The Australian Ballooning Federation (ABF) has this year decided to recognise the volunteer effort of ABF instructors and examiners who train and flight check new hot air balloon pilots.
A new award, the "training trophy”, has been minted to be awarded annually to an ABF instructor with the highest number of training hours each year.
For 2017 the training award was awarded to Canowindra’s Graham Kerr.
Mr Kerr contributed 22 hours and 10 minutes of his time to instructing last year.
Mr Kerr received his award at the ABF's annual general meeting held on Australia Day in Parramatta.
“This volunteer effort is essential to the continuation of our sport, as without new pilots our sport will flounder,” Martin Tregale, president of the ABF said.
“It was pleasing to see that in 2017 our membership increased and we have a higher proportion of female balloon pilots than other air sports, with the vast majority of new members being student pilots.”
Mr Tregale said it was important to recognise the work of volunteers.
“We know that volunteering is an important part of our community and we must always celebrate those who generously give their time to various causes and activities.”