In his thirty years of piloting balloons, Andy has acquired over 4,000 hours as Pilot In Command, flying passenger rides and corporate balloons in over eighteen states.
Andy began flying at the age of fourteen in central Iowa at the National Balloon Classic. Taking lessons from his father, Andy obtained his Private Pilot and then Commercial Pilot ratings. Andy's family owned a small sport balloon and spent their summers flying and traveling to area balloon races to compete in weekend events.
Once in college, Andy accepted a position at Wiederkehr Balloons based in St. Paul, MN. He was Chief Pilot for the Mycogen Seed contract, flying a standard shape balloon over a nine-state area of the Central United States. Andy also took the Kentucky Fried Chicken special shape balloon to several events across the United States that summer. After college, Andy moved to Phoenix, Arizona to receive his training in passenger balloons. He flew for several companies in the "Valley of the Sun," and continues today to operate passenger balloons there during the cold Illinois winters.
In the fall of 1999, Andy teamed up with Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa launching hot air balloons from their front lawn as a guest amenity. Galena On The Fly, Inc. made its maiden voyage on April 13th, 2000, and has flown over 2,000 flights from the Resort since.
Andy would like to welcome you to "come take a ride with us," over the rolling hills and beautiful countryside of Northwestern Illinois.