Bob McCluskey, who lives in Fort Collins, is a commercial hot air balloon pilot with 40 years of experience flying around the world. He founded Spirit of Colorado ten years ago.

In the U.S., Bob has flown in hot air competitions in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Phoenix, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Snowmass and Steamboat, Colorado.

Bob got his start in the early 1980s when he wated to try something different and talked to a friend who served on a grounds crew. His interest peaked and instead of just joining the crew, he took piloting lessons while serving on the crew.

In the early 2000s, Bob joined the inflation team for Steve Fossett during his solo flight around the world, where he set a record in balloon flight as the first person to fly solo. Bob helped launch Fossett in St. Souis, Missouri, as well as Argentina and Australia.

Bob’s current balloon, Spirit of Colorado and the fourth that he has flown, features the state’s essence with an image of the Colorado flag, a waterfall and the fourteener known as Long’s Peak. Bob explains that “I wanted something different that reflects the State of Colorado.”