One pilot, who has been flying since before he could drive, is 25-year-old Cameron Wall. If there is one thing that Wall loves, it’s hot air balloons. “I remember being on this field when I was young. I haven’t missed a single year since I was born.”
Wall, an Albuquerque native, has been flying since he was 13, getting his pilot’s license at 17.
His passion is even something that his mom can attest to. “Cameron, from a very young age, would flip open the yellow pages, and yes, back when there were yellow pages, and he would find a balloon company, and he’d call them, and I remember he could be nine years old, and ask if he could go crew with them,” said Cindy Hernandez-Wall, Cameron’s mom.
As a pilot, Wall wakes up every day for the Fiesta at 3:30 a.m. and is at the park by 5 at the latest. After a briefing at 6 a.m., he’ll get ready for flight.
Normally, Wall does commercial flights in Seattle, Washington, with 10 passengers. For Fiesta, he’s in a much smaller basket. “This one right here is the biggest size they will allow in Fiesta unless you are [a] ride balloon. Ride balloons can carry 12 to 16 people. This one can [carry] four plus pilot,” Wall said.
The balloon Cameron is piloting is called Grandma’s Legacy, a special tribute to a special woman. “My grandma actually painted a couple of watercolor paintings, and they were digitally mapped scanned, and printed on a balloon, so it is all an underwater-water colored scene.
Wall said flying never gets old and loves to share its beauty with everyone he can. “The most rewarding piece is that I’m always there for people on their best day.”