Meet the team

Meet Our Commercial Hot Air Balloon Flight Pilots

All of our pilots are extremely experienced. They are all fully qualified commercial pilots who operate under the similar strict codes of conduct and regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that commercial airline pilots are governed by. To become a commercial pilot, they have to first fly and take written and practical exams to obtain a private pilot's licence (PPL) then after lots of flying experience and studying take much harder written and practical exams to obtain their commercial licence. Every year they have to pass a practical flying examination under a CAA approved examiner and also have a regular class 2 medical. All of our pilots, as you can see from their very brief (and modest) CVs have a great passion for ballooning that has coloured their lives.


Clive Bailey

Clive was born into an aviation family; his father was a flight test engineer with British Aerospace and later Sales Engineering Director for Concorde.

Building model aircrafts from the age of 6, Clive obtained his gliders licence at 18. After full-time education he decided to go down instead of up and trained as a commercial diver. At nineteen worked in the Middle East for several years on oil rigs and then spent a further 3 years in the North Sea, specialising in life support systems.

At 26 he joined the motor trade as a General Manager for a Ford Dealership, obtaining his hot air balloon licence at 29 and operating the Ford Dealership Balloon.

Clive set up Bailey Balloons in 1994 with his wife Jo, also a Commercial balloon pilot, one of four women in the U.K. to fly the larger balloons, and both are qualified instructors. Clive proposed to Jo at 8,000 feet over Bath and they left their wedding by balloon.

Clive has flown balloons all over Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Africa. He is the first European to fly balloons in Iran where he also trained their first balloon pilots. Clive holds the altitude record from the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta when he flew his balloon up to 22,5000 in 1994. Jo accompanied Clive as his co-pilot.

Clive also loves planning and executing ballooning stunts, including Flying stuntman and balloon pilot Ian Ashpole on top of the Discovery Channel balloon, flying two balloons attached together by a tight rope and having fellow pilot Mike Howard walk between the balloons blindfolded at 3,500 feet.

  • First flight in a balloon in 1987
  • Commercial Licence obtained in 1992 and instructor rating in 1997
  • Weather advisor for Western Region Balloon Club
  • Huge experience of filming and working with T.V. crews
  • Appointed chairman of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta for 2000
  • Director for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
  • Clive has been the logistics and flight director for David Hempleman-Adams's many record-breaking balloon flights and Gas Balloon flights, from the flight the North Pole in 2000 and recently winning the America's Cup Gas Balloon Race in the US
  • Twice awarded cups presented by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh
  • Qualified sky diver
  • Life support systems expert
  • Experience of long distance balloon flights and flying at altitude

Jo Bailey

There are only a few female commercial balloon pilots and Jo is one of them. Clive taught her to fly before they were married. Jo has flown in different countries around the world including Bulgaria, Poland, Qatar, Switzerland, France, and Italy. Her expertise is with special projects, clients and the media. With her attention to detail and innovative ideas she will always ensure that the project is successful. 

Jo has built an impressive portfolio of media contacts since her and Clive began Bailey Balloons and Jo is always heavily involved with media and press relations for all of the stunts.

Jo's most memorable flights are being proposed to in a balloon at 8,000 feet over Bath and flying from Thornbury Castle on her and Clive's wedding day. One of Jo's most memorable landings was in a huge field of tomato plants in Bulgaria with Phil Dunnington with all the local villagers coming out and helping us pack the balloon away!

She was the stunt woman flying a one person hopper balloon in Canada filming for the Land Rover Freelander Advert. Watch it here


The Office Team


Kristyn MacDremott

Kristyn is our Office manager and she ensures that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. She has extensive knowledge of running offices and local businesses in the leisure industry. 

Kristyn comes from California and was brought up in Devon, then moved to Bristol with her family. She loves spending time with her son, enjoys travelling and skiing and has become a passionate balloonist. 

Nikki Buckner

Nikki is the bright spark of the office with a First Class degree in Pharmacology and is currently studying for a Masters in Biomedical Science. She enjoys playing classical guitar, keeping fit and walking. She has developed a love of ballooning and when not in the skies herself loves watching the balloons drift overhead.

Georgie Killlingbeck

Georgie also comes from Devon and is the sporty one of the office! She has a Geography degree and is studying to become a teacher. She is a very keen hockey player and plays at high levels, she enjoys horse riding, sailing, squash and athletics. Georgie has participated in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Marathon (125 miles competitive kayaking in a K2) and also enjoys travelling and cycles to work every day even in the rain!


Meet Our Other Balloon Pilots...


