In 2021 Jessica purchased her first hot air balloon, which she renamed Kaleidoscope, and began Eagle Wing Ballooning.
She took the name for her business from Isaiah 40:31, in the Bible, which says, "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Kaleidoscope was chosen as it brings to mind the beautiful colors of the childhood toy, as well as the childlike enthusiasm she, and many others, feel when watching these eye-catching aircraft.
OWNER AND PILOT
Jessica grew up in the Cedar Rapids area which, at that time, had several balloon pilots. She frequently remembers watching them fly. Her first ride was in 2007 in Belgium. In spite of a rough landing she was hooked. Moving to Pella in 2011 allowed her to attend the National Balloon Classic. In 2014 she decided to jump in and help crew during the Classic, where she met Joel. With an offhand comment about wanting to learn to fly a balloon her training began. In 2019 she completed her private pilot's license and began work on her commercial license. She is looking forward to introducing more people to the amazing freedom of flight in a balloon.
Joel is a native of Newton, Iowa. His love of flying began when he and his Dad went on an airplane ride when he was 5 years old. At the age of 20 he earned his fixed-wing pilot license and later, he and a good friend built an experimental airplane. Joel says he started in ballooning ”like most bad habits, a free sample from a friend”. Joel, his wife Karen and daughter Adena crewed for a local Indianola pilot during the 1998 National Balloon Classic. In 2003, Joel and Karen purchased their first used hot air balloon and Joel went on to earn his commercial license in 2004. Since then Joel has accrued over 800 hours of flight time as pilot in command of a hot air balloon. Joel is passionate about flying hot air balloons and loves sharing the experience with others.
Curtis grew up in Pella and was delighted to move back in 2011. For anybody playing Dutch Bingo, his parents are Jaren and Cathy. After his wife, Jessica, began crewing for Joel it didn't take him long to become involved too. He has been crewing for Joel since 2015 and has received much of the same ground training as his wife. During the last several years he took on a leadership role within the crew and does an excellent job of directing the crew, as well as navigating with the truck and trailer. He is also training his 3 kids to be good crew members!