about the team:
Gas Balloon Pilots Cheri Edwards White and Mark Sullivan (as a team) represent the United States of America in two of the world's most renowned gas ballooning competitions, the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett and the America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race. In addition to their achievements in gas ballooning, both Mark and Cheri are award winning hot air balloon pilots as well.
Mark Sullivan, Pilot
Competitor and event organizer in both hot air and gas ballooning. Mark served as the US delegate to the FAI Ballooning Commission for 18 years and for the past three years as the President of the FAI Ballooning Commission. Earned his commercial hot air balloon license in 1983 and gas rating in 1985 and currently has 3200 hours. Won the U.S. National Gas Balloon Championships in 1995 and that same year founded the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race held annually at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Mark won the North American Hot Air Championship in 1992. In 1997, the FAI awarded Mark his first Montgolfier Award for his service to the sport and balloon event organization. In 2004, he was awarded a second Montgolfier Award for best performance in gas balloons with podium finishes in the World Gas Balloon Championships and Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett. He has competed in the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 22 times and the World Gas Balloon Championship 4 times, best finish in both events 2nd. Flying with Cheri Edwards White has won the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon in 2008 & 2012.
Cheri Edwards White, Pilot
Cheri started flying in 1974 at the age of 13 and is a commercial balloon pilot with 3300 hours. Cheri is the current President and Southwest Regional Director for the Balloon Federation of America. For the past twenty years she has been the pilot and manager for Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Balloon Program, one of the most successful commercial balloon programs in the U.S.A. Cheri is the current Women's National Hot Air Champion and finished third in the 2016 Women's World Championships in Lithuania. 1993, Cheri was the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Champion rookie of the year, in 1995, won the Women’s North American Championship and the U.S. National Hot Air Team Championship. Flying as Mark’s co-pilot, finished 3rd in the 2002 America’s Challenge with a flight of 2109 km in 67:25 hours. 2008, the team won the America’s Challenge with a flight of 1420 km in 68:35 hours. 2012 won the America's Challenge again with a flight of 2623 Km in 62.15 hours. Placed 3rd in the 53rd Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett from Geneva, Switzerland to Travira, Portugal, with a distance of 1528 km in 71:20. Awarded the Montgolfier Award for best performance in gas balloons in 2009 and the Shields-Trauger Memorial Award in 2013.