YOUR PILOT Bob Mccluskey is a commercial hot air balloon pilot with 35 years experience flying in the United States and around the world. He founded Spirit of Colorado five years ago. In the U.S., Bob has flown in hot air competitions in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Phoenix, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Snowmass and Steamboat, Colorado. Bob got his start in the early 1980s when he wanted to try something different and talked with a friend who served on a grounds crew. His interest was peaked and instead of joining a crew, taking piloting lessons and then becoming a pilot, Bob took lessons at the same time as serving on a crew.. In the early 2000s, Bob joined the inflation team for Steve Fossett during his solo flight around the world, where he set a record in balloon flight as the first person to fly solo. Bob helped launch Fossett in St. Louis, Missouri and in Argentina and Australia. Bob’s balloon, called the Spirit of Colorado and the fourth that he has flown, features the state’s essence with an image of the Colorado flag, as well as the U.S. flag, a waterfall and the fourteener Long’s Peak. “I wanted something different that reflected the state of Colorado,” said Bob, who lives in Fort Collins.