Destin couple travels to NM for hot air balloon festival
Jim and Nancy Lynch are full of hot air.
That’s because the Destin couple is spending the first nine days of October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the International Balloon Fiesta, an annual event that showcases some of the top hot air balloonists in the world.
“I’m an ex-airline captain with Delta and I made my living flying 600 miles an hour,” Jim Lynch said. “But I made all my fun flying at (5 mph).”
The Lynches own the Whirlaway, a colorful 90,000-cubic feet hot air balloon. Jim is the pilot and Nancy is the crew chief.
“I’m going to be flying my balloon at this festival,” Lynch said. “I fly media people from all over the world.”
The Lynches live on Holiday Isle and say they don’t fly their hot air balloon in Destin because of the water and the Air Force base. They look forward to the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque every year.
About 550 other balloonists are attending the event this year, according to Lynch.
This is the couple's 27th year attending the event, which runs from Oct. 1-9.
“It’s a special type of thing that not many people see unless they go to an event," Lynch said of the spectacle of seeing hundreds of hot air balloons floating through the air. “I come out here to fly and have a good time, to enjoy the weather and the camaraderie and the crews. It’s nine days of a very special event.”
Lynch said part of the appeal of hot air balloons, in his opinion, is the way they look in the air.
“They’re pretty, you can look at them for as long as you can see it. That’s what people like about them,” Lynch said. “They’re different, they’re new, they’re the oldest form of aviation.”
The fiesta also includes laser light shows, chainsaw carving competitions, balloon races and concerts.