First of all, Kapadokya (Cappadocia)
is not a town or state.
The term refers to a region of the Central Anatolian Plateau area of
Turkey, that is world famous for its geological formations known
as "fairy chimneys". It is also known for its underground cities.
To give you an idea of where I was,
I've labeled this map of Turkey
Click the image to enlarge it
The area is so popular with tourists that there are about 8
different balloon companies, each with several balloons that
carry anywhere from 10 to 35 people at a time. All told, the
balloon industry in Kapadokya can carry more than 500 people per
The company I worked for had two balloons. One could carry 24
the other 20. For those that know balloons, we had a Cameron
A-400 (400,000 cu. ft.)
Cameron Z-315 (315,000 cu. ft.)
The 35 passenger balloons of the other companies were
significantly larger than 500,000 cu. ft.!
Those are large balloons!
You may ask (and maybe not, but I'm going to tell you anyway)
how I came to fly balloons in Turkey of all places. Well, it all
started right after I got my commercial balloon pilots license.
I was looking for a way to continue to make a living flying
balloons in the winter months, when I'm not flying in Teton
I saw an ad on the internet for pilots wanted in Turkey. I did a
little investigation into where and what and from the photos I
saw, I thought it looked like a very cool place to fly, so I
looked into it a little more.
At that time, the ad stated that the minimum requirement was for
the pilot to have at least 300 hours.
Since then I had looked forward to the day that I had enough
hours to qualify.
Towards the end of our season in Teton Valley, Joanne and I were
talking about our options for the winter. Although I had
mentioned to her when we first met, that I could pretty much go
anywhere in the winter and had told her of my dream of someday
flying Turkey, it was one of those "someday" things that you
never really think is going to happen. Like I said, Joanne and I
were discussing our options, so naturally the subject of exotic
places to fly (like Turkey and Australia)
I went to show her the old pilots wanted ad. That is when I noticed that
there was a brand new ad for pilots wanted in Turkey so I responded.
A few emails, lots of waiting and some cash made it happen.
The most difficult part was the 6 weeks of waiting to hear if my application for
work visa had been approved (so I could board a plane a few days later)
or whether my hopes and dreams had been dashed.