Georgia boy soars into the record books, becomes youngest person to pilot hot air balloon solo

A sky high world record was broken by an 8-year-old Georgia boy. J.T. Head is the youngest person to pilot a hot air balloon solo.

"I was a little bit nervous excited. As soon as I got about 50 feet I was saying this is getting to be pretty fun and I was saying that in my mind this isn't as scary as I thought," said J.T. Head.

Fifty feet wasn't enought for J.T.  He flew hundreds of feet over the Sautee Valley in North Georgia, launching him into the record books as the youngest person to solo a hot air balloon.

"When I got really high up, maybe 300 feet, my heart was beating really fast and I'm like wow I'm pretty high now," said J.T.

Piloting a balloon takes skill and practice. J.T. learned the ropes from his parents. Tarp and Desiree Head have been flying for decades. They took J.T. on his first flight when he was 2 weeks-old.


"We balloon together as a family," said Tarp Head.

J.T. has been training to fly for years.  At 4-years-old he set his sights on breaking the record for the youngest person to solo a balloon.  The record was held by a 9-year-old.

"The first of the training, my dad would life me up so I could do a burner on his balloon," said J.T.


J.T. trained on a computer simulator, a remote control balloon and in the basket with his dad. Finally he put his skills to the test on a beautiful July day.

"He was prepared for it, he was mentally ready for it, the weather cooperated and we were like okay let's do this today," said Tarp.

It was a picture perfect flight and J.T. set the balloon down with the precision of a veteran pilot.

"It was really smooth, I knew that I had to burn some before I just let it go and hit, so I burned some and then I landed," said J.T.