GET TO KNOW THE PILOTS!
Pam Clemons – Kahwoka in Indianola
Pam Clemons is a commercial pilot from Boone, Iowa though she is no stranger to Indianola graduating from Simpson College and living and working here for nearly 20 years.
She was first introduced to balloons by her father who was a Federal Aviation Administration Maintenance Inspector assigned to the National Championships when they first came to Indianola. Hooked on the sport, Clemons began crewing, eventually earning her private and commercial licenses. 40 years later she is still flying.
Clemons has flown in Indianola in the National Hot Air Balloon Championships; the National Balloon Classic and this year is also competing in the US Women’s Nationals.
“Flying in Indianola is a delight,” Clemons says. “We are always made to feel welcome by event organizers, spectators, community, and landowners alike. It is also beautiful and sometimes you just want to forget about the competition and enjoy the ride!”
Her husband Bob is her Crew Chief and her sons Robert and Raithe anchor her crew. Raithe is also taking balloon instruction from his mom.
Sharing the ballooning experience with others is a passion for Clemmons and she is always willing to share stories and answer questions.
Clemons flies a Firefly 8 balloon named “Kahwoka” which means “Carried Along on the Breeze” in the Lakota language.
She also flies a vintage Raven Rally Balloon named “Fantasy.” “Fantasy” is a Rally Rx-6 balloon manufactured by Raven Industries, Inc. (now known as Aerostar) in October 1977. The 45-year-old balloon has been flown 165 hours and is still in great shape. It is 58 feet tall and 50 feet in diameter with an envelope volume of 56,400 cubic feet. Designed as an affordable sport balloon, it will carry a pilot and one to two passengers.
When Clemons feels old, she remembers that her balloon has been flying longer than she has. It gives her something to think about!