Aggregated by AuxBeacon News Staff
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Jan 8, 2017, New Mexico Wing’s hot-air balloon program entered a new era when its new balloon envelope, Integrity, made its maiden flight from the Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque.
Integrity is the second balloon acquired by New Mexico Wing since launching its new balloon program in July 2014. Integrity’s predecessor, Phoenix, which had been donated to New Mexico Wing by a fellow balloonist was retired in June 2016, having failed its annual inspection.
New Mexico Wing Commander Col Mike Lee was the balloon’s inaugural passenger, accompanied by Makin (who served as check pilot on this voyage), and balloon pilot Lt Col William Fitzpatrick, commander of the LBJ Middle School Cadet Squadron.
The prime purpose of Integrity and the balloon program is the development of aviators and air-minded individuals and the continued growth of general aviation in our communities,” said Fitzpatrick. Makin added that the balloon program has produced five private pilots since being started two and a half years ago.
“Flying in Integrity was a milestone for me,” said Lee. “After all the hard work that so many good people accomplished, everything came to fruition.”
Lee concluded, “With this beautiful new envelope, we will be able to carry the CAP name and logo far and wide for many to see.”