Evelyne Aellig (24.09.1987) joined Take-Off Balloon Ltd in September 2018 to support the marketing and administration team. With her creative and communicative spirit as well as her organizational side, assets that she will use in her new challenge to develop marketing. She loves versatility and variety in her work. "For me, ballooning means emotions, people, fascination, nature, tranquility and passion. I'm looking forward to this adventure!"
Christoph (DOB. 13.03.1970) has been playing with mainly small aeroplanes since he was a child. Cars and motorbikes interested him less. So it's no coincidence he has found himself intensively in the air since age 16. At age 16 he was the youngest hang-glider pilot in Switzerland and at 19 the youngest hot air balloon pilot. Today he holds all aviation licences apart from a helicopter licence. And will he also obtain this one day?
Mark Meyer (DOB 3 May 1986) is Christoph’s “little” brother and in autumn 2009 took over the planning of the balloon and aircraft flights. He caught the flight bug from his brother and is now a commercial airline pilot for fixed-wing aircraft and also head of administration at Take-Off Balloon AG.
Karin Koller (born 05.12.1984) has been working for Take-Off Balloon AG since 01.06.2019. As mother of a son, she likes the variety in everyday life and teamwork. Already as a child, she was able to experience the ballooning, met the balloon world, and has been fascinated since.
Since September 2019, I have been supporting the Administration Team at Take-Off Balloon LTD. I am very pleased to find the best possible offer for our customers on a daily day-to-day initiative. I greatly appreciate the variety and challenge in my position; because no day is like the other. When can I book a flight for you?
I work for Take-Off Balloon LTD since January 2021 and support the administration team. I greatly appreciate the diversity and variety of organizing balloon flights. Let's fly together!
My name is Fuat and have been part of the Take-Off team since 2017. As a retriever, it is interesting to help setting up the balloon and then watch how gently the guests climb up into the sky. I always enjoy the beautiful landscape of the region during driving and I really like this variety from usual daily business.
Hans-Rudolf Berger "Rudi"
I encountered the Take-Off balloon team as a passenger on a 3-Lake flight in 2016. I was well accepted from the very beginning and I feel very comfortable in the balloon family. My work as a retrieval driver along with the maintenance of the trailers and the devices are the perfect complement to my new daily life now I am retired. The many satisfied faces after a balloon flight speak for themselves. One of my memories is of an older, sturdy lady. It was her first balloon flight. Just beforehand I asked after her state of health. "A little queasy" was her response. After the landing I asked her - and was it bad? No, beautiful, very beautiful. I have no regrets. I wish you a good and beautiful flight.
My name is Pesche Berger. More than 30 years ago - on my 30th birthday - my family’s gift was a hot air balloon flight. I started working as a retriever a few years ago because of Chrigu, he is my boss at Meyer Sintermetall Ltd. The good thing about this job is that you work outside and only when the weather is good. It is always a great motivation to me when passengers are in a good mood when they arrive and smile after their balloon flight.
Andrei took his first balloon ever flight across the Alps as a passenger back in January 2006 and since that moment he so fully caught the balloon bug that he can now no longer imagine his leisure time without balloon flying. Firstly as a helper and retrieval driver he had opportunities to participate in many different balloon events across Europe and Switzerland. In 2010 Andrei finally decided to study to become a pilot in a Swiss balloon school. Since May 2012 he has been the proud holder of a pilot’s licence and he generally flies as a pilot in his favourite Seeland area where Andrei, together with his passengers, can enjoy these astounding landscapes from the balloon basket.
“Balloon flying is a wonderful hobby and also a passion for me. As with every balloon pilot it means assuming responsible tasks and being able to take decisions, yet in every single balloon flight I also experience unforgettable positive feelings.”
