The one and only Japanese balloon pilot in Australia! - Aug 28, 2019

Global Ballooning Australia Welcomes World-class Japanese Pilot to the Team

The one and only Japanese balloon pilot in Australia!

Victoria, Australia; 23 August, 2019 – It is with great excitement that Global Ballooning Australia welcomes our first ever Japanese commercial pilot Sanshiro Ishihara to the award-winning team. We’re proud to announce that Sanshiro is the only Japanese ballooning pilot in Australia.


Sanshiro is a ‘second generation’ balloonist, having grown up around balloons in Japan’s ‘world famous Ballooning Capital’, Saga City. Saga has hosted three World Ballooning Championships and annually hosts Asia’s largest hot air balloon event / competition which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary.


Sanshiro’s first taste of the ‘high life’ came when he was just three years old!


“My first flight was with my father and I knew straight away that I loved ballooning. I remember often looking at the scenery from a foot hole in the basket when I wasn't tall enough to look over,” he recalls.


After spending his childhood years chasing balloons and working as part of the ground retrieve team, Sanshiro started his own flying training in 2004 and attained his private Pilot Balloon Licence 2006.


Sanshiro arrived in Australia to complete his commercial pilot training and attained his Commercial Pilots Licence in 2017.

The one and only Japanese balloon pilot in Australia!

“I love my ballooning life and I really like to share the amazing experience with my passengers, especially when I see the look of delight on their faces.”

Sanshiro has been involved in many ballooning competitions throughout the world, although his most memorable ballooning experience to date has been a flight over Japan’s mountains and fields on a clear day at -23 degrees Celsius with white snow covering the ground.  


Sanshiro is extremely proud to be accepted as one of the GBA’s pilot squad and to looks forward to his life in Melbourne for the next several years.


“Global Ballooning has a strong international reputation for professionalism and training, so I feel very lucky to have been asked to fly here. I have really enjoyed seeing Melbourne city from the sky during my familiarisation training - it is such a challenging and amazing flight for a pilot and a really spectacular thing to do. I also really like the Yarra Valley with its incredible nature - it is definitely the most beautiful ballooning region I have flown in.”


“This is my dream job. I always wanted to travel around the world when I was young. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that being a commercial balloon pilot has brought me,” he says, “I am really looking forward to meeting lovely passengers from all over the world. I also am looking forward to finding the best coffee in Victoria and for it to be a little warmer.”

The one and only Japanese balloon pilot in Australia!

Global Ballooning Australia is a family owned Victorian Business that offers passengers the once in a lifetime experience of gently floating over Melbourne City - one of the few cities around the world that can be traversed by hot air balloon – or soaring over the picturesque Yarra Valley countryside, while the team provide our Tourism Hall of Fame award-winning service.


Global Ballooning Australia Owner, Kiff Saunders welcomed Sanshiro to the team.


“We are thrilled to have Sanshiro joins us. He is a such a consummate professional, passionate and lovely guy to be around, our guests will be in very capable hands and well looked after.”


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by Despina Karatzias

The one and only Japanese balloon pilot in Australia!

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