Balloon Pilot Falls To Death, Passengers Fly On


One of hot air ballooning’s most respected pilots died in a bizarre incident that also sent three of his passengers on a free flight over rural Vermont and into New Hampshire. Brian Boland, 72, took off from Silver Maple Lodge in Fairlee, Vermont, on Thursday with four passengers who had purchased the flight through the lodge. The balloon eventually landed in a nearby field and the basket tipped, throwing one of the passengers out. The passenger wasn’t hurt. As the lightened balloon ascended, Boland got tangled in some gear on the basket and hung underneath until falling to his death. The remaining three passengers traveled about 1.5 miles across the border into New Hampshire until the balloon descended into some trees and they were able to climb down unhurt.

All the authorities are looking into the accident and the hot air ballooning community is paying tribute to Boland. “This man was the father of the Experimental Balloon Movement and he did a lot to promote the sport of Hot Air Ballooning,” fellow pilot David Bristol said in a Facebook post. “Brian Boland you will be missed!”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Some aspects on the way the article is written don’t make sense but a terrible tragedy. I’m glad it wasn’t worse.