Mazu to Join This Year's Hot Air Balloon Festival 東縣促民間與西班牙合作 設熱氣球飛行學校

C. Chuang
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The Taitung County Government is currently working to help Skyrainbow Airlines and a Spanish aviation school jointly establish a balloon flight school in Taitung.

The Taitung County Government recently announced that a Mazu hot air balloon will be part of this year's Taiwan International Balloon Festival. It was made in Spain, and the county government and sponsor Taitung Tianhou Temple have sent personnel to test drive the balloon. The Mazu balloon is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan in April, where it will be taken for a test flight by local pilots. All of Taiwan's hot air balloon pilots learned how to fly overseas, which is extremely expensive, because there are no schools for hot air balloon pilots in Asia. This is why the Taitung County Government is currently working to help Skyrainbow Airlines, which offers balloon flights in Taiwan, and a Spanish aviation school to jointly establish a balloon flight school in Taitung. They have already signed a memorandum of understanding and an application will be submitted to the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The school will be able to license hot air balloon pilots.

Li Jung-ling, Hot Air Balloon Pilot: “People will be able to save a lot of time and money, and it will make the process of getting licensed much easier. To go overseas, you have to take English proficiency tests.”

Liu Chi-peng, Section Director, Tourism Dept., Taitung County: “The county government is promoting the hot air balloon industry, and pilot training is the last piece of the puzzle.”

Skyrainbow Airlines said related regulations for hot air balloon piloting are being formulated under domestic civil aviation laws. The establishment regulations of foreign schools will be used as a reference and the issue will be discussed with the CAA. The future school will recruit students from all over Asia, as it will be Asia's first hot air balloon flying school.