SJPA Friday Brown-Bag Lunch, June 30th, 12:00 Noon, Mullis St. Fire Station, Friday Harbor

And now for something completely different! Our SJPA end of the month lunch in June provided a fascinating program. We heard a fascinating talk from Captain Crystal Stout an accomplished balloon pilot is based in Sequim WA.



Captain-Crystal’s BioFrom her website,

Captain-Crystal, Chief Flight Officer and Owner of Morning Star Balloon Co. has been flying hot air balloons for over 27 years. Known as the “Peter Pan” for adults, her true passion is to teach adults to play like children. However, she knows the smart pilot seeks ways to get the Corporation she is promoting a place in the spotlight and goes beyond the norm to get her clients exposure in hot air balloon marketing venues.

An experienced aviatrix, she has delved into powered parachutes, airplanes, and helicopters but loves the challenge and joy of sharing hot air ballooning to thousands the world over. As a Champion Corporate Hot Air Balloon Pilot, Captain Crystal has traveled the world creating events in New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Japan, and across the United States leaving smiles everywhere she goes. As the Chief Pilot of Morning Star Balloon Co., Captain Crystal has won numerous hot air balloon competitions as well as ranking in the Top 10 Women Lighter than Air Pilots in the U.S.

She is also a 3rd Generation aviator following in the footsteps of her grandfather who crewed on the original Stratospheric Balloon launched in 1935 and teaching her father to pilot a hot air balloon as well. Before becoming a confident and enthusiastic competitor, she completed schooling at one of three 141 Aviation Schools in the U.S. Fierce educational values were in place at the school and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) used this Oregon-based school as a test facility which enabled Captain Crystal to undergo duplicate flight training. This training enables her to provide a safe experience flying in a hot air balloon.

With a Degree in Radio/Television Broadcasting, Captain Crystal has the marketing edge and knows how to speak to the media for her corporate accounts. While working as the Spokesperson for PPG/CART (Indy Car Racing Teams) and the KOOL Balloon Racing Series, she traveled to 10 cities across the U.S. and was interviewed by Good Morning America, Good Morning Detroit, Miami, St. Louis, Good Morning Monterey, and other Networks and Affiliates.<

While in New Zealand she was the Media Liaison and Co-Balloonmeister (or person in charge of pilots, competitions, sponsorships, and marketing). A normal day required 19 hours of time on the road conducting balloon flights, balloon tethers, radio and print interviews, television interviews, and arrangements for pilots, crew, and sponsors

Captain Crystal has flown the largest balloon in the world…a special shaped Indy race car which stood 18 stories tall. She has flown in extreme conditions for Absolut Mandrin and Seagrams Vodka during wind storm in Chicago and a hurricane front in Miami. With a safety record that spans her flight career and dedication to getting the job done, she was able to keep the balloon aloft and “on air” for the helicopters circling above and completing a 4 city tour across the U.S. for the launch of this new Swedish product.

Her latest endeavor is to produce a special, two person balloon which sits on “legs” (instead of a basket) for special needs, wounded warriors, other-abled, and educational purposes known as the Dream Catcher Balloon Program. This non-profit corporation will fill the skies and bring joy to those in wheelchairs, held down to earth by physical or mental conditions, and educate the world that we can all help those around us rise to greater heights.

Stay tuned for upcoming interesting and informative SJPA programs!




About Darryl Swenson

I am a private pilot and amateur photographer. I live in Friday Harbor, Washington. My airplane is a Flight Design CTLS and I keep it in a hangar in Friday Harbor. My flying has taken me up and down the West Coast USA. I am enchanted by the islands and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and the allure of deserts and mountains of the Southwest keep drawing me back to the Four Corners area.
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