DAMIEN HAYS – Chief Pilot & Director

Damien has been flying since 1990.  Damien grew up in the Avon Valley, home to ballooning in Western Australia, and has been involved with the sport since an early age.  Damien has flown commercially in the Hunter Valley & Camden in New South Wales, the Yarra Valley and at Hanging Rock in Victoria, Cairns in Queensland, the Meander Valley in Tasmania and of course home in the Avon, and holds endorsements to fly balloons up to 400,000 cubic foot in capacity, Australia’s largest class of balloon.  He also holds Instructors’ ratings for both Commercial and Private training and has logged around 2000 hours flying balloons. No pilot in Australia has more experience flying balloons over the Avon Valley than Damien.


SVEN TETLOW – Senior Pilot

Sven has been flying balloons since the early 1980’s and has been a long time supporting member of the Western Australian Balloon & Airship Club. He is an Instructor and Examiner for the Australian Balloon Federation and has flown in several parts of Australia including Alice Springs, Cairns and Canberra. He is a 2nd generation balloon pilot and has recently assisted two of his children with their training to become the 3rd generation of balloon pilots in his family. With around 4000 hours experience of flying hot air balloons in the Avon Valley he is a great asset to Windward.


DONNA TASKER – Senior Pilot

Donna has been flying balloons since 2007. Donna had her first balloon flight when she was living in Canberra and decided then she wanted to learn to fly.  A couple of years later she flew as a passenger with Windward and after that she was determined to become a pilot of these magical aircraft!
Since then Donna has flown in places such as Canberra, Canowindra, Putrajaya in Malaysia and Hamilton in NZ. During the WA summer time when it is not flyable here Donna spends a few months in Myanmar where she is employed by Oriental Ballooning flying passengers around the spectacular temples of Bagan. Donna also holds her Private Instructors rating and is a fixed wing pilot as well.


LEON WACHOWSKI – Head of Ground Operations

Leon has been working for Windward for close to 20 years and is responsible for co-ordinating, supervising and training our team of ground support specialists.  Leon is also a fledgling balloon pilot holding his student pilots certificate and having done a few hours of training towards attaining his private pilots certificate. He is assisted by his team including Neville Hicks, Richard Welch, Griffin Putland, Angela Hall and David Bray.


HEATHER MEIKLEM – Customer Services Manager

Heather joined us in 2004 and has become an integral part of our bookings office team.  When she is not managing our busy bookings office she is a proud mother and grandmother as well as assisting with various community organisations around the Avon Valley. Heather is dedicated to making sure our customers’ booking needs are met and their questions are answered, and her passion for her job is most evident to all of our customers who she speaks with.  She is a great inspiration to all at Windward!


LISA WEST – Customer Services Officer

Lisa joined our team during 2018 after many years working in customer service working with her husband in their family business. Prior to this she has worked in a variety of administrative roles.  Lisa supports Heather in our busy bookings office and between her and Heather they will know how to answer all of your  questions!

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