Countless area residents have seen John Owens hot air balloon floating in the skies over Chautauqua County for nearly a quarter of a century.
Even more people will have the chance to see Owens' balloon now that the Panama man has retired from skies of Chautauqua County. Owens recently donated his 1993 Aerostar balloon and basket to the Lucile M. Wright Museum at the corner of Third and Main streets, Jamestown. The basket houses two high-powered burners that provide lift for the balloon, as well as an instrument panel that provides that pilot with readings regarding altitude and barometric pressure.
Now, those who have always wanted a closer look at a hot air balloon but wanted no part of actually flying in one can learn all they want to know about hot air balloons.
"I wanted to be able to give more people a taste for what balloons look like," Owens told The Post-Journal.
Chautauqua County has had quite a history in the air. Thanks to donors like Owens and committed volunteers like Ed Martiney and the rest of the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum's board, that history will live on.
The museum only officially opened its new location about a month ago and includes helicopters, the fuselage from a Great Lakes biplane and several educational displays. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. For more information about the museum, call 664-9500.