Hot Air Balloonists Marc And Ursula Klinger Share Their Favorite Spot to Fly Around Statesvillein Hot Air Balloonist Story
Several of Statesville’s hot air balloon pilots are transplants from other parts of the country. Marc and Ursula Klinger are a couple of those pilots—they landed here some years ago and stayed for the fun.
“One of Marc’s employees, Mike Simmons, was a balloon pilot,” Ursula remembers. “On our third wedding anniversary, Marc surprised me with a balloon flight with him—one of many amazing moments in our life.” The couple started crewing and chasing Mike’s balloon pretty regularly. They travelled to out-of-town events and fell in love with the sport and the people. After six months of doing that, they bought their own balloon. Ursula, being not too shy, started her flight training right away, and after she earned her private license, Marc followed suit. And another ballooning family takes off!
They are a product of the people
Both Ursula and Marc learned to fly in South Florida in the early 1990s. “We had some damn good instructors available to us there,” she told me, “Mike Simmons, of course, and Barry Rowars, Sam Nettles, Wayne Smith, Chuck Rohr—all well-respected pilots and really great people.” Marc explained that everyone has a flying style, and his is a bit of a mash-up of the tips and techniques learned from all his instructors. “I probably even learned a thing or two from Ursula, actually,” he said with a smile. These days, after Ursula retired from piloting a couple years ago, Marc keeps his balloon in the air flying passengers, competing a bit, and fun flying with family and friends. Airtime Balloon Company is based in Troutman, though Marc flies all over Iredell County.
There is something special about home
Putting smiles on the faces of everyone
For the Klingers, ballooning is one part flying and lots of parts friends, family, travel, community, and sharing with first timers or experienced flyers. These experiences are common threads that put smiles on the faces of everyone it touches. Oh, and don’t forget eating out and telling tales with everyone after a flight!
Core Beliefs? An engineer by education, Marc thinks of this, “There are no problems, only solutions.” Not sure who told me that, but it serves me well whenever I leave the ground.
How to book!
All contact info is on the website. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, passenger flights are on hold. We hope this changes in the near future.