breaking the mold Dr. John Goddard Admires the View From the Basket of His Hot Air Balloon Breaking the Mold showcases dentists with interesting hobbies—everything from painting to woodworking to photography and more. A different GDA dentist will be profiled every month. To submit information on a colleague or to share information about yourself, send an email to Delaine Hall at email@example.com or call the GDA office at (800) 432-4357 or (404) 636-7553. Dr. John Goddard, a general dentist in Jonesboro, was a teenager when the U.S. space program first sent astronauts to the moon. “Their exploits and flights made a big impression on me,” said Dr. Goddard. “I decided that one day I wanted to be a pilot.” That dream was fulfilled in an unusual way not long after Dr. Goddard received his DDS degree from Georgetown University in 1978. “After completing dental school a close dentist friend from my hometown of Griffin, Dr. Kit Weathers, invited me to help him launch, chase, and recover his newly purchased balloon,” said Dr. Goddard. “I was instantly hooked on the sport. To this day, I find that flying and landing a balloon is, in its own way, just as exciting as a lunar landing.” Dr. Goddard eventually pursued flight instruction with Dr. Weathers. After
Dr. John Goddard in his one-man hot air balloon emblazoned with his general dental practice logo.
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his initial training and licensure In 1989, Dr. Goddard as a balloon pilot, he acquired was invited to fly in France two balloons. “One is a large as part of the celebration of balloon for flying two or three the 200th anniversary of the passengers, plus me,” said Dr. French Revolution. While Goddard. “The other balloon is his balloon was transported a much smaller one-man on a French Air Force jet balloon. When no passengers or from New York to Paris, Dr. chase crew are available, I fly Goddard traveled to Paris the small balloon on days that more conventionally via others in our local balloon club commercial airline. Usually, are flying. It is purely for fun.” however, Dr. Goddard The smaller balloon transports his balloon fabric, features distinctive toothbrush or envelope, in a bag someartwork as well as the word Dr. John Goddard has thing like a large duffel bag. been a hot air balloon “SMILE” in large letters—Dr. That is remarkable considpilot for 27 years. Goddard’s office logo. Every ering that the largest balloon flight he makes is a subtle nudge envelope can expand to hold approximately for balloon watchers to visit their dentist! 80,000 cubic feet of heated air. The envelope Early on, Dr. Goddard regularly bag and all other related equipment, attended balloon rallies all around the including the basket which holds the pilot Southeast. “The competition was just what and any passengers, can easily fit on the my ego needed,” said Dr. Goddard. back of a pickup truck. “Occasionally, I would even beat one of If you are motivated to pursue piloting the nationally ranked pilots.” He has also a balloon yourself, Dr. Goddard says that flown at the ‘Super Bowl for balloonists,’ any commercially licensed balloon pilot the Albuquerque International Balloon such as himself can give flight instruction. Festival, six times. “A typical large balloon “The process involves 15 to 20 hours of rally might feature 50 to 75 balloons,” said instruction and solo flights before someone Dr. Goddard. “At Albuquerque you will can qualify for a license,” said Dr. see 700 to 900 balloons in the air at the Goddard. “The FAA requires all student same time. So, flying there is challenging, pilots to pass a written exam as well as an but beautiful.” Over the last few years, in-flight exam.” He warns that a student however, he has tended to choose rallies pilot is expected to fly up to 5,000 and closer to home, within a three- to four10,000 feet as part of training. “One time I hour drive from Griffin, so his family flew to 16,000 feet, just to say I had been members can easily accompany him. He 3 miles up,” he said. “It was cold.” reserves the rest of his flying time for wedDr. Goddard never regrets choosing ding proposals, birthdays, anniversaries, to pursue ballooning as a hobby. “In a school and charity events, and for friends balloon you can see the deer in the field, of his two college-age daughters. hear dogs barking in the distance, and “A flight typically lasts an hour or so,” said even talk to people on the ground as you Dr. Goddard. “Since we are at the mercy of the pass over,” he said. “Once you have seen winds, we may travel anywhere from five the world from a balloon, you can never to 10 miles at a height of around 2,000 feet.” look at the sky the same way again.”
Published on Dec 11, 2009