Here will be a page on training


Gen600x15 basketThe Pilot Achievement Award Program (PAAP) was developed by the BFA Events Committee in 1982 for the purpose of advancing the sport of ballooning. The Balloon Federation of America's PAAP purpose is to encourage pilots to increase their skills and aeronautical knowledge through a program of challenges and rewards.

The sport of ballooning has continued to grow and has reached the point where both the general public and FAA take it more seriously. This interest includes not only treating us as professionals, but also increasing the amount of regulation. Not too many years ago, the majority of balloon pilots had reasonably similar experience levels. This was because modern ballooning was relatively new.

This has changed, and we now have a much wider range of experience in our pilot population. There is a tendency among a large number of pilots to plateau in their aeronautical knowledge and skills. This occurs fairly early in the pilot's participation in the sport. This plateau is the primary reason for recurrent training and practice of skills. In addition to practice, the pilot must constantly increase skills and knowledge.

It has been recognized that to move beyond this plateau some external motivation must be supplied. It is the purpose of the Pilot Achievement Award Program to supply this motivation by establishing a set of challenges and rewards. The challenges include specific flight and ground requirements to be attained, as well as options that allow pilots to follow individual interests. The rewards come in the form of public recognition for these achievements.

The program has 8 levels, each building on the previous. Our intent and hope is that pilots will find this a challenging and rewarding, fun program to participate in, and will hold those who have achieved each level with respect.

Click on the HANDBOOK button to access the specifics of the Program.

After you submit your application, you can order and pay for your Pin (or Pins) and Certificates using the following link.  They will be shipped out once the application is approved.

Order Pins Online



Level 1 Student Aeronaut - Yellow

Level 2 Basic Aeronaut - Green

Level 3 Intermediate Aeronaut - Red

Level 4 Advanced Aeronaut - Blue

Level 5 Senior Aeronaut - Bronze

Level 6 Master Aeronaut - Silver

Level 7 Prominent Aeronaut - Gold

Level 8 Distinguished Aeronaut - Antique Gold


9ND37961a-PaulDdeBerjeoisBallooning history is full of colorful charactors, interesting adventures, and wonderful stories. In this section of the website we want to share some of these stories with all of you.



Read about Notable Balloonists as identified by the BFA Hall of Fame Committee. Click the following link to access the biographies and other information on US Hall of Fame Award recipients and other Notable Balloonists.





Oct 25 2022 | DeanCarlton
BFA Board of Director Officers - Alphabetical List

Most years as an officer at each postions      


President: [4] J. Michael Wallace (1992, 93, 95, 96), [3] Don Kersten (1970, 75, 76), [3] Peter Pellegrino (1967, 68 [ ... ]

Sep 25 2016 | Orvin Olivier
 Early FAA Balloon Pilots Licenses

After Raven developed the first modern hot air balloon in 1960 – 1961, there was no pilots license requirements by the FAA. 

Sep 25 2016 | Bob Waligunda
Early in 1969

Early in 1969, one of my first contracts was with CVS stores, owned by Melville Shoe Corporation. I would fly from the local CVS store and would throw out ping pong balls numbered with discounts as I  [ ... ]

Sep 25 2016 | Bob Waligunda

We were flying S-40's (very small balloons)back in the late 60's.  The tops were shrinking and we couldn't understand why.  The solution was,

Sep 25 2016 | RICK JONES
Dirty Ballooning

4 squeaky clean pilots went up in the same basket. Two men, and two women. Nobody here was married, but they were all pilots. Each offered advice on the "best" way to fly today.

Nov 09 2017 | Ed Yost
Ed Yost - BFA History Letter

A Letter to the BFA From Ed Yost

Those who flew, pass it on to you!

The Balloon Club of America represented by Pete Pelegreno, Don Kersten, a lawyer from Iowa and neophyte balloonist plus Ed Yos [ ... ]

More History Stories



chris mattesProviding educational opportunities for our members is a key directive of the Balloon Federation of America. This section of the website includes on-line video seminars, articles about crew and ground safety, and information on pilot and crew achievement programs.


Many of the videos and sessions are only viewable by current members who have logged onto the site. Be sure to click on the LOG IN in the upper right if the education areas you are looking for do not show below.









         Our Corporate Members

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