BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The CAP Hot Air Balloon Returns to the New York Festival for the first time since post-Covid.

Civil Air Patrol members in Central NY have supported Broome County’s
Spiedie Fest and Hot Air Balloon Fest for nearly 30 years, this year the CAP Balloon returned to
the fest. For the first time post-Covid the hot air balloon “Imagination” from CAP’s Indiana Wing returned to NY.

First Lt. Mike Gallant, a member of the Indiana Wing’s Bakalar Composite Squadron,
drove 12 hours with the CAP hot air balloon in tow to arrive just in time for the festival’s

“Unfortunately, the weather in upstate NY didn’t cooperate as much as we would have
liked, but the Cadets got invaluable experience with the balloon and our pilot” said Lt
Col Frank Birt, NY Wing’s Government Relations Advisor. “We were able to get some
tethered rides and one free flight”.

Cadet Senior Airman Sara Hartman and Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Josh Nelson
took flight Saturday evening for 45 minutes over the greater Binghamton area.
“I loved it!” said Cadet Hartman. She acted as the Pilot in Charge Trainee during the
set-up of the balloon, following a check-list to make sure everything was done correctly
and safely.