The Wisconsin Balloon Group is made up of balloon enthusiasts that include pilots, crew, observers, and those that are just interested in balloon activities in Wisconsin.


In the beginning the primary goal was: The improvement of relations with the rural landowners whose cooperation we all depend upon.

Through time other goals of the group include:

Unity: Organizing balloon pilots, crew, observers and enthusiats to further the goals of the WBG. Socialize with other's that enjoy the sport.

Communications: To communicate important activities, stories and updates on ballooning activities in Wisconsin or WBG member experiences throughout the world.

Safety: Through the exchange of experiences and fact contribute to the continued safety record of he sport. This includes the co-sponsoring of the annual Midwest Safety Seminar.

Publicity: Generate positive attitudes towards ballooning activities.

Charter Members

To the best of our knowledge, based on the information in the Wisconsin Balloon Group inaugural issue of the newsletter and our collective memories, listed below are the Charter Members of the Wisconsin Balloon Group. If we missed someone, our apologies. Please let us know who and we will add them right away.

Dirk Bakker, Founder
Peter Asp
Gary Britton
Al Hanson
Roy Hawkins (deceased 1999)
Donald Janke
Bob Johns
David Lowe
Harold Graves
Tom Sheppard
Dawn Spaeth (Radloff)
Debbie Spaeth
Nick White

Dirk Bakker established the WBG Landowner Awards program in 1975 but formalized the Wisconsin Balloon Group with a November 1, 1979 meting of the active Wisconsin balloonists. A newsletter was established and named "The Ventline", by Tom Sheppard (according to Harold Graves). The WBG began holding social meetings on a seasonal basis, i.e. not during the main flying season.

The dues to be a part of the Landowner Awards program in 1975 were $15.00. The dues for membership, which includes the Landowner Awards Program for the Wisconsin Balloon Group are $15.00 for crew members and $20.00 for pilot members.