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Mon, Jan 24, 2005

Balloon Federation Of America: Digging Out, Rising Higher

Message From The President

(At the beginning of the year, as is our custom, ANN published a number of stories where alphabet groups (AOPA, EAA, etc.) looked back on the year that was and ahead to the year at hand. In the process of doing so, we got word that, in perusing the usual suspects, we might have overlooked some of the smaller -- but no less important -- groups. Take, for instance, the Balloon Federation of America. Without further ado, then, here is a message from BFA President Philip Bryant. If your aviation or aerospace group needs to get the word out, ANN makes the perfect venue for mass distribution. Please get in touch with us to find out how you, too, can spread the good news about your organization. Drop us a line at editor@aero-news.net . We'll be in touch! -- ed.)

By Philip Bryant, President, Balloon Federation of America

The BFA has had the task of digging itself out of a very difficult period. when a few years ago a number of our competitive balloon pilots decided to branch off and form their own balloon organization.

This action was very destructive to the balloon community, but we have survived it and are today having discussions with this same group on forming some type of alliance. So the sport is on the mend again.

As with many of the sports that depend on disposable income to participate, ballooning is no exception. Our membership numbers have been declining. We have seen some up-ticks in the membership which is encouraging but we do not see a significant change either way in the near future. The task is to become more productive and efficient with what we have and we are succeeding at this.

We performed an internal analysis of our organization two years ago and are still in the process of implementing these recommended changes. We continue to produce a successful National Championship as the BFA is the organization sanctioned and recognized by the NAA as the official ballooning organization for all US pilots.

Our balloon publication continues to be world class. It is the favored magazine of all balloonists and I am sure counts for the majority of members today. We have created a very strong Junior Balloonists organization during this past year as we believe our future pilots and membership needs to be grown and cultured for the sake of the sport and a brighter future. 

Our strength depends on volunteers and champions who step up to the plate and hit home runs for us. There are a number of very dedicated and hard working volunteers that without we would not be able to provide the number of services and programs that we do. 

FMI: www.bfa.net

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