Meet our flight team: Highly trained + lots of personality!
Nick & Ruthie Hoffbauer - FAA Certified Pilot, Certified Master Crew Chief
Nick and Ruthie have been in love with ballooning since Nick took a special Birthday flight in 1980. The day after his flight, he decided to begin training and has been a full-time Aeronaut ever since! Together, their credentials include:
- Nick has been a full time, FAA certified Commercial Pilot (Lighter Than Air) since 1982.
- Nick has been an FAA Safety Counselor for Hot Air Ballooning since 1997.
- They have owned and operated the only local FAA certified Balloon Repair Station since 1992.
- Organizer, Safety Officer and Balloonmeister for the Indiana State Fair Hot Air Balloon Events since 1992, previous Balloonmeister/Organizer at several other local and regional events over the years.
- With over 2000 hours piloting five different categories of balloons, Nick and his experienced crew have maintained a perfect safety record.
- Nick has been a Flight Instructor for over 25 years, training student pilots to attain the mental and physical skills needed to pilot hot air balloons.
- Both are 30+ year members of the Balloon Federation of America, and have held many offices in the Montgolfier Society of Indiana over the years.
- Ruthie is a BFA certified Master Crew Chief
- Frequent speakers at regional Balloon Safety Seminars on Pilot Decision Making, Pilot and Crew Safety and Hot Air Balloon Maintenance.
- Over the years they have conducted hot air balloon advertising programs for such high profile companies as Collision Cure, Conseco, Kodak, Habig Garden Shops, Hertz Car Rental, Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, MCL Restaurants and Marsh Supermarkets.
Rick, Julie, and Baylie Davis - Flight Crew
Rick and Julie met while crewing for a pilot friend and then went on to get married. As regular team members for Above & Beyond, they continue to be dedicated ground crew and now their charming daughter Baylie has quickly become one of our most enthusiastic crew!
Matt and Jennifer James - Flight Crew
Matt has been crewing with the Above & Beyond team for many years, and when he married Jennifer, we gained a great crew member! This duo keeps busy year-round traveling and sometimes just seeking new adventures right here at home. Both are IT professionals during the day.
Tom Corbett - Flight Crew
Long-time crewman Tom Corbett is often seen lending his height where it’s most useful - at the balloon’s mouth during inflation! An avid adventurer, Tom also enjoys cycling and participating in local theatre.