Get to know your Pilot with these fun facts » BALLOONS ABOVE THE VALLEY - Napa Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon pilots have one of the most unique jobs, taking them all over the world and skies. These sky adventurers fly to amazing locations -whether it’s for seasonal flights or to attend incredible hot air balloon festivities. Balloons Above the Valley is no exception when it comes to their own pilots. Their “office” everyday is roughly 1000 ft up in the air surrounded by sunrises, blue skies and new passengers daily. Next time you want a break from your office join one of our skilled and professional pilots in a Napa hot air balloon ride and see the valley from above.

Want to get to know your pilot a little before your flight? Check out some of these fun facts:


Bob Barbarick

Bob is the fearless leader of Balloons Above the Valley and has been ballooning since the early 70’s in the Napa Valley. He started off flying with him and just a couple of buddies but since this was such an unknown activity back then many people soon wanted to join them. Over the years Bob has taken people for hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley, but do you know what else bob has done almost as long as hot air ballooning? From an early age Bob has been playing handball and competes in tournaments around the country. Handball is a competitive game that you can play as a single or as a double. When Bob is not flying, snorkeling or playing handball, he can be found playing with his pups.

Chad Cassell

Chad has flown and competed in many places before he landed (pun intended) in Napa to fly hot air balloons. Growing up in ballooning in his family he started to begin flying at a younger age. As chad’s career grew he started out flying in his hometown of Chester Springs, PA then gradually expanded before he flew in Phoenix, AZ. While in Arizona Chad was flying both in the mornings and in the afternoons when the weather was ideal. After a few years Chad joined the Balloons Above the Valley family to give more people the chance to experience hot air balloon rides Napa valley style. Since the weather is normally ideal just around sunrise chad had to find something else to do in the afternoons. Typically you can find Chad hiking, biking, watching fun hot air balloon videos and if all else fails finding new fun facts about the Napa Valley to share with his next round of passengers.

Jacob Molnar

Jake comes from a long line of hot air balloon pilots in his family. Jake is a third generation pilot in his family to fly a Napa hot air balloon. Since a very young age he has been in and around hot air balloons so it was only natural that both he and his sister grew up to want to fly. Some days you can find Jake and his grandpa flying side by side giving passengers an unforgettable Napa hot air balloon ride. When Jake is not showing passengers around the Napa Valley from above you can find him traveling to tournaments with his own balloon to compete in fun flight activities or to partake in the famous balloon glows.

Russ James

Russ has been flying hot air balloons in the Napa Valley for over 20 years and each flight is just as memorable as the one’s before it. Raised in the Central Valley of California Russ is no stranger to farm lands with orchards or vineyards so flying above these every day is like flying in his backyard. When Russ is not showing passengers a great flight through the Napa Valley ,he can be found back on his own farm tinkering around. With his own acreage he has one of the best gardens out there and is sure to spread the love with his friends and fellow pilots when everything is in harvest. When his green thumb though is dormant Russ can be found traveling to some unique balloon festivals to partake in a balloon glow or to join in on a fun flight activity.

Rest assured that the pilots at Balloons Above the Valley are professional and take pride in their hot air balloon flights. Ask any one of them and they would say that flying in the Napa Valley never gets old as it is a new experience every day with all new passengers joining them in their “office” from all around the world. Be sure to book your Napa hot air balloon ride online, or call their reservationists at 1-800-464-6824.