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A Life in The Air

World and six-time U.S. national hot air balloon champion Bruce Comstock also set world records for duration, distance, and altitude. As president of the Balloon Federation of America and editor of Ballooning magazine in the 1970s, he helped guide the early development of the sport. He later built a major balloon manufacturing company, and designed and built the autopilot that made possible a solo balloon flight around the world. Always looking to push limits, Bruce on one flight flew in an open basket to over 30,000 feet, on another eked out 645 miles on the fuel normally used for a local pleasure flight, and on yet another cruised more than 1500 miles from Colorado to Pennsylvania. It is no surprise that he is in both the international and U.S. ballooning halls of fame.

A Life in the Air tells his story.

Never before has there been such a book, so honest and so revealing of one man's passion for aerostation. Happy, humble, joyous, contrite, proud, and enthusiastic.          

                                                                  ~ Anthony Smith, adventurer, explorer and best-selling author

A Life in the Air is an engaging tale, especially of the evolution of competi- tive ballooning, and of a talented and focused man who lived it. More than a collection of stories of the adventures of Bruce Comstock, his family, and their cadre of ballooning friends, this book reveals how one man’s passion and creativity shaped a life that forever changed one corner of aviation.   

                                                                    ~ Al Nels, multiple world and U.S. national hot balloon champion


A Life in the Air

A series of chance incidents diverted Bruce Comstock from a career teaching economics into a life of ballooning. Not content just to enjoy flying with friends, over the following 35 years he won championships, guided the early development of the sport, resurrected Ballooning magazine, set world records, built a major balloon manufacturing company, created the autopilot that made possible the only nonstop solo balloon flights around the world, and made many remarkable balloon flights.


You can take a look into the book by clicking on "LOOK INSIDE" below left.

The print book is no longer available for purchase.  The Kindle or Audible version can be purchased through Amazon. 

A look at the life of America’s greatest balloonist and the indelible mark he made on the sport and science of ballooning.


~BRIAN P. LAWLER, editor,

   Ballooning magazine 1979-84

For the Kindle digital version or the Audible audio version, click here to go to Amazon.



A life-affirming book – a fascinating insight into the mind and (often crazy) antics of a master of his craft. Bruce Comstock’s achievements are extraordinary. In A Life in the Air he takes the reader with him on his adventures – breaking world records, winning competitions, and achieving many firsts in the world of balloon flying. The pursuit of his dreams is recounted with humor and a refreshing modesty, while not disguising the strategic thinking and attention to detail that single Bruce out from the crowd.



~ JUDY LEDEN, adventurer, hang-gliding and

   paragliding world and national champion 

   and record setter, author of Flying with Condors

Perfection is unachievable, but don’t tell Bruce! He never perceives a challenge to be too great. Experience, ingenuity, and astonishing analytical skills have led him to excel in all aspects of ballooning. Entertaining, inspirational, and insightful, this book eloquently chronicles Bruce’s adventures. More important, it gives the reader insight into his methods and thought processes, which have consistently produced world-class results.


~ TROY BRADLEY, trans-oceanic balloonist

    and prolific balloon record setter 

Of a growing collection of memoirs by pilots who came into this sport when it exploded from its infancy, this, hands down, is the best to date.


The individual anecdotes that dot the 300-plus pages of this book are rich and deep. They are masterfully woven together into not one, but two story lines.





~ Glen Moyer, editor of Ballooning magazine

This account of Bruce Comstock’s life in ballooning is a delight. It deals not only with technicalities, but also with the interesting people involved. It is essential reading for any present ballooning competitor, revealing how to plan for success, not just in ballooning competition, but in any sport, indeed, in any endeavor.

~ DON CAMERON, renowned balloon inventor,

   designer, manufacturer, adventurer

What a story! In 1987, as the national championship rookie of the year, I stood on the stage next to Bruce Comstock, who had just won his sixth U.S. national hot air balloon championship. I resolved then to match that record, and it has taken 26 years to pull within one win of being the only person to do that. What makes the story told in this book even more amazing are Bruce’s many other equally remarkable achievements in ballooning. A fantastic life adventure!
  ~ JOE HEARTSILL, world and five-time U.S.
     national hot air balloon champion 
A Life in the Air is a great book about ballooning — especially competition ballooning at its roots. This exciting story will surely hold the attention of anyone curious about this sport!
~ NICK DONNER, world and five-time U.S.
    national hot air balloon champion
To read Bruce’s story of a life in the air is a true pleasure. When I started balloon competition in 1978, it was Bruce Comstock who set the bar. I strived to achieve similar accomplishments over a 25-year career. His tales of competition and record flights are riveting and a definite read for all LTA pilots, whether competitors, record setters, or just fun fliers. 
~ DAVID LEVIN, world and national hot
    air balloon and gas balloon champion
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