Since childhood, hot air balloons have conjured up images of Oz — representing the only feasible way of getting to a place I longed to go. Even if I did live in Kansas, I doubt a twister could carry me over the rainbow, but a hot air balloon held promise. That is how the wizard got there, isn’t it?
Unfortunately for people with disabilities like me, an incomplete quadriplegic of 32 years, traversing the skies in one of the world’s oldest ways to fly is still almost as difficult as getting safely from Munchkinland to Oz. While researching the possibilities I grew all too familiar with the mantra from most balloon companies: “Our flight is not recommended for individuals with certain health and mobility problems. Passengers must stand during the entire flight and need some agility to get in and out of the balloon basket. The baskets are not designed by the manufacturer to accommodate wheelchairs or other similar aid devices.”