BATTLE CREEK (WTVB) - They have been required to jump through some extra hoops but it looks like 6 Japanese hot air balloon pilots will be permitted to compete this weekend in the 20th World Hot Air Balloon Championships in Battle Creek. Japan doesn’t formally certify hot air balloonists, a private organization does and this year, unlike previous years, the FAA decided that wasn’t good enough. This year they required their balloons and the pilots be recertified in the U.S. first. Someone is donating 6 U.S. balloons and the pilots, despite having hundreds of hours logged in the air, had to be recertified as U.S. Student pilots this week.
Practice flights begin Friday.