About Balloon Excelsior

Balloon Excelsior was founded in 1969 by Brent Stockwell and Christine Kalakuka.

In 1972 we became the first balloon flight school approved by the FAA, and in 1974 we became the first FAA-approved balloon repair station in the west.

Brent Stockwell, formerly the FAA's Designated Pilot Examiner for the district, has tested and issued certificates to hundreds of balloon pilots for over 30 years. He is the Chief Pilot for the school and Supervisor of the repair station. Stockwell has flown balloons in England, Europe, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and Mexico, and trained pilots of many different countries,

Balloon Launch

Stockwell and Kalakuka founded the Balloon Repair and Maintenance Association, a national organization of balloon repair professionals. Both write for several balloon publications.


    We sponsor several balloon rallies a year, and organize balloon meets for other sponsors and promoters. We have over 40 years experience presenting successful balloon events.


    Our facility, "The Balloonery", is an informal museum of 35+ years of ballooning and we have an excellent library of balloon and airship books. LTA scholars are welcome to use our library for research.


    We have assisted many balloon pilots, balloon companies, and passengers with legal matters and can provide expert witnesses for civil and FAA disputes. Our experienced researchers can provide documented information on ballooning activities.


    We offer training to become a balloon maintenance repairman.


       Since 1978 we have presented at least one balloon safety seminar each year. Our format is a round-table discussion in a relaxed atmosphere as we learn from our peers. (See "Events" page for the schedule.)


       In 2002 we joined Ed Yost to form the Balloon Historical Society, a small group of balloonists and friends dedicated to recognizing and memorializing the important advances to science made with high altitude scientific balloons. Our first project is the recognition of the flights made by the U.S. Army Air Corps and the National Geographic Society from the Stratobowl in the thirties. Memorial stones have been placed at the rim of the Stratobowl and we are now in the process of gaining National Monument status for the memorial with a paved road, site improvements, and a museum.

P. O. Box 4055
711 Industrial Park Drive

Manteca CA 95337
209 825 4290

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