We have over 10,000 flying hours of flying experience and comprise of World Record holders and past members of the British Team. Your enjoyment and safety is of paramount importance to us all at Atmosphere.
GILES HALL – Our chief pilot who has been flying for many years. His mother Lady Gwen Bellew, was instrumental in the introduction of modern Hot Air Ballooning into the UK in 1967. Over the years Giles has been chosen to fly members of the Royal Family and many interesting people such as Neil Armstrong, after he had landed on the moon. Giles has made many films for television including ‘Diving Over the Desert,’ several other expeditions and has flown all over the world. He has taught hundreds of people to fly and continues to do so. He has developed many safety features which are now in use internationally.
MARK SHEMILT – Mark is one of the finest and most experienced hot air balloon pilots who achieved his Commercial Licence in 1991 and has more than 3,500 flying hours under his belt. He holds three British ballooning records for distance, plus the world record for duration in the small AX-02 balloon category from when he flew solo 7h 26min 56s from Morzine in France in 2009. Mark has flown across the Channel and in Canada, Switzerland, France, Sri Lanka and Barbados to name a few.
Jonathan Greatrix – An entrepreneur with a strong track record including numerous prestigious business awards from KMPG, RBS and Arthur Anderson, the latter being presented by HRH Prince of Wales at St. James’s Palace.
He has had a passion for aviation, including ballooning, from a young age. He has flown fixed wing aircraft over the Hampshire and Wiltshire landscape and out of Dallas Fort Worth airport USA, to which his instructor said in a strong Texan accent, “if you can fly out of here son, you can fly out of anywhere.” Having achieved his Private Pilots Licence for balloons, Jonathan is about to complete his Commercial Licence and is looking forward to building many hundreds of flying hours. As well as flying in the UK and Italy this year, he eagerly awaits flying at the balloon festivals in Metz, France and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jonathan particularly enjoys the very early morning starts, watching the sun rise and the world awaken. He is driven, extremely hard working and strives for perfection and customer satisfaction.
Alex Harvey – Alex is a balloon pilot and technical specialist who has been with Atmosphere since qualifying as a pilot. In the past, he's worked for multi-national companies in Sales and Management. Currently he is upgrading his Pilots' Licence. He loves the excitement of flying, and thoroughly enjoys travelling and working internationally, despite frequent complaints from his cat who misses him while he is away.
Hugo Hall – I am one of only a few third generation pilots flying today. I’m lucky to have flown with some of the pioneers of modern ballooning like Don Picard, who produced the first hot air balloons imported from the USA to the UK. I first flew aged four with my father and have taken part in many memorable flights such as dropping parachutists making TV films and some great advertisements for organisations like the RAF. I have recently returned from flying in the Yara Valley, Melbourne and at Alice Springs. With a love of all things ballooning, I’m excited to be part of the Atmosphere balloons team.
Guy Dare – With 20 years’ experience as a pilot, Guy was one of the youngest pilots ever to have held a flying licence. He would watch Giles inflate his balloon and take off, following it on his push bike along the lanes until the balloon landed. Consequently, he covered many hundreds of miles. He began to ride in the balloon and became determined to learn to fly. Giles tutored him and Guy subsequently gained his Commercial Flying Licence and has accompanied Giles on many events both nationally and internationally, as well as flying in competitions in the UK and abroad. He enjoys flying in the Alps when time allows and we are very happy to have such a charming and exceptional pilot on the team.