It may be surprising, but most people in this sport are not pilots. In fact, less than 25 % of the people are active pilots. In Finland we have about 60 pilots and more than 200 balloonists. When you know more about the sport, the reasons become understandable.
To launch our average 77 balloon requires four people. When the envelope is laid out on the ground two members of the crew hold the mouth of the balloon open while the pilot operates the burner. The fourth person, called the Crown Crew, holds a rope attached to the top of the balloon to prevent the envelope from moving into the vertical position too quickly.
When the balloon lifts off, the pilot and one or two members of the ground crew will fly with it while the remainder will follow in the retrieve (sometimes called chase) vehicle.