On a beautiful weekend morning sometime during the summer of 1982, hot air balloon pilot and instructor Marv Miller took friend and fellow member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, Nick Moehlmann, for a flight in his balloon. The flight launched from a site at what is now Greenfields Business Park. Within five minutes of taking off Nick knew he would be flying balloons for the rest of his life. After several years of flight instruction resulting in Nick becoming a commercial pilot, Marv and Nick created Susquehanna Valley Balloon Company in March 1986. Marv and Nick flew a couple of flights from Lancaster Airport and loved flying from that location. Earnie and Dian Dingle decided to learn to fly balloons and took flying lessons from Nick and Marv. Earnie and Dian progressed quickly through private pilot to commercial rating and joined SVBC in 1990.
In 1990 a hangar became available at Lancaster Airport and a lease was negotiated with the Airport Authority. Lancaster BalloonPort was incorporated in December 1990. Marv and Nick were aware that Jim Willauer was closing his balloon repair shop, so application was made to the FAA to establish a hot air balloon facility, with Jim to be the Chief Inspector and instructor while Nick studied balloon repair by attending classes given by the manufacturers and by on-job training to obtain his repairman license. In the fall of 1990, Earnie & Dian Dingle and Bruce Steiner joined in the effort to establish Lancaster Balloonport.
Eventually, Marv was appointed to chair the Lancaster Airport Authority and became inactive in the balloon companies. In the late 90s, Bruce obtained his FAA licensed repairman certification. Bruce has great skills in the electronics area, having been for 45 years an electronics engineer for the Bulova Company. Dian received her certificate at the same time.
Today the Susquehanna Valley Balloon Company is the division of the company that owns the balloons, flies passengers and gives flight instruction. The company has three active pilots (Nick, Earnie and Dian). Lancaster BalloonPort, Inc., is the division that maintains the repair shop, an FAA licensed Repair and Inspection facility. All four of the principals are FAA licensed to do repairs and the shop is usually busy with a repair or inspection.