Women Who Fly

Portraits of female pilots

Marsha Neal, Aeronaut

(Carolyn Russo)

Silhouetted outside an inflated hot air balloon. Statesville, North Carolina, 1994.

“It’s fun to land, and, of course, from an advertising perspective we always are trying to fly around the city, landing in neighborhoods. Since it’s relatively calm, when we fly, we can come down, say, in a cul-de-sac or in the middle of a street if the power lines are buried. You can land in people’s driveways and their backyards. It’s just really fun to come in and see the astonished look on people’s faces….

I think I’m almost a purist when it comes to gas ballooning because to me—there’s nothing to compare it to. There’s no burner noise, nothing. The wonderful thing about gas ballooning is that you can fly all day and all night. The most incredible thing flying over the countryside is that you can hear this network of dogs talking to each other. I mean, you can pick up the communication, just sitting up there listening, and you can hear very distinctly any car driving down the road.”

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