MIDWEST BALLOON SERVICES
*FAA Certified Repair Station since 1999
Bill and Louise Clemons
104 East Center Street
As you all know, in Minnesota Hot Air Balloon Repair Stations are disappearing in the wind. In my 35+ years of having Annual Inspections done in Minnesota by some great individuals, I've watched each, one by one, retire and take down the shingle out front. I decided it was time to take a broader look at the available options. A few years ago at the National BFA Convention, when it was held in Des Moines, IA, I met Bill and Louise Clemons. We discussed doing annuals, but honestly I thought I'd never make the drive, about 5 hours to their shop in Truro, IA (1/2 hour South of Des Moines).
In the months that followed I asked the majority of balloon pilots I ran into if they could tell me something about "The Clemon's in Iowa". I heard stories about this inflator thing in the shop, "they actually inflated my envelope inside" or "you wouldn't believe the crud they got out of my burner, they even took a photo". The comment always heard, "They do a great job and good folks to work with!"
In the early months of 2015 I weathered a snow storm and headed to Truro, IA for my first annual inspection with Bill and Louise Clemons. I must admit my initial impression was a very positive one. Their shop is dedicated to Hot Air Balloons only, inspections and repairs. The floor was immaculate, spare parts locked in a storage area, webbing and generic accessories neatly organized on shelves, the work bench spotless, specialty tools hung in their dedicated space on the wall and sewing machines located close, but not in the way. In the corner there it was, an electric fan with a few custom attachments to facilitate the inflation of each envelope for a thorough internal inspection.
I was more impressed with the inspection process; each tank, cable, panel, instrument, burner, basket, batteries, paperwork, fire extinguishers, temp tabs, knots, connections, nothing was missed. The bushings on my burner frame were even upgraded. Nice to know your balloon leaves the shop in better condition than when it arrives.
As I write this I just had my second annual inspection done by Bill and Louise and I expect them to do mine for many years to come. They do the type of job you expect from the manufacturer. Thanks again!