First licensed hot air balloon school opens in Taiwan
Taitung County is now the home of Taiwan’s first school for training hot air balloon pilots.
The Sky Rainbow centre currently has eight licensed instructors, who were trained in the United States.
The pilots are all certified by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, which is part of the Taiwanese Ministry of Transport and Communication. This governmental department is responsible for all aviation in the Asian nation. In addition, the pilots hold international qualifications.
The hot air balloon flight school will operate from a base in Luye Township, which is in a rural area. This means that those who fly with the firm will be able to enjoy views over the Huatung Valley.
Residents in the area are used to hot air balloons flying overhead. For the past three years, the Taiwan Balloon Festival has been held in the region. Its organisers claim that:
“It is now one of the major events on the Taiwan Tourism Almanac.”
Over three years, pilots from sixteen different countries have taken part in the festival. The Taitung County Government wanted to encourage more Taiwanese to become balloonists, so they set up a team. However, those who were interested in joining the team had to train in the US.
In the future, Sky Rainbow believes that it can instead train pilots locally, which will make it the first official hot air balloon school in Taiwan. Interest in hot air ballooning is also growing across the Taiwan Strait in China. In 2015, for the first time a Chinese team aims to compete at an international level.