Pilot Josh Goll and “Star Stepper” are among the 50 hot air balloons and pilots that came to the 2018 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. Even though they loaded up and made the trip with his family, the Festival was cancelled due to flooding. We’d like to show you his beautiful balloon and share his story.
Let’s reflect back to to 2017 and his first time on the Festival field as a pilot. It is quiet on a Sunday morning. The air is still, and the only sound is the intermittent hiss of a propane burner. The number 16 balloon, Star Stepper, glides southwest over the launch field toward a target spray painted on the grass. The pilot, Josh Goll, gets within feet of the giant red X marking the spot. He tosses a bean bag at the target, and the watching crowd break the silence to cheer his win. Goll expertly piloted his balloon so close to the target at the Festival Fly-In Competition that a spectator might forget the breeze is in control of its direction.
That was Goll’s first year to pilot a balloon at the Plano festival, but he has been around ballooning his entire life. Goll started flying three years ago and received his pilot’s license in January 2016. He first attended the festival in 2010 as crew for a pilot from Longview, who his family had been helping for about 15 years. Goll joined in at age 11 and his passion for the sport ignited.
Pilot Josh Goll & Star Stepper featured on the blog:https://www.planoballoonfest.org/blog/index.php/pilot-josh-goll-and-star-stepper/
Posted by Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. on Friday, October 12, 2018
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Goll has competed in races across the South. At age 27, he was the youngest pilot at the 2017 Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in Natchez, and won first place in the first task he ever flew as a pilot at the Four Rivers Balloon Race in Jonesville, Louisiana.
From underneath, Star Stepper looks like a pinwheel. Blue and red spiral out from the center and a few white stars decorate the sides. From a distance, it looks like a staircase suspended in the sky. The dual effect is exactly what Josh Goll intended when he designed his balloon. When it is inflated, Star Stepper is 60,000 cubic feet and about 65 feet tall. It is one of three Texas-themed balloons on Goll’s Lone Star Balloon Team. All three are red, white and blue.
“We have a couple of family businesses with names that start with Lone Star so we wanted to keep to that theme,” says Goll.
The newest balloon to the fleet is the Texas Star, which stands about 80 feet tall and inflates to 90,000 cubic feet. The third balloon is as Texan as a balloon can get – a 77,000 cu ft, 70 ft tall Texas flag.
“I wouldn’t be able to have this crazy adventure of a hobby without Dad who is willing to support me both financially, and crewing and traveling to events with me. It’s definitely not a cheap sport!”
Follow the Lone Star Balloon Team on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lonestarballoonteam/