In this episode Adam chats to one of the most gifted balloon makers in the World, Bert Padelt.
Bert’s is best known for custom building record setting balloons. As testament to his enormous talent and skill, Bert’s balloons hold FAI World records in the hot air, gas and Rozier categories. Along with his wife Joanie, Bert runs a full time repair station in Bally, Pennsylvania. Bert and Joanie have been married for 27 years, and Bert has been married to ballooning for over 40!
Bert has a storied history in record setting ballooning. He was involved in all but one of Steve Fossett’s round the world balloon attempts and was Systems Director on Steve’s successful circumnavigation in the summer of 2002.
Bert also built the smallest manned gas balloon system to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean with David Hempelman Adams in 2007 which was an extraordinary flight in so many ways! This flight set 5 FAI world records in distance and duration. Bert and Joanie also built the Two Eagles Transpacific balloon and Bert was responsible for its logistics, assembly, launch and recovery procedures during the successful 2015 flight.
In 2011 Bert was awarded the FAI Montgolfier Diploma, ballooning’s highest honour, for his contribution to the sport of gas ballooning. In 2015 Bert and Joanie were awarded the Sheilds-Trauger Award, the highest honour of the Balloon Federation of America.
Bert is a founding member of the Aero Club of America; the first active gas balloon club in the United States since the 1950’s. In 2015 this club received the FAI’s Honorary Group Diploma recognizing the club members’ contribution to the sport of gas ballooning. Bert is also Vice Chairman of the BFA Gas Division where he has sat on the board for nearly 20 years.