Simon Askey

Simon Askey (33) successfully gained his commercial pilots licence in 1996. Simon is now one of the most experienced hot-air balloon pilots in the UK. Specialising in flying passengers for Bailey Balloons in the South West.

He has been the pilot for some amazing stunts such as flying a 2.5t working Range Rover car underneath one of the largest balloons in the country for Channel 4's Monster Garage.

Simon was even one of the test pilots for BBC2's "Build the Impossible", where a replica 200-year-old Chinese airship design was made and flown.

Simon has also flown balloons for clients all around the world from Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia to USA and Europe.

You think you have seen him before? You probably have!

His other appearances have included Blue Peter, Record Breakers, BBC & ITV News and advertising sequences for various companies including mobile phone giants in South America - Telcel. He also flew a balloon for a 1996 film in Mexico, starring Lauren Bacall.

But one place you have most likely seen Simon's work is the Bond film "The World Is Not Enough" - Simon was responsible for the multi-coloured balloon involved in the opening action sequence by the millennium Dome with Pierce Brosnon and his stunt team.

Simon lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and son and is a property developer.

Phil Dunnington, BA

Phil Dunnington, one of the World's most widely experienced commercial balloon pilots who in the course of extending ballooning projects has flown in 89 countries to date with over 2000 hours as pilot in command.

Evolving from a career in airline and aircraft manufacturing management, Phil, who has been flying balloons commercially since 1971, has helped establish tourist and promotional balloon operations in Europe, Africa, South and Central America and South-East Asia. He also set up his own balloon rides business in the English Lake District and Ireland, operating successfully for 12 years.

A Geography graduate specialising in air transport economics, Phil has been the UK's chief examiner for balloon licences for over 15 years, deeply involved in formulating the technical and legislative framework of ballooning in the UK and overseas in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority and other administrative bodies. He is a director of Europe's largest annual public balloon spectacle, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, and has run similar events in Ireland, South America, India and the Middle East.

In conjunction with British adventurer David Hempleman-Adams, Phil sets up select tailor-made group expeditions to the Earth's remotest corners, ranging from Arctic Canada to Mongolia. David and Phil made a historic 'first' by crossing the North West Passage in Nunavut, Canada, in 1999.

Nick Duppa-Miller

Nick was born with ballooning in his blood as all his immediate family are qualified pilots. He passed his pilot's exams a few days after his 17th birthday and he could fly a balloon before he could drive a car. He has been commercially qualified for over ten years and during this time he's flown numerous special-shape balloons including cans, vans and a chicken.

As one of only two pilots of the BBC1 balloon he's had more TV airtime than many presenters. Some of his most memorable flights include those over the Chateaux of the Loire Valley and the Taj Mahal in Agra. 

Having 'retired' from globe-trotting Nick lives in Portishead and has been flying for Bailey Balloons since 2002. Now aged 32, he's spent over a month of his life flying balloons!

Ian Martin

Ian has been involved in Ballooning since 1987 and has made well over 1000 balloon flights in over 100 different balloons including many of the worlds unusual special shaped balloons such as the Scottish Piper, Jaguar XK8 Car, The Stowells Winebox and Sonic the Hedgehog to name but a few. He has also flown in many different countries and has spent his last 6 winters flying in Bagan in Myanmar, South East Asia.

Ian also serves on the Flying Committee of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and is the local Landowner Relations Officer and works to ensure a good working relationship with the many Landowners and Farmers in the areas that we fly. Ian is also involved in construction and has a passion for sport, rugby being at the top of the list.

He always likes to bring the fun of flying to the fore and ensures all the passengers have a great time and experience when they fly with him ensuring they will remember the adventure of ballooning.

Mike Petteford

Mike has been flying for over 20 years but he has grown up with ballooning as his father, who taught him to fly, was a hot air balloon pilot.

He has flown around 2000 times in that time and has been lucky enough to have flown passengers all over the UK as well as the Maasai Mara in Kenya, over the Temples of Bagan in Myanmar, the deserts of Central Australia around Alice Springs and Far North Queensland by the Great Barrier Reef for 6 years.

Mike holds a commercial hot air balloon license in 4 separate countries and will be spending the winter piloting in Myanmar again. 

He also piloted a balloon in the world record breaking crossing of the English Channel in 2011.

Pilot Pete Dalby

Pete Dalby

Pete has been flying balloons for 30 years. He has more than 2000 hours flying experience in balloons of all shapes and sizes. He's a ballooning instructor and examiner and last year made the maiden flight in a Solar powered balloon at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.