Texas Hot Air Balloon Pilot: Photos Of Skip Nichols & His Iconic Balloon

Texas Hot Air Balloon Pilot: Photos Of Skip Nichols & His Iconic Balloon
Hot Air Balloon Rick Willoughby/Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Neighbors of the Texas hot air balloon pilot Skip Nichols remembered the ‘happy’ man, saying the skies over Hays County would never be the same.


Nichols died in a tragic hot air balloon crash where he was the pilot. At least 16 other riders were also killed in the crash Saturday morning. Among the victims was a couple who was just starting out a family of their own and traveled to Hays County to experience this thrilling ride of their life.

While authorities are currently investigating the matter, Nichols’ neighbors have nothing but good words for him now that he’s gone. Nichols owned a total of three balloons, the biggest one was the one that crashed, which could carry up to 16 riders.

Texas hot air balloon pilot was a nice person

Jimmy Alvarez, a Kyle resident who met Nichols in person told the WFAA News that Nichols’ balloons are easily seen in their area. Alvarez said Nichols had a happy disposition and he would often see him smiling.

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“The first time I saw him he was flying in that balloon. He was pretty close, up high, and this house was up for sale and he yelled out, he goes ‘How you doing down there?’ And I said ‘Oh, I’m doing pretty good.’ And I guess he saw that sign and well next thing you know he’s moving in there and I went to go introduce myself,”Alvarez was quoted as saying by the WFAA News.

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Alvarez recalled Nichols showed his balloons one time to him and offered his services in cases that he wanted to. He added that Nichols was really a nice man despite how brief they’ve known each other.

Aside from his neighbors, messages of condolences have also flooded Nichol’s Facebook account. Messages from acquaintances and even complete strangers have flooded the wall of Nichols immediately after news of his death broke out.

“This is just an absolute tragedy and so sad. That’s Harriet and me in the photo just 2 weeks ago when we did our flight in this same balloon with Skip. All I can say is that Skip was a highly knowledgeable pilot, who loved doing his job, and the ride was a fantastic experience. RIP Skip and all the passengers who sadly lost their lives today,” Commenter Keith Allan wrote.

“Rest in Peace Skip. Known by many you touched a lot of lives. Happy go lucky is an understatement to the way you approached life. Prayers to you and your family and for the others that perished,” a comment from one Dawn Monaco reads.

“Skip had just donated a free ride to a charity event for Children’s Hospice in The St. Louis area. He had a big heart and deserves respect. God bless, Skip and Sarah,” revealed one fried named Susan Lybarger.

This is his iconic balloon:

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