Updated: 09/05/2013 8:39 AM |
Created: 09/04/2013 6:34 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4
ALBUQUERQUE -- With the Balloon Fiesta just 30 days away and counting, balloonists are starting to watch the calendar and prep their balloons. If those balloons are in need of repair or maintenance, there's a small Albuquerque business that has been specializing in these type of repairs for 30 years.
Bob Healy was an engineer and says he got burned out from working in a cubicle. Bob was offered a job at Aerco fixing balloons.
"Fell in love and it's become my life's work. Here I am still 30 some years later," Healy said.
David Eichorn, a retired 35-year Air Force aviator, bought the business a year ago. He said that it just made sense. He has an immense love for anything that flies.
"Working here with customers, other people who love to fly. Balloon flying is different than flying fixed wing. So it's a different group of people. So it's expanding my community of friends," Eichorn said.
Whether it's burners, baskets or balloons, they can fix it. They are a full service station. And there isn't a whole lot of competition in their line of work around town. Or anywhere for that matter, according to Eichorn.
"There's one other repair station in town. But there used to be four. We're down to two. There's just not as many repair stations in the country," Eichorn said.
Whether balloons need to be fixed or not, the FAA requires a 100 hour or annual inspection to fly. Aerco does a lot of those too.
You can bet that many of the balloons you see in Albuquerque made a stop at Aerco first.
Aerco said they get a lot of work during Balloon Fiesta from balloonists that have snags and different repairs that are needed to keep them flying. Hours change a bit during Balloon Fiesta. They fly, too.