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4 generations take flight in Kent 

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Chet Wheelock, 82, fulfills a life-long dream with balloon ride

Photos by Tom Rivers – Jeremy Mikels waves to his friends and family as the balloon takes off over his grandfather’s farm on Kent Road.

The balloon heads out over the countryside after a take off from Chet Wheelock’s farm on Kent Road.

The family smiles for a photo before takeoff. The group includes Mason Mikels, 5; his father Jeremy Mikels, Peggy Bropst, and Chet Wheelock, right. Balloon pilot Greg Livadas readies the balloon for take off.

KENT – Chet Wheelock got his wish tonight when he was lifted high over his farm and the rural countryside in a hot air balloon.

Wheelock, 82, was part of a four-generation ride that included his daughter Peggy Bropst of Kendall, grandson Jeremy Mikels of Webster and great-grandson Mason Mikels of Webster.

The balloon ride was intended to be a Father’s Day gift but bad weather grounded that flight. Tonight it was gorgeous with bright sunshine and little wind.

Greg Livadas, pilot of the “Yeowza” balloon, has been flying balloons for 35 years. He said a four-generation flight is highly unusual. But Wheelock is far from the oldest passenger. Livadas said he took up a 98-year-old recently.

Wheelock has watched balloons take off at the Pine Hill Airport in Barre, a balloon festival in Dansville and other spots in the Southern Tier.

“I always wanted to do it,” he said. “It seems like fun.”

Greg Livadas, center, and High Hopes Balloon Co. fill up the balloon with hot air.

The crew and passengers are almost ready to soar.

Mark Driesel, one of Chet Wheelock’s neighbors, records the events for what Driesel said was a historic day for the neighborhood.

Taking flight!