For the second year in a row, a local commercial hot air balloon pilot is offer Good Friday flights over Tomé Hill to benefit the town of Tomé Land Grant.
Brittany Campbell and five additional pilots will be taking passengers up, up and away over the hill on Friday, April 15, giving them a panoramic, 360-degree view of the Rio Grande Valley in Valencia County and, hopefully, pilgrims making their way up the hill for the annual holy trek.
“People here have seen us out and about, flying down here, and they have been so hospitable and accommodating,” said Campbell, a county resident. “I’ve made what feel like lifelong friends, gotten to know neighbors I’ve never knew, so I want to give back more so than even last year.”
Like last year, 100 percent of the proceeds from the Good Friday flights will go to the land grant. Campbell said unlike last year, she won’t have special pricing for the flights, and whoever books a flight on April 15 will be brought to a local launch site and fly over Tomé Hill.
“Passengers will meet with us and be taken to a launch site chosen that day that will take us over the hill,” she said. “We have five pilots eager to be involved, and most of them are local to Valencia County.”
Campbell said the weather in the county is perfect for ballooning, even better than Balloon Fiesta field for year-round flying.
“Where I typically launch from, there’s a wind block from Los Lunas Hill and Tomé Hill,” she said. “There’s a bowl we can fly here when we can’t fly in Albuquerque.”
In addition to the flights for the land grant, Campbell wants to do something special for what she calls “exemplary residents of Valencia County.” Last June, she bought a large balloon that can carry up to 12 passengers.
“I am going to donate that entire basket to flights for county citizens who have gone above and beyond,” she said. “I want to really honor these folks.”
To nominate an exemplary citizen for a Good Friday flight with Campbell, send an nominating email to email@example.com.
To book a flight, visit flyalbuquerque.com. For any other questions, call Brittany Campbell at 505-239-3733.
Campbell said if anyone in the area is concerned about balloons flying over their property and disturbing livestock, they should call as well.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.