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Gila and Salt River Base and Meridian Hot Air Balloon and Airship Ascension Social Society, Inc.

Established 1975 as the

Arizona Balloon Club

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Arizona Balloon Club By-Laws

Ballooner Eclipse
Ballooner Eclipse

Ballooning is as tightly regulated as any other type of general aviation with two exceptions.

No Certified Flight Instructor - Click Here;

Any pilot with a commercial Lighter Than Air (L.T.A.) certificate can instruct.

No Class Three Medical - Click Here;

But balloon pilots must sign an FAA form stating they have no known medical condition that would make them unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.

Hot air balloon named Morning Glory
Morning Glory in Valley of the Gods

Student Certificate Requirements:

Complete FAA Form - Click Here;

Student Pilot Certificate forms available at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Scottsdale.

FSDO Address - Click Here;

1777 N Perimeter Dr Suite 101.

Appointment Required - Click Here;

Call 480-419-0111.

Minimum Age - Click Here;

14 years old for student certificate.

Private Certificate Requirements:

  • Pass knowledge test which contains 60 questions covering weather, Federal Aviation regulations, aviation sectional maps, navigation, and balloon operations;
  • At least 10 hours of flight training that includes at least six training flights with an authorized instructor. Most people don't take their check ride before they have 25 or 30 hours of flight time;
  • At least two of the training flights with an authorized instructor must have been within two months of the check ride.
  • At least one solo flight;
  • At least one flight to 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL).
  • Pass the check ride given by an Federal Aviation Administration designated examiner;
  • Minimum age - 16;
  • Private pilots can fly passengers but cannot give paid rides.

Commercial Certificate Requirements:

  • Pass knowledge test of 100 questions which includes a section on instruction in addition to the same topics as the private exam;
  • At least 35 hours as pilot including at least 10 flights and 20 hours in balloons;
  • At least 10 hours of flight training that includes at least 10 training flights with an authorized instructor;
  • At least two of the training flights with an authorized instructor must have been within two months of the check ride;
  • At least 2 solo flights;
  • At least one flight to 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL).
  • Pass the check ride given by an Federal Aviation Administration designated examiner;
  • Minimum age - 18;
  • A commercial pilot can give paid rides and can also instruct students.
Unloading a hot air balloon
Sweat Equity

Finding an Instructor:

Sweat Equity - Click Here;

We at the Arizona Balloon Club are very proud of our tradition of teaching our crew to fly. So to become a pilot...start crewing.

Ground School - Click Here;

The Arizona Balloon Club holds a two day ground school about every other year. There are also a number of online and two-day resident schools that prepare students for the written exam.

Flight Schools - Click Here;

There are also a number of schools around the country that compress the flight training into about a week.

Local Pilots - Click Here;

Some local commercial pilots will take on students for a fee. These pilots can be found by word-of-mouth from other balloonists or by Googling the smaller balloon ride companies.