NewsCovering Colorado


Charles 'Dewey' Reinhard, founder of Labor Day Lift Off, dead at 93

His 45-year legacy in the southern Colorado region will succeed him this year
Labor Day Lift Off 2019
Posted at 9:05 AM, Jul 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-03 14:23:30-04

PUEBLO — The "Father of Ballooning" and Colorado Springs' Labor Day Lift Off Founder, Charles "Dewey" Reinhard, was announced dead at the age of 93 on Saturday by the Labor Day Lift Off Facebook page and Instagram account.

"Dewey's indelible mark on the community of ballooning shall forever endure, etching itself upon our collective memory," said the Labor Day Lift Off organization in its social media posts about the Pueblo native.

A lifelong lover of the skies, he had his first balloon lesson in 1974 in a balloon he had bought two years earlier, according to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Ballooing Commission.

Across forty years of his life, he spent more than 1,500 hours (more than two months) in balloons, during 300 different events. Reinhard was announced as one of two 2023 FAI Hall of Fame inductees, prior to his passing.

Labor Day Lift Off!

He co-founded the Ballooning Society of Pikes Peak in 1976, two years after his first lesson, according to the FAI.

Making himself a part of history, despite failure, he made man’s 16th attempt to fly a balloon across the Atlantic Ocean, on October 10, 1977, three years after his first lesson, according to the FAI.

"His adventures are legendary," said the Balloon Federation of America in a Facebook post.

He organized and managed the 'Colorado Springs Balloon Classic,' on July 1, 1978, according to a FAI filing, a tradition that will carry on this year, now known as Colorado Springs' Labor Day Lift Off. An Oscar-winning film, The Impossible Dream, was made about the attempt.

Alongside his other accolades, he received the following awards:

  • Montgolfier Diploma for service to ballooning (1989)
  • BFA Distinguished Aeronaut Award (1984)
  • BFA President’s Award (1986)
  • Shields-Trauger Memorial Award (1996)

Reinhard is inducted at the following locations:

  • Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame (1983)
  • Colorado Springs High School Alumni Hall of Fame (1985)
  • U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame (2011)
  • Colorado Springs Sports Corps Hall of Fame (2016)

Those interested can live Reinhard's legacy Saturday, September 2 through Monday, September 4 atthis year's Labor Day Lift Off.

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