Lottie Sands got to achieve her dream and go on a hot air balloon—a feat she always wanted to accomplish. Being 93 years old, Sands proved that it is never too late to cross another x off of the to-do column in life. Her hot air balloon ride occurred on Sunday, July 30, 2017.
“I’ve never done it before, so I wanted to do it for the first time,” Sands said.
Sand’s hot air balloon ride was provided by Guaranty Bank and Trust. In addition, Buzzards Glory Balloon Company LLC provided her ballooning experience. Sand’s daughter accompanied her on the journey.
According to friends and family members, Sands had a great time while going on her hot air balloon adventure. Sands was smiling throughout the hot air balloon ride. Sands said that she was not afraid of going in the hot air balloon and that everybody made it back safely.
Sands currently resides in Robins, Iowa. The town is approximately nine miles from the location of Buzzards Glory Balloon Company. Her hot air balloon ride occurred in the evening—often times the best times for hot air balloon rides are early in the morning at sunrise or in the evening when the sun sets.
According to the Buzzards Glory Balloon Company Facebook page (currently the company does not have a website), “Buzzards Glory has a new balloon, Cost Cutters, it’s red, white and black and usually flies with Guaranty Bank. You’ll see these balloons flying in the early morning hours and later in the early evening on beautiful sunny days with light winds.”
The balloon Sands rode on can be seen in a video uploaded by a local news station in eastern Iowa. The balloon is black with the words “Guaranty Bank” visible in white lettering. There is yellow and red on the balloon as well. From the video, it appears that Sands had a private balloon ride. Sands, her daughter, and the pilot, Susan Stamats, were the only people on board.
Buzzards Glory Balloon Company is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The hot air balloon company has been operating in Cedar Rapids for over 37 years. Peter O. Stamats founded the balloon company in 1974; this was also the year he took his first hot air balloon ride. After ten years, Stamats taught his wife, Susan, to fly hot air balloons. While Peter passed away in 2003, Susan still operates the company with a commercial hot air balloon license.
Stamats has a total of over 2,100 hours of flying experience accumulated over 27 years. Her longest balloon flight was one hundred miles and it took four hours. She has flown over the Rocky Mountains.