Local students meet balloon pilots one-on-one

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For balloon pilot Tom Kious, a big part of Balloon Fiesta is getting the chance to meet complete strangers and introduce them to the world of ballooning. When those strangers are elementary age, the chance to educate reaches a whole different level.

Kious and his crew were on hand at Dennis Chavez Elementary on Friday morning for the ABQ Aloft event. It’s an annual tradition before the kickoff to Balloon Fiesta where pilots inflate their balloons for school kids.

Nearly 70 schools in the metro area, including Rio Rancho, participate every year.

Despite not being able to lift off from the school’s field because of wind conditions, Kious said it wasn’t a problem because they were able to have more time and show off the balloon to students. This also included answering questions about flying or warming the audience in attendance by lighting up the burners.