna

  The Clements family have been flying balloons in the Avon Valley for forty years. Andrew is a second generation pilot, born in Northam, and two of his brothers also fly balloons here in Northam. He met his wife Belinda through ballooning. He has attended balloon events throughout Australia and overseas.








PAUL GIANNOTIS NSW
VH-OTT  Rainbow Lady

  Paul lived in Hong Kong for 20 years, and was a founding member of the Hong Kong Balloon & Airship Club. His job as a flight engineer with Cathay Pacific brought him to WA, and he came to Northam to conduct extensive training with members of the Grenade Balloon Group. In 1980 Paul achieved Australia’s first ballooning World Record. Since then he has flown balloons in Hong Kong, Japan, UK, Canada, USA and just about everywhere in Australia.




STEPHEN GIANNOTIS NSW
VH-SSG  Super Sonic

  Stephen is a second generation balloon pilot after becoming involved in ballooning through his father, Paul. He obtained his ballooning licence in 2006 and enjoys ballooning around NSW. Stephen is a regular participant at the Canberra Balloon Fiesta, and lists a recent highlight as ballooning at a cloud-hopper meet in Alice Springs.







PAUL GIBBS NSW
VH-UED  Huey

  Paul says that he has been interested in wind-powered craft forever! He has been a balloon pilot since 1987. He was the 2004 FAI World Bronze medallist, and five times Australian National Champion. Paul sends special thanks to his crew who have travelled a long way to support the team. His balloon is an Australian made Kavanagh EX-60.






DANIEL GILLESPIE ACT
VH-BVJ   

  Daniel is a commercial Balloon pilot. He spends 6 months of the year flying passenger balloons in Myanmar. He represented Australia at the two most recent junior World Championships, and has participated in other European events.











CURTIS GREENWOOD VIC
VH-GQK Gecko

  Curtis has flown at balloon events in Canowindra, Mildura, Canberra, and Northam in 2015. He is a full-time balloon crewman in Melbourne, and (apart from the Championships in Northam!) he reckons that a ballooning highlight was crewing at the World Ballooning Championships in Battle Creek, Michigan, for Australian Peter Wright.









STUART GREGORY ACT
VH-VZN   Veraison

  Stuart has been flying hot air balloons for 27 years, having been fascinated by hot air balloons since he saw one at the Sydney Royal Easter Show when he was in Primary School. He flies mainly in Canberra & south eastern NSW, and has also flown in SA & VIC. This will be his first time ever in WA.
Stuarts wife Elizabeth designed the colour layout for his new balloon, inspired by two other balloons, Kingfisher and Passion Fruit. He sees ballooning as a great way to have fun and spread joy.





GEOFFREY HOWE ACT
VH-IGH  Poppy

  Geoff has been a pilot for 17 years, and has flown passenger balloons in Canberra and Northam. His daughter lives in Northam and is married to local pilot Andrew Clements. Geoff is looking forward to flying the 'cloud hopper' in this year event. This is a one man balloon with a chair rather than a basket.








PAUL KAVANAGH VIC
VH-EXT  Vertigo

  Paul has been involved in ballooning with his family, since 1973; eventually succumbing to the lure and gaining his licence in 2008. He has been flying competitively since 2013, and after working with our top pilots in international competitions recently, he looks forward to now going up against them. Paul will be flying a Kavanagh EX 65 for a second stint competing in Northam.






SEAN KAVANAGH NSW
VH-CVX  Paddy

  Born and bred into ballooning, Sean has been flying balloons since 1994. He works at Kavanagh Balloons, designing and manufacturing Australian balloons; but also worked and trained with Qantas as an Aircraft Engineer. Sean has flown balloons commercially over Melbourne, Sydney & Mareeba, and has represented Australia in numerous World Championships. In 2008 he flew a Kavanagh B-400 balloon up to 37,834 feet, setting a new Australian Altitude record.



ANTON KERR NSW
VH-VPI  Yippi

  Anton is a barista and a commercial pilot in Canowindra NSW. He is flying his parents' balloon (Thanks Mum and Dad) and wishes he was in a racer.












ANDREI KULKOV RUSSIA
  Hola

  Andrei has been involved in ballooning since 2004. Born in 1969, he studied navigation and served as a submarine officer in Russian Navy. Andrei was Russian Hot Air Ballooning Champion in 2011 & 2015; and participated at the World Championships in 2012 & 2015, and European Championships in 2013 & 2015.






TOMOKO KURAHASHI JAPAN
   

   This is Tomoko’s second time in Northam. She and her crew/manager Maki enjoyed the hospitality of their Northam host family, and the great times with their local crew, so much at the 2015 Championships, that they are back for more! Tomoko has represented Japan in Women’s World Championships, and has competed in the Japanese Honda Grand Prix series for more than ten years.




