Meet Your Pilot
Your chief pilot,
Scott Nicol, is also the owner of
Roping The Wind Hot Air Balloon Company. Scott has been flying balloons
since 1991 and has acquired over 2000 hours of flight time in balloons.
He learned how to fly balloons in the Chandler, Arizona area, an area
considered to be 'populated' by balloonists standards. This gave Scott
the ability to truly learn how to maneuver balloons to 'postage stamp'
size landing spots in the urban area. Soon, after gaining his private
pilot certificate, Scott started experimenting with the local wind
patterns of the far east valley... primarily Apache Junction and then
Queen Creek. The Superstition Mountains have always intrigued
Scott and he has explored the mountains by foot and has hiked many
miles of trails in the Superstition Wilderness. So, it was fitting that
he wanted to fly balloons near this legendary and mysterious mountain
Over the next few years of
his early flying days, Scott began
doing what he calls 'adventure flights'. Scott loves the state of
Arizona and the many scenic and beautiful locations around the state.
Unfortunately, many would consider these areas to be challenging for
balloon flight due to limited options for landing sites and few roads.
But, that is why he calls it 'adventure' flying! Scott has flown in
many remote locations around Arizona as well as several of the small
towns in the northern Arizona mountain locations as well as on the
deserts of the southwestern part of the state. Scott has logged many
hours of flight time along the Mogollon Rim in east central Arizona...
having logged flights from Payson to as far east as Springerville. He
has seen much of the Mogollon Rim from the basket of a hot air balloon.
In addition to flying over mountain peaks and the small
valleys in-between, Scott has also made several long distance flights
balloons around Arizona. His longest was a flight from Queen Creek to the Altar Valley (north of Sasabe,
AZ) on December 28,
2003. A flight of nearly 100 miles. Each year Scott tries
to make a few flights to further his personal ballooning records.
is another aspect
of ballooning that Scott enjoys. Having
competed all his life in other sports, he is a natural born competitor.
So, when he found out about competitive ballooning contests, he jumped
right in! Scott is one of only a few Arizona
pilots that has been ranked in the National Ranking System. He ranked
high in the now defunct NABA (North American Balloon Assocation)
national rankings for 4 years straight,
reaching as high as 20th in year end standings (and as high as 8th at
one point in the season).
He has also been a qualifier
to the NABA
national championships, having competed in the 2002 NABA National
Championships in Waco, Texas. Scott is a member of Top Gun, a NABA
sanctioned competition club in New Mexico. He placed in the top 10 in
year end rankings in 2002 and 2003. He was named the 2002 Top Gun
Rookie of the Year. Few pilots are dedicated
competition balloonist. Those who are, tend to be more skilled in
their profession. Competition requires a pilot to 'steer' a balloon to
a set number of targets displayed on the ground. A balloon cannot be
steered, so a pilot must find a launch site and wind direction that
will provide the necessary means to get to a target. A competition
pilot has a keen sense of the limitations of his balloon system
and tends to 'see'
very slight changes in the wind that others often times cannot
In 1996, Scott acquired his
commercial pilot certificate and after
logging several hundred hours of flight time, went on to establish his
balloon company.... Roping The Wind Hot Air Balloon Company. Scott has
always enjoyed introducing new faces to the sport and allowing others
to experience this unique form of flight with him. He named his company
after his first balloon "Roping The Wind". (this was also a quote out
of an old Chris Ledoux song!). He also felt the name fit the western
that his company portrays. Scott has always been a fan of the western
lifestyle and enjoys listening to old cowboy and western songs and
reading of the history of the old west.
Today, almost two decades later,
Scott continues to introduce new people
to the sport of ballooning through his company. He has flown hundreds
happy passengers. When your pilot truly enjoys what he does and is
enjoying every minute of the flight with you, you can be assured the
best possible flight available! Scott is often times the last balloon
in the air during balloon rallies and festivals! He is usually the one
that can be seen 'way up there' or 'way out there'! In addition to
running the company, Scott continues to find time to gather his
Adventure Flight Team (a dedicated group of friends and family)
and head out for more challenging flying locations and continues to
hone his skills through competitive flying events.
Give Roping The Wind Hot Air
Balloon Company a call and climb aboard
with your Captain... Scott Nicol, on the adventure of a lifetime!