Pilot Bio | Captain Yee Haw
Mike Drysdale AKA Captain Yee Haw is a man of great passion in whatever he does. His attention to detail is remarkable, a trait that is often sought after in the aviation industry in general and hot air ballooning in specific. Where would someone get such passion you might ask?
Captain Yee Haw raised in the valley of the sun in Arizona, exposed to hot air ballooning in 1992 when his brother (an aspiring hot air balloon pilot) and cousin were working in the ballooning industry as crew members in the early years of hot air ballooning in Arizona. In the shadows of his brother, he began to train as a hot air balloon crew member. There are a lot of details to crewing and piloting hot air balloons, so attention to details was imperative.
His brother Eric Drysdale was known to the ballooning community as a jokester. Eric Drysdale loved & respected by the community for his work ethic and ability on and off the high school football field. Eric suffered and acute death while on the football field and his unexpected death had left the community & family in shock.
Captain Yee Haw known for the gravel in his gut, had his eyes set on one thing and one thing only. Finishing the desire of his brother. Captain Yee Haw would stop at nothing to finish his younger brothers goal of becoming a commercial hot air balloon pilot. Mike Drysdale would go to the ends of the earth, and stop at nothing to get his commercial hot air balloon pilots license. Mike’s love for ballooning manifested itself into a passion, in his brother’s name.
Armed with his new goal in life, Mike kept crewing in the ballooning industry. Captain Yee Haw continued crewing from 1992 through Eric’s tragedy until 1996. In 1996 Captain Yee Haw started his LTA (Lighter Than Air) commercial pilot training. Nothing would stop him from achieving his hot air ballooning goal. Failure was never an option for Mike Drysdale.
It was in 2003 Captain Yee Haw obtained his commercial Pilots license. During his flight training, Mike would often fly in the area with the other commercial pilots. He would make his own flight decisions, that would often prove a better piloting decision than the other pilots in the field. The other pilots in the area watched his new kid on the block closely. Watching his navigation ability and his flight decisions. Captain Yee Haw quickly gained respect of the hot air ballooning community. This was only the beginning of his professional career.
Shortly after the hot air ballooning industries notice of Captain Yee Haw’s abilities behind the balloon burner, he began to get several job offers from many companies in the area. He was even getting job offers in other states as the word quickly spread throughout the hot air ballooning industry. The snowball effect had begun from there. It was in 2004 he began his commercial hot air balloon flights on a full-time basis.
Captain Yee Haw has seen some amazing places in his hot air balloon career. He has flown hot air balloons in Colorado Springs CO, Woodville WA, Albuquerque NM, Lake Geneva WI, Madison WI, Chicago IL, Monument Valley Utah & many locations in the Arizona state to include Yuma, Sonoran Desert Preserve, and the beautiful Sedona Arizona areas.
Captain Yee Haw has flown in a lot of flight conditions that make him a skilled artist in his craft. With over 2,000 safe flight hours behind the balloon burner, it is no wonder why companies compete for his professional services. His sincere desire to treat people to an amazing aesthetically pleasing, safe flight. Armed with his brothers easy-going joker style attributes and his passion for safe ballooning, truly makes him second to none as a hot air balloon flight professional. His former passengers request him by name year after year and after your flight with us…. You will understand why!
Mike “Captain Yee-Haw” Drysdale
Age: “I’m Old.” 48 years young
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Hot Air Balloon Flight hours: 2000+
How did you get into ballooning?
I started crewing part-time with my family in the early nineties. I was working part-time with my younger brother and cousin. My brother wanted desired to be a hot air balloon pilot, but he passed away at a young age. In his honor, I got my pilot license and ballooning became a passion of mine.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been ballooning?
I get this a lot from passengers, but it’s a hard question. I’ve done sunrise and sunset flights over many areas such as the Great Lakes, the Fall Lakes, and the Grand Tetons. Every flight is unique, and each area has its own charm that makes it enjoyable.
Any tips for first time passengers?
Lose the apprehension! It’s not scary or intimidating being up in the air in a balloon. Bring a camera, sit back and enjoy yourself, and take in the sights.
What’s one thing you hope passengers take away from their ballooning experience with you?
Memories. I’m very blessed to possess the talent to give our passengers memories that they will hold onto for a lifetime. I do this on a day-to-day basis. I also understand that this is a one in a lifetime chance for my passengers and nothing but the best will do for them.
You wake up at an ungodly hour, how do you get going?
I have always been an early riser, I’m always getting up early. As far as my job; when you do what you love and, you look forward to it, I never have a problem waking up. It’s always fun for me.
What can we find you doing in your spare time?
Usually spending time with my family. I love to cooking and entertain them. I have had people from all over the world come to enjoy the Captain Yee Haw Kibble fest (my barbecue)! I think the most I ever made was about 88 pounds of pork. I also love to fish. No particular area, just any where there is water.
Ballooning is on many Bucket List’s, what’s on yours?
I would like to go to the Mediterranean area, sample food and work my way north from there!
We look forward to sharing a memory of a lifetime with you!
Please call us for current balloon ride discounts for the Kansas City area! 1-913-220-2244
Remember that you have a friend in the Hot Air Ballooning business!