In another thread I mentioned having a Balloon License, and interest was expressed on just what that was all about. So.....
OK...here's the deal on the Balloon Rating.
Shortly after I got my Commercial in April of 1962, one of the FAA inspectors who frequented our field told us about the ability to merely apply for and receive a Balloon License. At that time, no one in the FAA or any FAA designated inspector for that matter, was about to go up with an applicant to check his ability. All one had to do was simply apply for the License; which a number of us at the FBO did. We had NO intention of EVER ascending! So, we got our tickets. Mine (and the others) read:
FREE BALLOON PILOT
Limitation: HOT AIR BALLOONS ONLY
Not too long after this, with the FAA being flooded with applications, they changed the rules to require so many observed ascents, etc. So, it became very difficult to obtain a license after that unless you REALLY wanted one.
It's merely something to show the Grandkids and others now when the topic comes up. I always tell everyone I had to do two Bag-overs and a Hiss-out to get my license!
Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!