Pilot Roger Bentley flying Blackie

To contact us:


340 Rosedale Rd SE

Cedar Rapids IA  52402


Phone:  319-363-3842

Email:  rides@buzzardsgloryballoons.com

Pilot Susan and Buzzards Glory mascot Mimi

Eastern Iowa’s Family Ballooning Connection

Buzzards Glory Balloon Company

Pilot Susan Stamats with Veronica and Haley Stamats

The Pilots

Pilot Susan Stamats is a commercial licensed balloon pilot. With over 1600 hours.  Susan has been flying the skies in the Cedar Rapids area for over 20 years.  She has trained pilots for both private and commercial licenses and also sells balloons.  During the summer months, Susan divides her time between flying the skies of Eastern Iowa and balloon competitions throughout the country.  Ballooning has taken Susan to 17 states, Mexico, France, Zimbabwe and South Africa.   Watch for Susan flying Buzzards Glory.

Susan’s longest flight was one hundred miles, taking four hours.  The amazing thing was the chase crew, after traveling 230 miles, was there when the balloon landed.  The highest she’s ever been is 18,500 feet.  She flew over the Continental Divide, over the Rocky Mountains.


Susan’s family includes two stepsons:  Peter S. and Bill Stamats.  Peter S. and Karen live in California with their children Spencer, Veronica and Abigail.  Bill and his wife Anne live in Cedar Rapids along with their children Ben and Haley.


The other member of Susan’s family left us in October 2005.  Mimi was a golden retriever that traveled with the crew and served as Buzzards Glory mascot.  Mimi was always there to greet passengers at the launch site and again at the landing site.  Her first stop at the landing site was straight to the basket and pilot Susan!  Mimi loved to have her back rubbed and accepted anyone who was willing to spend time with her.  We will miss her being a part of our adventures.



Pilot Roger Bentley has been piloting hot air balloons for over 20 years.  Roger was also trained by Peter and got his commercial pilots license in 1983.   His first balloon was Autumn Passion which he flew for many years in the Cedar Rapids area and also at competitive balloon events.   Later, he flew several other balloons for Buzzards Glory.  Today you will find him flying Blackie.

Roger and his wife Bonnie live near Vinton and have two grown children and four grandchildren.


Ballooning is a team event.  The pilots rely on their ground crew.  They couldn’t get in the air without them.  Buzzards Glory has assembled a group of very dedicated crew.  All of them are volunteers ranging from babies to senior citizens.  They all have jobs — whether it’s filling the cooler with refreshments, holding the mouth open, releasing the pibal, carrying the pilots flight bag, or giving hugs— every job is important.  Some of the crew are second and third generation, and some have been crewing for Buzzards Glory for over 25 years.