My name is Andreas / Ändu Dreyer and I was born on the 8th of October 1970. I met Christoph Meyer at school (5th grade) and from this moment, we spent the rest of our school time together. I got the parachute license in the summer of 1990. I actively practiced this sport until 2014 and made over 1400 jumps: 1100 from fixed-wing aircraft, 300 from helicopters and 10 from hot air balloons, which are clearly my most beautiful jumps. A stupid bicycle accident forced me to stop jumping. I told Christoph that if he needs help with ballooning, he can call me at any time, what he in summer 2019 and since then I’m always happy when I can work as retriever for Take-Off Ballon Ltd.
Bruno (DOB. 13.07.1965) has been moving around in the air since he was 20 years of age, whether as a skydiver, hang-glider pilot or passionate hot air balloon pilot. Bruno has been at Take-Off since the very beginning and has experienced the development of the company first-hand. He wants to be involved in everything and also likes being a passenger with Christoph in the aerobatic aircraft. Bruno is happy when he can pilot passenger flights for satisfied customers and also as a two-time father he also enjoys taking the whole family for a beautiful flight in the balloon basket over the Seeland.
Already at the age of two I observed hot air balloons during the Alpine Balloon Week in Flims. I already knew at this time, that one day I would like to pilot these quiet giants of the air by myself. In 2018 I was able to fulfil my dream. I got to know Christoph Meyer during my theoretical training. In order to continue to see happy faces of passengers after balloon trips, I am now flying for Take-Off Balloon LTD. I look forward to welcoming you in the basket.
Driving has always been my passion. As a former sailor and passionate cyclist, biker and car driver then this has to be true. But I couldn’t exactly realise this passion in my professional activity in a power station, so now as a pensioner I cherish my driving pleasure all the more.
Driving to retrieve a balloon is an exciting and diverse experience. Collecting and bringing back enthusiastic balloon passengers to the starting point after a beautiful flight is a very nice job. I feel very much at home in the Take-Off team.
I have been fascinated by flying has ever since I was a small child. And what was initially a dream became reality in 1994. I used to help out as a retrieval driver with the balloon team of the Bieler Tagblatt newspaper before in 1995 I completed my own training to become a balloon pilot. I was then regularly up in the air with various balloons over the Seeland. Then in 2008 I joined the Take Off AG team in Worben. Over the years I have acquired more flying qualifications. First of all I took the examination for powered aircraft followed immediately by the glider test. But the crowning glory was the aerobatic expansion for powered aircraft. This means that alongside the rather calmer balloon flights I can also create magic in the skies with a Bücker Jungmann and my Loops and Rolls.
My step-dad (balloon pilot too) got me into ballooning. After work I often helped him as a retriever. I then decided to start training for my licence in 2013 at the balloon festival in Château-d’Oex. At the time of completion I was the youngest female commercial balloon pilot in the UK. Once qualified I spent summer seasons flying passengers in Scotland and the winters flying passengers in Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Of course still finding time to enjoy hobby flying in many different countries with my family.
My name is Max (born 02.02.1957) and I made my first balloon flight in spring 2019. From this moment I was excited every time I saw a balloon somewhere in the sky. When my neighbor saw my enthusiasme he asked me if I wasn't interested in joining Take-Off Balloon Ltd as a retriever. From the first day on it was clear to me that I wanted to continue doing this job as a hobby and pastime. It is always a pleasure to drive the guests to the launch site, set up the balloon and then watch the passengers happily climb up. The whole team is like a big family. We’re always having a drink after the trip and talking about ballooning. Each ballon flight has his own story, which you won't forget so quickly. I'm already looking forward to my next commitment.
First of all my husband Ruedi started working as a retrieval driver at Take-Off and I joined a little later also as a retrieval driver. I am normally involved with the big hot-air balloons (16 people) when I drive the second bus without a trailer. The flights are always unique, both on the ground and in the air. I love the interaction with the passengers as I originally worked as a stationery store assistant. At the end of a balloon flight I pour the satisfied and happy passengers a glass of champagne. Perhaps one day I’ll also be able to offer you a glass of champagne after a fabulous balloon flight? I would be delighted. See you soon!
