A bus driver and balloonist.
SetraWorld Magazine

A bus driver and balloonist.

Rouven G. found bus driving and hot-air ballooning by chance. Both became a true passion.

Rouven G. loves an eventful day – in the cockpit of a comfortable Setra coach or floating high up in the basket of a hot air balloon. In both settings, he enjoys travelling in style and constantly gaining new perspectives.

Sometimes it is the chance events that change life over the long term. Such is the case for Rouven G. This bank clerk came by both his job as a coach driver, and his dream hobby, ballooning, more by accident than design. As a member of the voluntary fire brigade, the young Rouven also took responsibility for organising excursions. This meant he regularly visited the depot of “Fahr mit” Hoffmann Reisen, one of the most renowned coach travel companies in the Heidelberg region.

Over time, he not only got to know the coach drivers better, but also the company owner, Theo Hoffmann, and began to wonder what it might feel like to be sitting behind the wheel… Curiosity got the better of him. Once he had got his coach licence, he promptly finished driver training and set off on his first voyage shortly after – as the driver of a Setra coach for “Fahr mit” Hoffmann Reisen.

Setra bus driver portraits: Rouven G.



BUS(Y)LIFE takes you onboard the bus-community and tells great stories from the life of the bus drivers. This time we met Rouven, a bus- and hot-air balloon driver. For him, it isn’t primarily about arriving fast at the destination but about having satisfied customers. The Setra-driver talks about similarities between bus and balloon and that sometimes the most beautiful routes are right in front of your door.

Click here to get to the video

Just as unexpectedly as coach driving became a passion in Rouven’s life, the 43-year-old discovered his dream hobby, and not long ago. His fire brigade unit was called in to help a hot air balloon crew out of a tricky situation. A bumpy landing had left the balloon tangled in a hedge and the crew were at their wits’ end as to what to do. Rouven G. and his unit carefully freed the delicate fabric, centimetre by centimetre, from the bushes. And successfully: they got the balloon envelope free without any damage. After this event, G. felt the same curiosity as he had when thinking about coach driving. It soon became clear that he would get no peace until he himself took to the skies in a balloon. 

“What is really unique in coach driving is the direct contact you have with your guests, for whom you are the pilot, safety officer, navigator and entertainer, all in one.”

Rouven G.

He was quickly able to make contact with the Kampmann balloon team. Soon, chief pilot Michael Kampmann will be training Rouven G. as a balloon pilot in his own right. Whenever Rouven takes part in setting up a balloon, you can immediately see how deep his passion for these lighter-than-air craft is. With great concentration, the future pilot tests the function of the burner. He throws jets of flame several meters into the evening sky from four gas canisters in the basket. The balloon is then fastened to the basket with steel cables. A huge ventilator begins to fill the 1300 square metres or so of balloon fabric with warm summer air. Just a little later, the balloon rises in full glory: all systems are go.

When, minutes later, G. finally takes off, you can clearly see all traces of strain vanish from his face. In only ten minutes, the balloon rises to 1,200 metres and the pilot is surrounded by an unimaginable stillness. You cannot even feel a breath of wind, as the balloon itself moves with the air currents. An enthralling feeling of weightlessness and freedom takes hold as Rouven G. floats slowly up into the glowing evening sky. 

Up here, in this unbelievable silence, only interrupted by the regular bursts of flame from the burner, Rouven G. explains what he finds so valuable in both driving his coach and piloting the balloon. “It is an elevated means of travel. The Setra and the hot air balloon really have a lot in common in this regard.” The two modes of transport also share a soft, weightless motion and restrained calm. Of course, the modest comforts of a balloon basket cannot come close to the proverbial luxuries of a Setra ComfortClass vehicle. 

“It is an elevated means of travel. The Setra and the hot air balloon really have a lot in common in this regard.”

Rouven G.

Another thing Rouven G. values about both modes of transport is the fact that you don’t know at the start what the trip will bring. He certainly cannot forget the day he prevented an imminent passenger mutiny brought on by rumbling stomachs. Without any further ado, he rode up to the drive-in counter of a burger restaurant at a service station and ordered 50 hamburgers from the astonished staff. “These are the moments in professional life that I get up for in the morning, curious and excited about the adventures to come, ready to seize the day.”

However adventurous, Rouven G. always puts safety first – as a fireman, driver and balloon pilot. To see him at the wheel of his Setra ComfortClass S 511 HD, casting an expert eye on the road and keeping firmly on course, one thing becomes clear: it is not just by chance that he has driven his passengers safely to their destination and back without a single accident to date.

Welcome to Setra Buses

Please note: on our International Page we present the German product range. The content does not apply to all countries and certain features or descriptions may not be available in your country.

To visit a country specific page please select from the list.

Should you have any questions regarding Setra buses or our products, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to receive your comments.

Contact us by email