For all enquiries, please contact Ruth via email



Governor-General David Hurley as Chancellor of the Order of Australia has recognised Ruth Wilson in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours list with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her dedication and commitment to aviation particularly hot air ballooning since 1975. The OAM is awarded for service worthy of particular recognition.

As a founding member of the Australian Ballooning Federation (ABF) Ruth was the inaugural ABF Secretary, has since held various positions including President (1997-1998) and as Vice President. In 2021 Ruth again accepted the role of ABF Secretary held to 2024.

Ruth was invited to join with Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) personnel and other General Aviation Airspace users for four years in the early 1980’s to educate other airspace users on the capability of balloons to operate as safe aircraft in controlled airspace. This work led to the introduction of Commercial Balloon Licensing with Civil Aviation Safety Authority and expanded the scope of ballooning in Australia.

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) is an IOC-recognised organisation of more than 100 member countries who participate in air sports worldwide. The FAI’s Australian representative is Air Sport Australia Confederation (ASAC). Ruth Wilson continues to serve as ASAC Vice President, is the one of the FAI Ballooning Commission’s Australian delegates. She is a current contributing member to the FAI Media/PR Committee.

It was Ruth’s concept and total management that saw the success of the unique 1988 Bicentennial Trans-Australia Balloon Challenge, supported and funded by the Federal Government, to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary. This unique aviation event attracted 78 teams from 17 countries to compete across Australia over 16 days. The sport of ballooning gained both extensive National and international media coverage.

Ruth carries the title of first National Champion in her sport of hot air ballooning, has represented her country at six (6) World Ballooning Championships ( 4 x Hot Air and 2 x Gas Ballooning). Her last in 2018. At the age of 75 Ruth Wilson launched at night in the hydrogen filled balloon “Bernadette" from Bern Switzerland. Pilot in Command, she flew her balloon to 15,000 feet above the snow-covered Swiss Alps at night, over the Italian Dolomites to land in an Italian vineyard after an 18hours non-stop flight. No sleep for 33 hours, water frozen due to the cold this was an outstanding achievement.

Ruth Wilson holds a World First in Aviation - Notable Flight. http// r/cia/report17.php In 1989 Ruth flew her balloon VH JLX at night to 4000 feet to drop a skydiver to achieve this record.

On a personal note Ruth has been a Rotarian and invited Guest Speaker to a variety of organisations and groups, spreading the challenges and joy of her aviation experiences.

Ruth Wilson has been honoured also with the following Awards:
1979 ABF Inaugural National Champion Trophy
2000 Awarded Australian Women’s Pilots Association Trophy for long distance gas balloon flight of 608km (1999 Gordon Bennett Race)
2002 Inducted into Ballooning Hall-of-Fame, Australia
2008 Awarded the William Deane Award for Excellence for contribution to Ballooning
2017 FAI Hall of Fame Nominee
2021 FAI Paul Tissandier Diploma awarded to those who have served the cause of Aviation in general and Sporting Aviation in particular, by their work, initiative or in other ways.
Ruth has volunteered with professionalism and enthusiasm in both her sport, her governance, her education of others and remains actively committed to aviation.

10 June,2024





CONQUERING CLOUDS Gathers International Readers, MEDIA ALERT.


"I know from personal experience that a lone balloonist stands out as unusual in a crowd with stories of their exploits. However, it takes a Ruth E. Wilson to stand out among balloonists. The Australian’s sparkling eyes and broad smile welcome strangers as much as her fascinating career. Her story in her memoir Conquering Clouds I (Shawline Publishing Group) will captivate you from beginning to end. From a poor Australian family that struggled for years to a world-renowned hot air and gas balloonist, Ruth’s is a story of adventure and perseverance.

Born to a single woman toward the end of World War II who bore a son a year later and who struggled to provide for her children, Ruth lived with her grandparents for a while and her brother was sent to a foster home. “The terminology ‘love child’ was nowhere to be heard of. ‘Bastard’ was more prevalent,” she writes. When she was three, her mother married, and her husband adopted the children. Ruth would be well into adulthood before she learned that the man she knew as Dad was not her biological father. “I had my birth father’s name…I had to find him.” The search lasted the rest of her life.

Like so many women of the era, Ruth married and had two children. “I had left the poverty and unhappiness of my childhood behind for a better life, one with a bright home, two beautiful children and a husband who provided well. I should have been happy, but I couldn’t shake the gnawing feeling something was missing.”

Her husband’s career advancements saw the family living in America, Japan, and New Zealand before they returned to Australia. Each move opened the possibility of something that “would squash the feelings of emptiness that sometimes took hold of me.” She fulfilled her duties as wife, mother, and hostess. Baptized a Methodist as a child, she had no structural religious upbringing, but in Japan, she became curious about the eastern religions, Shinto and Buddhism. Her spiritual life grew as she learned to interpret her dreams, experienced out-of-body events, and learned to read Tarot cards. She began writing for an English-language paper which opened her world to more new experiences.

One of the stories took her to Jim Greig, a balloonist. “’What’s a balloonist?” I asked. Who knew that my life would be changed by one casual question?” And so it began. It was the early 1970s and ballooning worldwide was in its infancy, perhaps more so in Australia as the earliest equipment had no instruments. (European and American balloons had temperature and altitude gauges.) Ruth was irretrievably hooked. Her stories of learning to fly, meeting other balloonists and eventually becoming an organizer of events, if there were balloons around, Ruth was bound to be there.

One of her crowning achievements was organizing a fly-drive event across the country – The Trans-Australian Balloon Challenge – to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. It was spectacular. What a way of visiting parts of Australia tourists never see, meeting people in the Outback who welcomed us with open arms. In Kimba, for example, a local said the balloons were the biggest event to hit the town since water had been piped in some years earlier.

Ruth and her husband, Kevin, raised two wonderful boys, Mark and Grant, both of whom became accomplished balloonists, but the marriage did not last, though they co-parented well.

Ruth flew in some of the best-known balloon events in the world: Chateau d’Oeux in Switzerland, Battle Creek, Michigan, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dubai, Japan, Canada and, of course, all over her home country. While her ballooning life was fulfilling, two of her greatest dreams eluded her: her search for a life partner and the search for her biological father.

Ruth writes that she shared her stories “some challenging, some joyful and others borne of pain that may have forged by evolving spirit…Sure, my fascination for the sky has brought me much pain and loss…but it’s given me power, self-knowledge, independence, and, above all freedom.”

Plan on staying up late to finish this book."
May Woodhouse – Goodreads Review


Between The Covers
Speaking with Australian Author Ruth Wilson

For all enquiries, please contact Ruth via email