As states and communities across American begin to re-open in the continuing face of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the BFA wants to assure that ballooning and balloonists are welcomed back in a positive way. To accomplish this, we are urging our member pilots to “Show We Care.”
A number of our members, some significant ride operations in the USA, along with other individual pilots across the country have already begun doing so. We would like to take this effort nation wide. We would like to put in place programs to give back to the many workers who have put themselves on the frontline in our defense against Covid-19 by awarding balloon rides, as a way to say thank you. The BFA is encouraging all member pilots to consider this idea when you decide to return to flying.
There is no set format – you might reach out directly to an organization(s) in your community, or use social media to share your intentions. The concept is simply to identify a frontline worker in your community and offer a ride as a “thank you.” And it need not be just a health care worker. Others who have worked through the pandemic to serve the rest of us under under #stayathome guidelines could be recognized. For example:
- front line medical providers
- your local postal carrier
- a local grocer
- a law enforcement or fire officer
However you choose to execute such a flight you should of course do everything in your power to follow all CDC, Federal. State, and local guidelines for personal safety and social distancing amongst you, your crew, and passengers.
Finally, remember that regardless of being “open for business” some may see your activity as “too soon” and “non-essential.” They might choose to alert local media to express their displeasure. Therefore, to avoid potential negative media impact, you may want to alert your local media of your intentions in advance. Doing so could potentially result in them seeing your actions as a “good news” story. We will be providing additional information in the upcoming days that may assist with the media.
A single ride, as a “thank you” to an individual in your community sends a huge message of thanks and could well generate a positive perspective for ballooning in your locale and much further afield as we move forward into whatever the “new normal” may prove to be.
As always, fly safe and remember your actions can and often do reflect on all balloonists. Be an ambassador for our sport!
Please stay safe,