The Stone family of Indianola provided this exhibit in 2001 when they purchased their 3rd balloon. The exhibit consists of their orignal balloon basket (shown above right), a burner, envelope and the story of their 3 balloons. Pictured above are their 3 balloons inflated or flying. The Stone family has been involved in hot air ballooning from its start in the area in the early 1970s. Stone hospitality was famous among the ballooning community. The pasture east of their farmhouse became known as a good place to launch or land because balloons were always welcome. It still is. In 1977, the Stones bought their first hot air balloon – a used Piccard. They named it “Fly Away” (left photo). Randy Stone became the first licensed pilot in the family in 1978 at age 17. He was one of the youngest pilots, if not the youngest pilot, in the United States at the time.
As the years went by, Fly Away got older and didn't hold air as well anymore, and the Stones wanted to upgrade. Therefore, Randy's parents, Warren and Virginia bought their second balloon in 1984. It was another Piccard. They named it “Fly On”.
In 2001, when Fly On had to be retired, there was a time when it was thought the Stone ballooning tradition might come to an end. But the ballooning bug is strong in the family and Randy and his wife Lisa, through family help and prayer, bought a new bright yellow balloon with rainbow colors which they named “Heart's Desire”. Now “Fly On” is now exhibited at the Museum and the brightly colored “Heart’s Desire” can often be seen carrying on the family flying tradition. For more interesting information about the Stone family history of flying, and the tradition of the “Mini Nationals” which was started by the Stone family, come and visit this exhibit.