Jim Thompson

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Jim Thompson last won the day on September 18 2015

Jim Thompson had the most liked content!

About Jim Thompson

  • Rank
    HOF Committee
  • Birthday 10/20/34

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Davenport Florida

Contact Methods

  • Contact Email
    JIm@ThompsonAire.com

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  1. Version

    38 downloads

    The Balloon Federation of America An Organization for Balloonist and Ballooning Enthusiasts This PowerPoint has been posted for use by all balloonists to provide information and ideas about balloon presentations.

    Free

  2. On that morning the weather was almost perfect with light surface winds and, as is normal in the winter, fairly good speed above. After the flight briefing, and checking the upper winds with a pibal, it was decide to launch within one half mile of the meeting location at a field called Formosa Gardens. The sunrise was spectacular and the direction to the southeast was on a good flight path to a great landing site at Wallaby Ranch Flight Park, a location for hang gliders. The location provided large open landing fields with trees surrounding the entire site. This was a perfect target because the surface winds were predicted to increase as the morning went on. Jeff made the passenger assignments with four adults in his balloon, four adults in Doug’s balloon and three adults in Jon’s balloon. Connie and I were to crew for Jon and we had some concerns because one of his passenger was a 90 year old woman in a wheel chair. She was accompanied by her son and daughter in law. It is her story that made this event so special. The flight went without a hitch until time for landing. As was expected, the surface winds had increased to about 8 miles per hour, the maximum that Jeff will fly with passengers. All three chase crews were at the landing site and helped with Jeff’s landing which wasn’t bad as he slid about 50 feet and was able to keep the basket upright to unload his passengers. Doug Cleghorn had a similar landing with all of the crew assisting however one of the big passenger balloons from Orlando Balloon Rides, with 20 passengers, had a lay down landing. Jon made his approach about 10 minutes later and the ground winds had picked up more speed. It was evident that Jon’s speed had increased as he came over the first tree line and his direction shifted to take him away from where most of the ground crew were waiting. Glen and I had noticed this change in direction and hurried to where we expected him to land. As Jon cleared the second tree line in the center of the field, the winds suddenly calmed and the landing was as smooth as silk, with the basket coming to a complete stop with very little effort from Glen or me. Someone up there was taking care of Miss Norma. After all the equipment was packed up we celebrated the flight with the typical Champaign toast and then headed back to the meeting resort hotel for the all-you-can eat buffet breakfast. It was at breakfast that we heard Norma’s story. This past summer, Norma’s husband of 67 years, died and within days she was diagnosed with cancer on her uterus. When the doctor outlined the treatment options, surgery, radiation, and chemo and asked her if she wanted to proceed. She looked the doctor direct in the eyes and told him ”no”, she was 90 years old and she was going to hit the road. Her daughter and son-in-law had outlined the possibilities; she could go to a care center or she could travel the country with them in their RV home. She declined any treatment and chose to travel the country with them. They completely endorsed her decision. Prior to arriving for the balloon flight, Norma has been on the road for about 6 months and is thriving! Signs of cancer have reduced and she is in no pain. She and her family have explored several National Parks, participated in a Native American ceremony, traveled to 12,000-ft above sea level in the Rocky Mountains and to below sea level in New Orleans. They also have traveled to the Midwest, seeing Mount Rushmore, the Bad Lands and the Corn Palace in South Dakota and probably passed by Des Moines on I-80. Miss Norma overlooking Florida landscape. Photo courtesy Miss Norma’s Website Glen assisting Miss Norma after landing. Photo courtesy of Miss Norm’s Facebook site. Jon, Miss Norma, Tim and Ramie. Photo courtesy of ThompsonAire Miss Norma on landing. Photo curtesy Miss Norma’s Website. Miss Norma enjoying a mimosa. Photo courtesy of Miss Norma’s Facebook site. Miss Norma and Tim. Photo courtesy of Miss Norma's Facebook Site The following was written by Miss Norma’s daughter-in-law, Ramie, and was posted on Miss Norma’s Facebook page, “Driving Miss Norma”. “For those keeping score, today was a red-letter day! This past March Tim (Miss Norma’s son) took me on a surprise hot air balloon ride for my birthday in Palm Springs. While Leo was in the hospital this summer we shared stories of that magical experience with him. Leo told us that he always wanted to take Norma on a ride and still hoped he could. When Leo passed away in July we began the long process of sorting through papers in the home. We came across several newspaper clippings for hot air balloon rides in the process. He had them tucked everywhere! Norma mentioned that she and Leo always dreamed of going but never got around to it. At the start of this journey I began looking for an opportunity that would work for her. She can’t stand for very long and I wasn’t sure if she could climb into the basket so we needed a pretty special circumstance to make this dream come true. Earlier this fall, we were passing through Albuquerque during the storied Balloon Fiesta and thought if they have accessible balloons anywhere it would be there. But we couldn’t find camping nearby and the idea was put on a shelf. Knowing we would be in Florida for a while I started looking again and found Thompson Aire, unlike most, their balloons have seats so Miss Norma wouldn’t have to stand for the hour-long ride. PERFECT! I called Jeff Thompson and was immediately sold! We booked this adventure in December and surprised Norma on Christmas morning with the news. If you have been watching the weather channel lately you know it has been less than wonderful here in the Sunshine State. High winds, tornados, heavy rain, etc. But, when you are traveling with powerful force like Miss Norma, things often go your way! Today, the day we picked over a month ago, the winds calmed down, the sun came out and it was an absolutely perfect, albeit chilly, morning for a float across the central Florida skies. We were up at 5:00 a.m. and met with the Thompson family and crew. Two brothers, mom, dad and Norma’s favorite, Glenn (you'll see why in the pics!), made up most of the crew. These guys have been doing this for several decades and were were fabulous, accommodating and exactly the experience we were hoping for! This was Norma’s first hot air balloon ride, first mimosa and I dare to say a few other firsts…! Thank you Thompson Aire you made magic happen today! And Jon, you have got to be one of the best pilots in the family - nobody can land that gracefully! Thank you... and your mom is a GEM!” At the time of the balloon flight, we were told of her Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma. It was indicated that they had about 420 likes and were hoping to reach 500. The Thompson immediately went on line and informed their friends of the site and asked for others to become friends of Norma. Within a week the goal of 500 was reached. As of this writing, her story has gone viral with over 275,000 likes. The story has been featured on most national news networks and other news sources and has also been featured on Ellen DeGeneres’ Facebook site. Recently she was the parade marshal for the Hilton Head, South Carolina’s St Patricks’ Day parade. The Thompson family all feel very pleased and fortunate to have a small part of this inspirational story and wish Miss Norma continued success on her travels. We would encourage everyone to visit the Facebook site and enjoy Miss Norma’s complete story.
  3. From the album Flying Miss Norma

