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Pilot Registration

Each year, hot air balloons from across the United States arrive in Plano, Texas to participate in the Central Market Plano Balloon Festival. Throughout the history of this annual event, local, regional, national and international hot air balloons have participated in this family friendly festival.

Registration for this year’s festival is now open. Pilots that are interested in participating in our event for the first time and meet the festival qualifications listed below, please send an email to for registration guidelines and requirements.

Pat Cannon will serve as Balloonmeister this year.

Qualifications - Flying Events

To participate in this year’s Festival all persons acting as pilot-in-command must hold at least a Private Pilot Certificate with Lighter than Air Free Balloon Rating and a minimum of 75 hours of PIC in balloons. All hours will need to be noted on the application as requested or the application will be rejected. At check-in, you will also be required to sign a certificate acknowledging you meet Festival and FAA requirements. Each pilot must attend all pilot briefings. Each pilot must agree to fly at least one sponsor / media person during the festival.

Qualifications - Tether and Glow Events Only

Pilots with less than 75 hours PIC in balloons, holding a Private Pilot Certificate with Lighter than Air Free Balloon Rating, are encouraged to participate in this year's festival. These Pilots will be included in all tether and balloon glow events, and have the option to participate in our 5K, 10K or Half Marathon Runs on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings by placing your basket with burners along the Run Routes and firing your burners as the runners go by. This has been VERY popular with our runners. All hours will need to be noted on the application as requested. At check-in, you will also be required to sign a certificate acknowledging you meet Festival and FAA requirements. Each pilot must attend all pilot briefings.


The following items MUST by submitted directly to us instead of presented to the FAA at pilot registration, as has been done in the past.

  • Copy of Pilot Certificate (front and back)
  • Copy of Photo ID
  • Copy of Balloon Registration
  • Copy of Airworthiness Certificate
  • Copy of Logbook Page showing Current Inspection
  • Copy of Logbook Page showing last Flight Review
  • Copy of Medical (if you have one)

The new rules require us to submit the information for each pilot to the FAA at least 30 days prior to our festival. Please email your documents as pdf files to by August 1st.

The FAA will be onsite at pilot registration to inspect all documentation for all pilots.

All balloons must be properly equipped (with inflation harness) and ready for potential FAA inspection prior to each event. Proof of insurance will be verified by the festival.

You will be contacted prior to the festival if there is an issue or concern.

BFA Competition

We are requesting your BFA Competition Number during registration. BFA Competition will occur this year if enough BFA pilots participate. If competition occurs, you will automatically be included.


We will be utilizing two hotels this year - the Home2 Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites. The hotels are located next to each other and have connecting parking lots.

For King & Double Queen Studio Accommodations - pilots can stay at the Home2 Suites by Hilton. These studio suites also include a queen sleeper sofa.

401 Wyndhurst Drive
Plano Texas 75074
(Accessible from E. President George Bush Highway)

For King & Double Queen Accommodations - pilots can stay at the nearby Hampton Inn & Suites.

2813 E. President George Bush Highway
Plano, Texas 75074

**Rooms will be available on a 'first come, first served' basis. Every effort will be made to honor your accommodation request.

Pilots registering as primary pilot will receive free room accommodations for Friday and Saturday evening, Pilots from outside a 40 mile radius of the launch field, that fly Sunday Evening, will be provided a room for Sunday night.

Room Selection and Reservations will be part of the online application.

Please do not contact the hotel directly for your pilot room reservation.

Crew Rooms

A special room rate of $95 is available for crew and alternate pilots. These reservations must be made by you directly. To book rooms for crew and alternate pilots please use the links below.

Home2 Suites by Hilton website -
The $95 rate is available until September 1st.

Hampton Inn & Suites website -
The $95 rate is available until September 1st.

*If you want to stay at the same hotel as your crew / alternate pilot, please select the corresponding hotel when completing pilot registration.

Pilots - $50 registration fee

All Pilots must pay the $50 registration fee. Payment can be submitted during registration or mail a check payable to the Plano Balloon Festival to:

Plano Balloon Festival
P.O. Box 867706
Plano, Texas 75086-7706

Please submit the registration fee as soon as possible. Deadline is September 1st to secure your reservation for this year’s Festival. If your registration is not accepted for any reason and you have paid your entry fee, it will be refunded.

New this year - all pilots will receive at least $50 in prize money.

Sport pilots

Sport Pilots will receive $200 at pilot check-in.

Commercial Balloons

You will need to complete Pilot Registration as well as contact the Festival at 972-867-7566 to ensure your company has completed the corporate sponsorship paperwork.

Special Shapes

Please email if you are interested in bringing your special shape to this year’s festival.


Additional information will be emailed to you in September. We look forward to seeing you at the 41st Annual Central Market Plano Balloon Festival on September 18, 19, & 20, 2020.

Remember to email all documents required by the FAA to

Pilot Registration

Click on the link below to register for the 2020 Festival.


If you have any questions, do not wish to remain on the invitation list, or are no longer ballooning, please send an email to and indicate 'Remove From Invitation List' so you won't receive future correspondence about the festival.
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