Founding member and current Director of the IBA.
I'm involved in Hot Air Ballooning since 1995.
I qualified as a Hot Air Balloon Pilot in 2000.
I am also a licensed helicopter pilot.
Fun Facts -
1. Probably the only pilot that is 6ft 4' tall and is afraid of heights.
2. I am a licensed radio amateur (call sign EI5HW), from which my balloons carry full aeronautical mobile privileges during flight. Call signs when airbourne are EI 2 HOT and EI 2 AIR.
3. I hold the national radio license for Hot Air Balloon airband communications in Ireland, 122.475am
Newest member of the IBA.
I have been involved in Hot Air Ballooning since 2005.
I am currently in training to obtain my Pilots Licence.
Fun Fact – I’m scared of heights! You wouldn’t see me standing on a chair however, get me in that balloon basket and I’m fine!
I have been flying all types of balloons ranging from one man 'Cloud Hoppers' to weird and wonderful Special Shapes for over 35 years. My passion for ballooning developed after my first flight and I immediately started training to become a private pilot and then on to become a commercial pilot. I now have clocked up over 2,000 hours and still enjoy every flight like it was my first.
This sport has enabled me to participate at events all over the world. Notable flights include an Irish Sea crossing from Tipperary to Wales and many winter Alpine crossings in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees centigrade at altitudes of up to 20,000ft.
My hobby became my job when I set up Irish Balloon Flights to fly passengers in Ireland. We fly a 16 passenger balloon which is currently the largest in Ireland and have some smaller balloons also for VIP exclusive flights. I have had the pleasure of training many pilots for both private and commercial licenses.
My love of flying developed at a very young age when I dreamt of flying like a bird. To try and live the dream I participated in skydiving, paragliding, Micro lighting, rotor and fixed wing flying, however, the day I took my first balloon flight was my flying dream come true. Hot Air Ballooning is fascinating and so different to any other form of flight as balloons have no engines and are carried majestically by the breeze – when you take off you don't know where you are going to land or who you will meet when you get there so this to me is the best and most enjoyable form of aviation.
Since getting my licence in 2004 I have broken 10 World Records and hold 95 Irish Records in Hot Air Ballooning. This sport has brought me all over the world participating in events in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Canada; Florida; Australia; UK; Alaska; USA, Mexico and Dubai.
I work as Operations Director for Irish Balloon Flights which has enabled me to turn my hobby into my job. Sharing the experience of flight with our passengers is very fulfilling – every flight is a first for our passengers so seeing the looks of amazement on their faces when they lift off and hearing the details of the flight over the post flight champagne celebration is wonderful. We are very lucky to have a fantastic, fun loving, professional crew who are passionate about ballooning and have become our best friends over the years.
Tom's interest in ballooning began in June 1968 when he saw the first hot air balloon to fly in Ireland at the Rothmans Air Rally in Ballyfree, Co. Wicklow.
He has been flying balloons for almost forty years and had his first instruction flight in November 1977. He made his first solo flight eighteen months later in EI-BBM, a balloon owned by the Dublin Ballooning Club. He holds a UK Commercial Balloon Pilot's licence.
Tom has flown sponsored balloons for various companies including the "Club Orange Can" for Cantrell & Cochrane" and regular shaped balloons for Beamish & Crawford "Carling Black Label", Eircom and Travel Department.