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Asheville Balloon Company

About Us

Asheville Balloon Company, I Love to Fly LLC is owned and operated by Tom Mackie. Tom has been a pilot since 1980 and has accumulated vast experience in aviation. He is an FAA-certified commercial balloon pilot.

When Tom is not giving balloon rides, he works as a Boeing 767 Captain for a major airline. Tom has been a Certified Flight Instructor in airplanes for over 30 years and is licensed to teach Instrument flying, multi-engine, and gliders. Tom is also licensed to fly helicopters.

“Flying has always been a part of my life”. Tom started out flying in high school and went on to be a career Airline Pilot. After flying as a Flight Instructor through college, Tom flew freight for a cargo operator in Texas. Then, later as a commuter airline pilot, where he was a captain on various turboprop aircraft for over 7 years. In 1996, Tom became a pilot for a major airline and has been flying international routes since then.

Tom says, “People who know me, know that I love to fly. I am just as comfortable off the ground as I am on the ground. I’ve always had a fascination with flying. My job as an international commercial pilot is a big part of my flying experience. I view ballooning as the fine art of flying and I love to attend balloon rallies and have gas ballooning experiences.”

Tom made his first balloon flight in Hammond Louisiana back in 1987 and has ever since been attracted to the adventure of ballooning. As well as a Hot Air Balloon Pilot, Tom has become rated as a Gas Balloon Pilot after training in Germany with one of the world’s most famous gas balloonists, Wilheim Eimers.