I began the company in 1983 after a career in retail management. It was the allure of the balloons, the color, majesty and the mystery that first attracted me to them. After crewing for an out of town pilot during a balloon race in Asheville, North Carolina, I decided to join a local balloonist as a volunteer crew person. After assisting that pilot for approx. 6 months, I made the decision to purchase a balloon and begin my pilot training. After receiving my instruction and FAA certification, and while continuing with my career in retail, I began attending weekend balloon rallies and races throughout the southeast.
While participating in a balloon meet in Kingsport, Tennessee, I met and became friends with Ken Maness, the general manager at WQUT FM 101.5, a local radio station. I invited Ken to fly with me and broadcast live from the balloon during one of the competitive flights, and he had a "BLAST".
After our landing (we placed 3rd in the competition) I could see that Ken was excited, and he expressed an interest in using a balloon for advertising purposes for his station. Three months later with the addition of PEPSI as a co-sponsor, we were in the balloon advertising business. I then began offering pleasure flights to the general public, and the making of a fulltime company was in place. I had worked 10 years in retail, and was ready for a change. So in April of 1983, The Wind Works Hot Air Balloon Company was born. In 1998, I officially changed the name of the company to more accurately reflect the area which we serve.
Since that time, I have owned and operated many advertising balloons for local and regional companies, including LITTLE CAESAR'S PIZZA, WQUT FM 101.5, WIVK FM 107.7, WBIR TV-10, WCYB TV-5, PEPSI and CELLULAR ONE.
I've also had the opportunity of living and flying in some wonderful places, including Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico. While traveling in those countries, I met many interesting people from all over the world and flown balloons with the capacity to carry up to 12 passengers.
After logging more than 5000 hours as pilot in command over the last 26 years, having flown more than 9000 passengers, and having trained many, many student pilots toward the FAA Private and Commercial balloon pilot certification, Jeff Lansdown and Smoky Mountain Balloon Adventures strive to offer the highest level of passenger safety and customer satisfaction. We are STILL the most experienced balloon company in the beautiful Smoky Mountain area,and are also very proud to point to our excellent flight safety record.
welcome aboard and Bon Voyage,
Owner and Chief Pilot
Developed in 1998 for Smoky Mountain Balloon Adventures by my very good friend and technology guru, Rodney Williams.