CLAIRE O'BRIEN VIC
VH-IIR  Dot

   This is Claire’s first time competing in a National Championships, and she says that Team ’Dot’ plan to have a fun time in Northam. Her balloon ’Dot’ originally had Honda logos on it, but with a LOT of unpicking, and some help from Kavanagh Balloons, she now flys a cute ladybug!







ANDREW ROBERTSON NSW
VH-YXY  Shadowfax

  Andrew started ballooning 38 years ago (at the age of 4) and has been a  Pilot for more than 20 years. He represented Australia at the World Championships in 2006 and 2012, and has flown in the USA, Japan, and most of the states in Australia. Andrew flies a red, orange, yellow and black Kavanagh EX65 Racer called “Shadowfax“.






PATERSON SAUNDERS VIC
VH-ZOW   Zonzo

  ’Pato’ hails from the Yarra Valley, and was brought up in a family of aeronauts. He has chased balloon jobs around the world including Brazil, Qatar, Slovenia, Ireland; and has flown on the frozen Arctic Ocean from a nuclear icebreaker. Keen to make ballooning appealing to a younger crowd he formed ’The Flying Lemmings’, young balloon pilots that hope to open up the world of ballooning to the next generation. Watch out for the new Zonzo balloon as it wanders across the Nullarbor!


LES SPRINGETT NSW
VH-ROI   Volare

  Les has been ballooning since 1979. He holds the AX7-10 Australian Duration Record and won the Great Australian Long Jump. He represented Australia in the World Championship in Austria in 2008, Pre-Worlds in Saga, Japan in 2015 and Coupe d’Europe in France in 2002. Les won the 2016 Canowindra Challenge Key Grab and participated in all 3 previous Northam National Championships. Les flies “Volare“, which is Italian for “To fly“.



PETER STEPHENSON WA
VH-MNS  Mario

  Peter learnt to fly balloons 2 years ago in Mondovi, Italy and has since been building experience in the Avon Valley. His balloon Mario, can be recognised by the big M on the side. This will be Peter’s first competition.









RICHARD SWANSBOROUGH NSW
VH-PUQ  Grasshopper

   Richard lives in Canowindra in Central NSW, where he built his first hot air balloon in 2010, before he even knew how to fly one. He took this balloon to New Zealand in 2013 where he was awarded Overall Champion at the annual “"Balloons over Waikato“" festival. Richard has also participated in other overseas ballooning events in Portugal, France and Thailand. Recently he purchased this smaller balloon to transport to Northam and other ballooning events around Australia.


ZENYA TAGUCHI JAPAN
 

   Zenya says that he is "most honoured to have the opportunity to fly in Australia"; we will get some more information from him soon.











SVEN TETLOW WA
VH-EES  Piro

   Sven is from a local Northam ballooning dynasty, learning to fly balloons in his teens (he has not chosen to tell you how long ago that was!). He is now ensuring the continuity of the dynasty by training his own children to be balloon pilots. Sven has flown commercially in Cairns and Alice Springs, and is a current officer of the Australian Ballooning Federation, responsible for safety matters.





PETER WRIGHT VIC
VH-PWM  Mistral

   Peter is a commercial balloon pilot from Melbourne and has been flying balloons since 1997. Competition ballooning is his flying hobby, and he has placed third in the National Championships in four of the last five events, including Northam in 2015. He has represented Australia at World Championships in 2010, 2012 & 2016. Peter loves coming to Northam, where his Uncle Keith was one of the founding members of the Northam Aero Club.


PETER CLEMENT WA
VH-NTF  Fandango

   The youngest member of the Clements ballooning dynasty (so far!), Peter has been a balloon pilot for more than 15 years. He has also flown in Renmark and Canberra. Peter also enjoys cricket, football and volunteering at his children’s sporting activities. His ‘real job’ is electrical contractor.






DONNA TASKER WA
VH-UAF  Asthma WA

   Donna has been flying balloons for the last 10 years, and also holds a fixed wing licence, and British Commercial Balloon Pilot licence. Apart from flying locally over the Avon valley, working for Windward Balloon Adventures during the Western Australian winter, she then spends the other six months of the year in flying in Myanmar for Oriental Ballooning. Donna attended the 2013 Saga International Balloon Fiesta as an official.







DEFENDING CHAMPION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS NORTHAM 2015



MATTHEW SCAIFE NSW
VH-FCK "Felix"


NICOLA SCAIFE NSW
VH-NKS "Flow"

PETER WRIGHT VIC
VH-PWM "Mistral"


Copyright © Northam Aero Club, 2014-2017
Latest update : July 16, 2017

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HOME |  COMMUNITY & EVENTS  |  THE BALLOONS & PILOTS  |  ORGANISERS  |  GETTING THERE  |  ACCOMMODATION
INFO FOR COMPETITORS  |  NEWS  |  SPONSORS  |  THE SCORES  |  LINKS  |  FAQ  |  CONTACTS  |  2015 SLIDE SHOW