The Team

Australia's top balloonists taking on the world

Matthew Scaife - Pilot

Age: 36
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW Australia
Occupation: Balloon Pilot
Number of years ballooning: 15
Number of years competing: 5
Favourite place to fly: Japan

Past results: 2014 & 2015 Australian Champion, 10th Place 2012 World Championship

Most memorable moment in a competition:
Descending from 6,000 ft into the last task at the Australian Champs 2015 and nailing an 80cm throw.

Any superstitious habits when competing:
6 is my unlucky number ( No.6 for Saga!! ) Red line must always be clipped onto basket first before any other colour.

Best thing about ballooning:
I find there is nothing like competition balloon, pitting your skills against yourself and nature. Learning to make decisions on what you feel is right and committing to it.

Favourite thing to do when not flying:
I love playing cricket with my favourite team Ebernoe. Exploring places with the family when out on the road at balloon events.

Something people may not know about you:
I went to collage in Monterey, California to try and make it as a professional golfer. Unfortunately tore a tendon in my wrist so had to give up that dream. I soon after joined my fathers balloon company in the UK.


Nicola Scaife - Pilot

Age: 31
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW Australia
Occupation: Balloon Pilot
Number of years ballooning: 10
Number of years competing: 4
Favourite place to fly: Anywhere new

Past results:
1st 2014 & 2016 Women’s World Championships
2nd 2015 Australian Championships

Most memorable moment in a competition:
Sweeping in to a target at speed, side by side with my husband Matthew (who was flying a different balloon). We only had one chance at the target and just approached it perfectly, one on each side. So good!

Any superstitious habits when competing:
Not really, but I stop drinking coffee & alcohol during competition time.

Best thing about ballooning:
I love that every balloon flight is an opportunity for great and unexpected moments. This could be flying low over somewhere untouched by humans and just appreciating the beauty of the moment; landing in someone’s backyard and making new friends; watching your passengers reactions as they experience ballooning for the first time; beating your husband in a balloon competition etc.

Favourite thing to do when not flying:
Sleep. I love sleep so much. Although if I’m not sleeping I love bushwalking, swimming and hanging out with my 3-year old, Hugo.

Something people may not know about you:
Before I turned 18 I was twice selected in the Australian marathon kayaking team.


Peter Wright - Pilot

Age: 51
Location: Melbourne, VIC Australia
Occupation: Balloon Pilot
Number of years ballooning: 20
Number of years competing: 15
Favourite place to fly: Battle Creek in the U.S. was great fun and I love my home city of Melbourne.

Past results:
3rd at the Australian Nationals 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Most memorable moment in a competition:
My first World Championships in Hungary, flying to a target side by side next to previous W.C. Winner David Bareford. To say I was nervous is an understatement!

Any superstitious habits when competing:
My mascot (a toy "Tigger" from Winnie the Pooh) comes with me on every flight.

Best thing about ballooning:
Constantly being challenged and never running out of things to learn. And, the friends I've made along the way.

Favourite thing to do when not flying:
Hanging with my family in the beautiful Victorian High Country, taking in all it has to offer; skiing, bush walking, camping and a nice bottle of red by the fire.

Something people may not know about you:
I was a member of the same state rowing squad as the Famous Oarsome Foursome in the mid '80's. They were a bit bigger and better than me...... They won multiple Olympic Gold Medals and I became a golf caddy in Japan!


The Team

Alex Aitken
Weather Team

Dave Bain
Team Nicola

Adam Barrow
Ground Support

Simon Beare
Team Peter

Andrew Clements
Team Nicola

Sanshiro Ishihara
Team Matt

Paul Kavanagh
Weather Team

Sean Kavanagh
Team Manager

Keiko Koga
Team Peter

Deano Pegg
Team Matt

Ben Phillips
Team Peter

Andrew Robertson
Ground Support & Media

Kath Robertson
Ground Support & Photographer

Uchimura Shinya
Team Nicola