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Stumpf lightweight balloons - Testimonials





Testimonial by Entrepreneur, hot air balloon builder and student pilot Morgan Calderini of Providence, RI:

It is a pleasure and delight to share with all potential balloon builders my experience working with Stumpf Balloons.  As a college student, I knew I wanted to learn to pilot a hot air balloon.  After a year of research which included interviewing pilots, scouring libraries and the internet I quickly learned that the costs associated with learning to fly would be my biggest obstacle.  In addition to working with and paying a pilot for lessons, I'd have to rent their balloon and pay for a myriad of other fees.  Knowing I was fully committed to this pursuit and that I wanted to continue flying after my license was completed, it seemed that purchasing or building my own balloon would be a wonderful investment.  I had considered purchasing plans and working from them myself to build a balloon, but this seemed like it would take forever.  I wanted to enjoy the process it took to learn to fly and build my balloon and knew it would take a special mentor to help me achieve my goals.

My previous attempts at enlisting help was unfruitful; many accomplished pilots read me as a tire-kicker and did not take me seriously.  Not Paul; he listened to my goals and worked with me to devise a plan of action.  I visited the Vermont Balloon Loft in the fall and met Paul in person.  I was introduced to the sewing machine and took it for a test drive to be sure I was up for the many hours I would be potentially be spending in that seat. And so began my adventure in building my own hot air balloon.  Paul provided an accurate estimate for the project as well as a timeline.  

I spent the month of January working in the Balloon Loft guided by Paul through the process of building a balloon.  It was a once in a life time experience.  The knowledge that Paul shared with me and his patient nature made what might have been a stressful experience one of the most enjoyable months of my life. As a pilot, I find great comfort in knowing how the balloon is constructed.  Every knot, stitch and load tape was inspected by Paul and put together with my own two hands - for me this is invaluable.  Safety is at the forefront of the balloon building process when working with Stumpf Balloons.  

Paul has been building and repairing balloons since he was in college.  He has seen it all; every brand, every best designĖand every worst.  His balloons draw on this experience and also inspire the part we all fell in love withĖthe flying.  Getting in the sky and ease of use are two things that Paul taught me early on that continue to be guiding principles in my piloting career. 



Testimonial by hot air balloon builder and pilot Larry Nelson, of Guilford, CT:

Paul led me through the balloon building process from start to finish.  He first sat me down and shared some proven designs and then using that as a starting point we developed a customized balloon with the look and performance I wanted.



By using Paulís shop, I was able to start my project right away and put what money I had toward the purchase of fabric instead of sewing machines and cutting tables.  As I built the balloon Paul helped me through the process of cutting panels and then sewing the panels into gores and then sewing those gores together until I had an envelope.  





Due to my busy schedule, the  whole project took a number of months, but Paul was patient and let me work on the balloon when we could all fit it into our schedules.  The first time we cold-inflated the envelope in his shop, I couldnít believe how much we had accomplished.  Throughout, Paul was always available to help give a second opinion on the quality of a seam or help me back out of a sewing problem I managed to get tangled into.  Along the way he shared a lot of great tips on balloon construction. 



For anyone who doesnít want to make the initial investment in sewing machines and cutting tables, or wants the added security of having a seasoned balloon builder monitoring the quality of their work and help them through the process, I would highly recommend the assisted build program.  For me Paulís program made the difference between talking about building my own ultralight balloon and actually flying it.





Testimonial by hot air balloon builder and pilot Jim Mueller, of Washington, DC:

In late 2007 I decided I would finally move forward on my goal to build my first hot air balloon.  Building the balloon was one of the items on my bucket list and I thought it would make me a better pilot.  I researched as much as I could about how balloons are constructed.


When I discovered Paulís website I decided to give him a call.  We spoke a few times on the phone, and based on his advice and explanations of the work involved, I decided to go for it.


As you can imagine, I was very nervous about the sewing, and being a junior private pilot I also did not want to appear "in over my head".


In the first meeting Paul gave me an overview of all the steps involved, approximate timelines, along with the choices I needed to make in terms of the design and size.  He also explained the trade-offs in going with one design or another.



Once the design was finalized, we cut the panels, and then I received a sewing lesson.  I was nervous about running the sewing machine, but I did eventully get the hang of it.  I have to admit I actually enjoyed the sewing part much more than I thought I would.  My day job entails working at a computer all day and I found the sewing to actually be relaxing.










In a little over three weeks the bulk of the building effort was complete and we did our first inflation.  Once it was inflated I felt like I was smiling from ear to ear.  I couldnít believe the accomplishment.

I highly recommend working with Paul if you want to build your own balloon.  My experience working with him was wonderful!  In fact, I want to build a second balloon with his guidance.






If you would like to purchase, or obtain more information about equipment for sale on this page please contact:

Paul S. Stumpf  (802) 875-1600

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STUMPF BALLOONS   2926 Weston-Andover Rd. Andover, VT 05143

Phone: (802) 875-1600 e-mail

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