My name is Ruedi Mäder and I've been working with Take-Off as a retrieval driver since summer 2011. Each time I am excited to see where the balloon travels to. I am always pleased to meet the happy passengers after the landing and I see places I would never seek out otherwise. Retrieval driving is a wonderful change from my work in the SBB Swiss Railways in Biel. I would be delighted to meet you one day when you experience your balloon flight and to chauffeur you back to the start point.
My name is Felix Niklaus and I have had my interesting spare-time job as a retrieval driver for the Take-Off balloon team since 2009. I am delighted every time I meet the extremely happy balloon passengers after the landing. The balloon flights often take me to places I am seeing for the very first time. And a balloon pilot once said a pertinent sentence to his passengers: “The retrieval driver is the most important man in the team, because if he can't find us we have to walk back.”
In the 1990s I often had the opportunity to participate in balloon flights. I have mainly worked as a retrieval driver in Seeland but I have also taken unique balloon flights in Tunisia and Austria. When the Take Off team were looking for retrieval drivers in autumn 2010 it was immediately clear that I would be amongst them. What do I like specifically about being retrieval driver? The beautiful weather, people in a good mood and nature itself. I also know that I really enjoy it because as a dormouse I never find it difficult to get up at 4.30 am and make my way to Worben. Otherwise I would not experience so intensely how the day awakens. No balloon flight is like any other and the same is true for each retrieval journey.
Thanks to the airfield in Grenchen where I grew up I had a connection to aviation from a very young age. However, several years went by before my first ever parachute jump from an aircraft and my searches for thermals in a paraglider.
I now live in the Aargau, near Zofingen and it was quite by chance in 2015 that I came across balloon flights. I worked for about two years as a retrieval driver and then in 2017 I started to train as a balloon pilot and completed this several months later.
At ballooning meetings both here in Switzerland and also abroad I often came into contact with the Take-Off team. I joined the team in autumn 2018 and since then have been piloting the modern balloons of Take-Off Balloon AG.
Maurice Sottas (born 19.12.1958), lives in Gruyères. Thanks to a meeting with Hans Büker (pioneer hot air balloon pilot in the Alps), hot air ballooning became his great passion.
In 1993 he received his license to fly. Every hot air balloon ride means: observing and deciding, working closely with the team, having a unique moment with the passengers, starting an adventure and learning.
When Maurice joins Take-Off Ballon LTD, he meets a business owner who is surrounded by many professionals and is also passionate about the happiness of passengers.
After I took my first balloon flight in spring 2014 it occurred to me that I’d enjoy working as a retrieval driver. So then I went in search of companies who were looking for retrieval drivers and I came across Take-Off Balloon AG. I have now been enjoying working with them since summer 2014. As my profession is a car and lorry driver I can follow the balloon and the passengers and collect them in almost every area and then deliver them back safely to the meeting point.
Willy Wehren (Cico)
I came to air sports as a hang glider pilot in 1977. Through my hobby I got to know Chrigu. When he became a hot air balloon pilot, I often had the opportunity to join his flights as a passenger. The fascination of ballooning - our beautiful landscape and the incredible silence in the air - everyone should be able to make this experience once. That's why I like to be a retriever of the Take-Off Team and I'm always looking forward to see the happy and satisfied passengers after the balloon ride.
A balloon ride I won many years ago infected me with the balloon virus ;-). I was then occasionally on the road as a retriever. Now it happened by chance that my daughter Karin found a job in the office at Take-Off Balloon AG. A discovery flight triggered an old passion in me. The expectant eyes before the balloon flight and the beaming faces after the landing are a real pleasure for me. I wish all passengers of Take-Off Balloon LTD a “happy landing”!
At the age of 25 and after 4 years of relationship with my girlfriend, I took the chance to make her a marriage proposal in a hot air balloon - she simply couldn't say no. Since this flight (which I could also enjoy after the application ;-)), these balloons have a big fascination to me! I think it isn’t a coincidence that flying drones is one of my biggest hobbies. I am always happy about the laughing faces after landing which I can see as a retriever. When do I see you laughing?