Hot air balloon fiesta sees Canada's oldest pilot

Canada's oldest hot air balloon pilot will be flying the skies over Sussex all weekend.

Canada's oldest hot air balloon pilot will be flying the skies over Sussex all weekend.

At the age of 82, Saint John’s Doug Shippee is the oldest licensed balloon pilot in the country.

He's taking part in the 26th Annual Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta beginning Friday.

For three days, spectators looking up to the sky will see 30 hot air balloons flying twice each day, including Shippee's green, pink and blue striped hot air balloon.

"We can see fog over the valley, but around us we have the pristine beautiful area of New Brunswick all around us," he said.

Shippee went to a balloon fiesta in 1979 in Florida and 30 minutes after taking off, he bought one of his own.

He said he has no thoughts of retiring.

There are only 250 pilots in the country and Shippee knows all of them.

"You get to go anywhere in the world and it's a fraternity — you get to fly and play together."

His most memorable trips include landing at the top of a ski hill in Switzerland and on a fishing boat in the Northumberland Strait — that day Shippee took off from Port Elgin, but got caught up in the wind.

"Little lobster boat was good enough to stay right under us and we landed the basket on there," he said.

"The biggest thing about ballooning is that every balloon flight is an adventure. You don't know where you're gonna land exactly and so what you see on every flight is a new picture," said Shippee.