SEP 16 & 17, 2022

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Pilot Profile

Donna J Carlton-Vish

Danville, IL

Donna says ballooning gives her an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and make friends all over the world. Every flight is just a little different and a new experience each time, but one thing that is a constant and for which we need no language translation and that is the large smile on everyone’s face as they get to crew and/or ride.

Ballooning has always been a family event in the Carlton Clan. Donna started crewing at the Danville Balloon Classic, where her family sponsored a husband and wife balloon team. Donna tallied over 15 years of crewing experience before she realized her dream of becoming a private balloon pilot in 2001 and a commercial pilot in 2006.

Event Planning:

Chairperson for Balloon School, Vermilion County, Boat Club Splash n Dash, Balloons Over Vermilion, Non-Event, Indy Air Show.

Charity Event Fund Raisers:

Riley Children’s Hospital, Relay for Life, and AMBUCS a National Charity whose motto is Inspiring Mobility and Independence! Her focus has been children with different abilities, persons whose lives have been touched by cancer, so patients, caregivers or healthcare workers, and veterans.


One of her favorite opportunities is teaching. If you see a balloon with loads of kids around it is probably Donna. She often does School programs and has been staff at BFA Balloon Camp, Civil Air Patrol Camp, Illinois, and is the chairperson of the Balloons Over Vermilion Balloon School. This program also goes into schools in Vermilion County to promote and educate kids about Hot Air Ballooning.

Donna and her husband Don, crew chief travel all over North America flying. She has flown Leon, Mexico for the largest Mexican balloon event, Festival Internacional del Globos, L international de montgolfieres de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec Balloon Festival held near Montreal and most recently a trip to the Umbria region on Italy. She also flys various events throughout the USA. While most of the ballooning events they attend are in the Midwest Donna has gone to Albuquerque to crew or fly for the last 20 years. Another interesting event is the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair in Arizona. It is pretty exciting flying over the London Bridge! It is held in January and gives Donna and Don an excuse to do some extensive traveling in the Southwest during the Illinois winter.

Favorite Flights:

Gallup New Mexico-Flying the Red Rock formations.

Las Vegas, NV-Riding in the 310,000 and getting a lesson in a BIG BALLOON! Our ride took us to the canyons where we could contour fly. We could see so far into the canyons and turn around and see the glitz of the Strip!! That evening I flew Sunny Side Up in the same area!

And of course, Italy…it is all that is described. Miles and miles of winding roads with lots of very green hills, farm fields, and olive trees so the chase is truly a chase and the scenery is beyond words.