  4. From the album Flying Miss Norma

  5. From the album Flying Miss Norma

  6. From the album Flying Miss Norma

  7. For Sale Customized 1998 Ford Van The ultimate ballooning vehicle $7,000 1998 FORD 1 ton stretch conversion cargo van Model E-350 Heavy duty suspension Total Mileage - 160,019 Gas Mileage – 14.3+ mpg for life of vehicle Well maintained – recent replacement of spark plug coil assembly, ignition, right side ball joints and front windshield High top for better headroom and storage 6 upper storage cupboards 4 captain’s seats 1 bench seat that folds down into bed Clothes closet with 2 hanging racks Back storage area for balloon envelope and fan Storage area under back bench seat and closet Space between front seats for large cooler Eagle lift gate valued at $1,500 to $2,000 Currently located in the Des Moines Iowa area. Contact: Jim or Connie Thompson jim@thompsonaire.com (515) 229-5804
  8. Version

    60 downloads

    Competitive Ballooning by Jim Thompson

    Free

  9. Guess who just got his pilot license Does this help? The above are two pictures of our grandson Tyler Thompson, serving as our crew when he was three years old. He recently earned his lighter than air private pilot’s license. This makes him a third generation Thompson in ballooning. Of course, son Jeff obtained his license in 1975 when he was 16 years old and was the first Thompson pilot in the family. I received my license about 3 years later in 1979. Tyler follows in good footsteps. Son Jon is also a pilot and his son Austin has started his flight instructions. At the annual flight over Des Moines to promote the National Balloon Classic, I flew with Jeff as a co-pilot and Austin took a training flight with Jon. There are few families in the sport that share the three generation accomplishment. Tyler with his temporary certificate Families with ties to Iowa are doing well. In a previous article about a 2012 flight from the Stratosphere Bowl in the Black Hills of South Dakota I mentioned Anne Christensen. During that flight Kay West was giving Anne a mountain flight lesson. It was indicated that she had soloed and would be getting her license soon. That was accomplished late in 2013. Both of Anne’s parents are balloon pilots and her grandfather is Dennis Winegarden, a long time balloonist from North Liberty, Iowa. Another teenager from Iowa who, I am certain, will get her license is Cory Clemons. She has attended two Balloon Federation of America junior balloonist camps at Dubuque and has just started her training. Cory’s father Benji and Grandfather Bill are longtime pilots. Jake Rickie is another young balloonist who will be a third generation pilot. His dad Tom is a pilot and his grandfather John Johnson from Mason City is one of Iowa’s pioneers in the sport. Background - Jon and Austin Thompson in Flying Big Top Foreground – Jim and Jeff Thompson in Shazam III Tyler won a friendly competition with his cousin, Austin, to see who would be the first to obtain their license. Austin (15) won’t be far behind. He demonstrated his competency during the flight over Des Moines in July to promote the National Balloon Classic. He flew the entire flight from launch to landing including a near splash and dash in the Raccoon River with a landing at Roosevelt High School where his dad went to school. I was trying for the same landing site but didn’t make it and landed across the street in the back lawn of a synagogue.