9-year-old said youngest balloon pilot

June 5, 2011 at 3:37 PM
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ALBUQUERQUE, June 5 (UPI) -- After a 26-minute flight a 9-year-old New Mexico boy became the youngest trained pilot to solo in a hot air balloon, his mother said.

"I just wanted to solo in a hot air balloon and I just happen to be 9," Bobby Bradley said.

The boy's father, who designs and charts paths for balloons and holds dozens of ballooning records himself, expressed confidence in his small son, KOAT-TV, Albuquerque, reported.

"He's a heck of a balloon pilot, especially for a 9-year-old," Troy Bradley said.

The Saturday flight near Tome, was nearly perfect, KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, said and Bobby said the whole experience compared to the name of his airship which his father and grandmother built together, the "Heavenly Dream."

"I knew I was ready," Bobby said. "I had all my equipment. I just wanted to go up."

"I definitely felt my heart catch in my throat a little bit right at take off. That is always a really dramatic time with ballooning," Bobby's mother, Tami Bradley said.

After a perfect touchdown 26 minutes later the Bradleys celebrated by reciting the balloonist's prayer, a tradition for first-time flights, and toasted with sparkling cider substituting for champagne, KRQE-TV said.

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