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Comment by Garry Guertin, pilot/owner of a Stumpf lightweight 54k over an Aerostar Aurora lower end:

"My crew loves the envelope weight!"  (pictured:  Erik Albrycht)





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 design–and every worst.  His balloons draw on this experience and also inspire the part we all fell in love with–the 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. 

There is no one better to partner with in your efforts to build a hot air balloon than Paul Stumpf. I would do it all again in an instant!


Morgan Calderini,  Lady Fingers Letterpress 




From XLTA 2011 review, by veteran fixed wing/hot air balloon/cloudhopper pilot and Balloonmeister,  David Tanzer:

"Paul Stumpf and a fellow pilot/customer, flew the balloon Paul recently completed.  It's an elegantly simple, two place, side by side "tank rider," under a lightweight envelope constructed of 1.3oz. silicone coated fabric.  The design and construction was typically Stumpf - in a word, beautiful. The bottom end slid right into the back of a Honda Element, and comes out fully assembled.  Setup and inflation was as quick and easy as it gets, and the envelope was very pretty.  If you want to simplify your ballooning life, you should talk to Paul."









 Review, by veteran commercial hot air balloon pilot and Balloonmeister,  Rick Pollack:

In 2009 I retired from 24 years of ballooning. The size, weight of equipment together with the   numbers of folks needed to help crew and then the cost of propane all contributed to my decision to retire.


A fortuitous meeting with an old friend at Paul Stumpf’s balloon loft precipitated a change. There on the floor was a tiny envelope that peaked my curiosity. Paul said that was his new one place hopper envelope. I picked it up effortlessly. Next to his envelope was the bottom end. I had never seen a balloon that compact. I had only one concern. I liked to fly with a passenger. Paul said no problem I have a 2-place chariot.


Three years later with my 2011 Hopper Duo (pictured at left), I am pleased to say the pure fun is back in ballooning. I can set up and fly with a one-person crew. My two-place envelope weighs only 90 lbs. The fuel makes up the majority of the lower end weight. The balloon fly's like a dream and is very efficient on fuel. I can fit the entire system including inflation fan in my Honda Element using a small rear rack, and still carry four people as well!


If you aren’t ready to “retire” from ballooning I would strongly encourage you to check these great systems out.


Rick Pollack,  Shelburne, Vermont



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 Paul’s 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 couldn’t 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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