ALTIUS Chief Pilot Gunars Dukste is a ballooning pioneer in Latvia. He is involved in ballooning since 1991 when the first hot-air balloon appeared in Latvia and during 18 years he has accumulated over 2500 flying hours. Gunars has flown in many international events, including major ones like the World Air Games (Turkey’97, Spain’01), World (USA’95, Japan’06, France’02, Australia’04) and Continental (Austria’96, Luxembourg’00, Lithuania’03, Hungary’05) Championships and world-wide famous balloon fiestas – Bristol Balloon Fiesta (UK), Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (USA), Chateau-d’Oex Ballooning Week (Swiss Alps) and others. He is the member of the British Balloon & Airship Club. After successful flight over the North Pole, he is one of the few world hot-air balloon pilots who have been awarded the title “Polar Balloon Aeronaut”.
Gunars holds all three Latvia’s records for hot-air balloons – distance, duration and altitude. For performances achieved, Gunars was awarded the prestigious Silver Sporting Badge from the FAI/CIA. Over the years, he has acquired a broad practical experience in all aspects of ballooning, including corporate promotion, balloon rides, pilots’ training and charity events.
Before getting his balloon pilot’s licence, Gunars was seriously involved in orienteering. He has won several national championships of Latvia and has been the champion of the former U.S.S.R.
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