PILOT, BALLOONS, AND MASCOT
Mark Miller, the owner and pilot for Star Ballooning, fell in love with the sport at age 12 while helping his uncle fly hot air balloons in Bridgewater, Virginia. He got his student license in 2001 but it wasn't until 2013 that Mark finished his training to become a commercial hot air balloon pilot. Mark and his wife currently live in DC, but they regularly make the trek back to Mark's hometown in Virginia to fly.
Shenandoah is our largest balloon, able to carry up to six passengers. The name, Shenandoah, is derived from an Algonquian word meaning "beautiful daughter of the stars." We love where we fly in the Shenandoah Valley and the connection this name has on multiple levels!!
Theia is the goddess of clear blue skies - very fitting for this sport that we love! Originally from Connecticut, this balloon is one size bigger than Sirius, allowing us to fly more easily in the hot summer months.
Sirius is the brightest star in the Earth's night sky. Sirius is also well known as the Dog Star, because it is the chief star in the constellation Canis Major, the Big Dog. Have you ever heard anyone speak of the dog days of summer? Sirius is behind the sun as seen from Earth in Northern Hemisphere summer. In late summer, it appears in the east before sunrise – near the sun in our sky. The early stargazers might have imagined that the double-whammy of Sirius and the sun caused the hot weather, or dog days.
Around the same time that we got this balloon, our beloved dog, Geoffrey, went missing for 4.5 months -- May through September of 2016. Those were tough times, but we're very lucky to have Geoffrey back home now.
For all these reasons, it seemed only fitting to name this balloon Sirius!
Geoffrey the Balloon Dog
Geoffrey is a 7yr old Welsh Terrier that loves to come along on our ballooning adventures. He's a little bit of a chicken when it comes to loud noises so he hasn't flown in the balloon yet, but he still enjoys riding along in the chase vehicle and watching his dad fly. His favourite part is at the end of the flight when he can show off his tricks for some treats while the humans drink their champagne.