Former local and balloon chick live the high life
HUGHESVILLE – For Damon Flick, coming to Hughesville and the Lycoming County fairgrounds is coming home. Born in Williamsport in the mid 1970’s, he spent his first ten years in Duboistown. Later, the family settled in Wellsville, New York, where Damon graduated high school.
Wellsville is where the young man’s fascination for balloons began as each July annual rallies are held near the town in the New state’s southern tier.
In his senior year, Damon became interested in a girl living down the street. A few months into the dating scene, the girl’s father took his daughter Lisa and Damon for a balloon ride. From that moment on, the young man’s status as a spectator turned into helping the crew for the Bill Childs family.
Among Damon’s goals was to marry the balloon chick, but first he pursued an engineering degree and graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology.
In 2001, he and Lisa married and a year later purchased their first used balloon naming it ‘Prism.’ As balloonists are required to be licensed, Damon trained outside Rochester then took his first solo flight in Williamsport. A year later, he added to his private license by passing the exam to fly commercially.
A second used balloon was purchased until 2008 when Damon and Lisa upgraded to a new and larger balloon for their growing business named ‘Flying Colors Ballooning’.
“For the first time we could specify our own colors, so Lisa broke out the colored pencils and sketched several designs,” Damon said, adding his request was to include lots of color. The result was ‘Prism Too’ featuring a rainbow spiral design with mid-drift of white and blue horizontal stripes. “Even the manufacturer commented that factory staff members had enjoyed helping build the beautiful balloon,” the proud owner said.
Nowadays, Lisa is the crew chief and Damon the pilot. “We have two young children and I hope they’ll become pilots too,” he said. Most of their flying is done in Dansville, New York where the couple’s business is headquartered.
The pilot commented on his most unique flights, one occurred last January when he took a 120 mile, four hour ‘long jump’ from Dansville to Stillwater in Columbia County, PA. He’s also logged more than 400 flying hours once going as high as 11,000 feet above sea level.
As it requires many hands to crew a balloon and a chase team for pickup, locals knowing the area are essential. When in Hughesville, the ‘Prism Two’ support team often includes Chuck and Jane Opp.
“Of course I love coming to the Rotary Festival at the Lycoming County fairgrounds as my parents, grandparents, a sister and several aunts and uncles still live in the in the greater Williamsport area,” he said.
With his dream of marrying the balloon chick a reality and a wicker basket filled with two little Flicks, you could say Damon is indeed, ‘living the high life.’