Jo Bailey was a stunt balloon pilot in a one person balloon known as a cloud hopper in the Land Rover advert for the Freelander 2 for Land Rover. She spent two weeks in Canada. Jo even got to see a brown bear!
Just under 5 years ago I filmed for the Land Rover advert where they used a
cloud hopper balloon. A ballooning colleague rang me to say Land Rover
wanted to do an advert with a female hopper pilot and I said ” I will do it”
which, I felt was quite brave and quite ambitious to say the least!
Especially as they wanted someone to fly over the mountains alone in Canada in a tiny one-person balloon. I think the name Cloud Hopper is so magical and conquers up just what it is like. Basically I am strapped into this
harness with the balloon and burners above my head and the gas tank strapped to my back.
When I take off I always feel a bit nervous- adrenaline is flowing! But then as I start to fly higher the magic takes over- the feeling of freedom is amazing and you can fly with such control that on a very still day I can put my feet though the tops of trees -I just love it when it is like that!
The Story behind the ad is that a woman takes off in her cloud hopper
balloon and her boyfriend follows her in his Land Rover from the city to the
wilds of the mountains. It took nearly 2 weeks to film a 1 minute advert! I
flew to Canada and surprised myself with what I achieved. I really, really
loved it, The first part was filmed in Vancouver where I had to tether the
top on a high multi story car park at night dressed in shorts and a thin top
which you wouldn’t normally wear whilst in a cloud hopper and it was so cold
the costume dept found me a waist band with heated pads to wear around my
We were up filming all night for 2 nights in a row and combined with
the jet lag I had no idea what time it was! Then the whole film crew about
70 people drove 7 hours north into the mountains and we stayed in a place
called Gang Ranch- well it was like going back in time with real cow boys
and cow girls- I said to one of them please would you rescue me if I land in
one of the inaccessible gorges and she said even her horse couldn’t get down
most of them!
We were also in bear country, which all added to the
excitement but actually the flying over mountains was brilliant and I loved
it with only a few scary moments!