Paul Costello & Connie Goodnow

Topeka, Kansas

 Billy Bob

Spirit of Topeka

The Purple Balloon


Paul first became interested in ballooning after reading about it in a magazine article in the early 1970's. Not long after that he had an opportunity to learn to fly, taking lessons from local instructor Chuck Tantillo.

Paul bought his first balloon, The Green Apple, in the mid '70's in partnership with Ruth Scholl and Lee Benson and has participated in every Huff 'n Puff since the rally was organized.  He later bought his own balloon, Nautilus, and was a regular sight in the skies around Topeka.  In the early '80's he was provided an opportunity to fly the then corporate owned Billy Bob balloon to advertise the Showbiz Pizza Place restaurants as they opened across the country.  He and his crew traveled to the east coast for a promotional tour and grew to appreciate the wide open spaces of Kansas where you could actually see something besides trees as you drive down the local roads.

Connie Goodnow is one of several students that Paul taught to fly over the years, and in addition to being founding members of the GPBC,  they both have their fixed wing licenses and enjoy flying their airplane when the weather isn't cooperating for balloon flights.

Following the closing of the local Showbiz franchise Billy Bob found a permanent home in their garage, right next to Spirit of Topeka which he had purchased in 1985.  Time had passed, and with Spirit no longer flying, in an effort to save space in the garage Billy Bob's basket was sold and it's envelope was retrofitted to fly over Spirit's basket making the pairing an Experimental Type Certified balloon system.  In 2012, Paul and Connie purchased  The Purple Balloon with the intention of keeping it in the Topeka skies.


Balloon Rides