Photo: 11Alive/Youtube

Eight-Year-Old Boy Becomes Youngest Person to Pilot a Hot Air Balloon Solo

by Eben Diskin Aug 27, 2020

You probably don’t remember what you were doing on July 10. Well, eight-year-old JT Head was breaking the world record for being the youngest person to pilot a hot air balloon. The fourth-grader from Georgia piloted the balloon solo for 20 minutes, which was just long enough to break the world record.

JT flew 400 feet over the Sautee Valley in Georgia completely by himself. If anyone was in a good position to break the record, it was probably him, as his father owns a hot-air balloon company.

“My dad owns a hot air balloon company,” JT told 11ALive, “so I got really interested in hot air balloons, and so I decided that I wanted to do a solo flight one day.”

“You have to be really prepared!” exclaimed Head, describing the importance of practice. “‘Cause you have to know what all the handles and buttons do, like some turn on the propane tank and some turn on the burner”

According to JT, breaking the record had been a longtime goal of his — ever since he was four years old.

Previously, the record had belonged to a nine-year-old boy named Bobby Bradley. Shortly after JT completed his flight, Bradley graciously reached out to congratulate him.

Apart from actually breaking the record, his favorite part was the sights themselves. “I saw the sun setting,” he said, “I saw a lot of cows. My favorite thing was probably seeing the back of Yonah Mountain.”

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