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Balloon Museum, Home of the Hall of Fame, Welcomes Two New Inductees

2021 FAI CIA Hall of Fame Inductees Recognized for Their Contributions to Hot Air Ballooning.

September 24, 2021 - The 2021 Féderation Aéronautique Internationale Ballooning Commission International Hall of Fame induction ceremony. and invitation only event held at the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, is on Friday, October 1, 2021. The balloonists recognized this year are Wilhelm Eimers of Germany and Jim Winker of the United States of America.

To be inducted into the FAI CIA Hall of Fame is the highest honor in ballooning and the Balloon Museum and the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum Foundation extend their congratulations to the honorees and their families and look forward to hosting this celebratory event.

Jim Winker, the 2021 posthumous inductee, made significant engineering contributions to ballooning, and was a champion of the sport’s history. Winker was introduced to ballooning as a crew member for the launch and recovery of Don Piccard’s flight in a converted Japanese FUGO bombing balloon in February of 1947. Winker joined Raven Industries shortly after its founding in 1956 and served as a manager and vice president overseeing both scientific balloons as well as hot air balloon development, certification, and market development until his retirement in 1991. Greg Winker, Jim Winker’s son and balloonist, will accept the award on behalf of his father.

Given the current travel restrictions in place for visitors to the US, Wilhelm Eimers unfortunately will not be able to accept his award in person. Eimers has flown more than 1,400 gas balloon flights since he received his license in 1979. This is quite a feat as very few pilots have logged even 1,000 flights. He has spent about 10,000 hours aloft. An active instructor, Eimers has trained pilots from 13 countries including the UA, Canada, and Russia. Eimers is probably best known as a Coupe Gordon Bennett pilot. He has participated 28 times, more than anyone else.

Visitors to the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque Balloon Museum can explore the FAI CIA Hall of Fame exhibit to learn more about all of the Hall of Fame inductees.