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Balloon Ride in the Wine Country from Santa Rosa
Balloon Ride in the Santa Rosa Wine Country
Balloon Ride in the Wine Country -- Experience the Romance of Ballooning. Come fly with us in a hot air balloon over the beautiful Sonoma Valley. Let the breeze usher you along the corridors of grape vines and between the mountains of one of the most magnificent valleys on earth.
We inflate the balloon in the crisp pre-dawn air and launch at sunrise when the winds are soft and light.
Once aloft and floating on a sea of tranquility, you will experience the spirit of flight. As you drift along there is no movement of air, for you have become the wind. Above it all, your pilot and host will welcome questions and serve as your guide for points of local interest and the Valley's extraordinary beauty.
This tour is also wheelchair accessible.
Cancellation Policy: There are no refunds. All sales are final.
Change Fee Policy: If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.
Balloon Ride in the Wine Country Description
The beginning of your morning
Your morning will start with an early wake up (what time is it??!!) call from your pilot to get you up and going. We meet at the Sonoma County Airport just outside of Santa Rosa. We will send you directions to get you there when you set up your flight. From there, we will travel to the best launch site available to ensure a scenic and safe flight. The flight will last approximately one hour and can range from 3 to 10 miles depending on the wind currents.
What should we wear?
The best way to go is with layered, natural fiber clothing. Long pants and sturdy shoes are also the fashion norm in ballooning; no sandals or shorts yet, save those for later. Our mornings are cool but soon warm up as the day progresses.
Let's get ready to Fly!
When we get to the launch field, we (the pilot and crew, but please help us, as that is part of the fun) lay out the balloon and cold inflate it. This is done by blowing cold air into the envelope (the big colorful bag). When it is time to go hot (whoa!), hot air from the burners (heat maker) is put into the balloon and it stands up ready for flight! Time to jump in, get a safety/orientation briefing and lets go flying!
Where are we going today?
This is a frequently asked question, which is usually answered with, "Where Mother Nature sends us." Actually, prior to meeting, the pilot will have kept a close watch on the weather patterns and will have gotten a weather briefing from the F.A.A. Flight Service Station. With that knowledge it is determined where to set-up and in which general direction we will go. The winds at altitude actually travel in "layers" and it is these "layers" that are used to steer the balloon around the heavens. Pretty cool!
What will we see, hear and experience while flying?
Depending on the altitude, you may see the Pacific Ocean, look into the Napa and Sonoma Valleys or on a clear day, the buildings in San Francisco 60 miles away! At lower altitudes we will fly just above the grapevines and see rabbits, deer, and other wildlife. We may even dip into a lake or pond for a "Splash and Dash," When the pilot is not adding heat to the balloon, you will hear peace and quiet. You will also feel the unique experience of looking out all four "windows." No other form of flight offers such oneness with nature.
Well, it's been wonderful, but it's not over yet!
Our balloons carry fewer passengers per balloon. Our gondolas are rated to carry eight, but we only fly six passengers, which provides the personalized service and comfort you deserve. Groups can easily be flown with multiple balloons. Private flights for two are also available, subject to availability. This is especially important if this is a special occasion such as a marriage proposal, a wedding (we love doing weddings), an anniversary or a birthday celebration! Or just for the enjoyment of the oldest form of flight known to man.
After we land and pack up, you'll be taken to quiet and beautiful setting for a very unique and personalized champagne brunch. You'll be served on hand-painted plates with pictures of the balloon you flew in! Drink champagne from beautiful glasses. Eat chocolate dipped strawberries (when in season) and other fresh fruit. The list goes on. We'll tell you the story about the history of ballooning and wish a toast to your special occasion and flight. A personalized flight certificate and cloisonne pin are yours to keep.
A word on Safety
Our F.A.A. certified pilots/instructors have thousands of hours of training and flight experience. Safety seminars are attended every year to be constantly vigil to any new safety concerns relating to balloon operations. If the conditions at pre-flight launch are not favorable, we will not fly. Your safety and comfort are our main concern. All federal aviation rules and regulations are observed during our flight operations. The pilot goes through a pre-flight checklist before each flight to ensure the balloon is ready for flight. Also, the balloon itself goes through an annual inspection to ensure its airworthiness. By the way, ballooning is the safest form of aviation, but it is the pilot-in-command who's attitude towards a safe and enjoyable flight that makes the difference. We are determined to be the best in the area.
Top Ten Things that make us Unique
1. Excellent safety record in 18 years of flying the Sonoma County area and beyond.
2. We fly the newest, roomiest, and well-maintained balloon equipment in the area.
3. We carry the fewest passengers per balloon, ensuring a comfortable flight experience.
4. The majority of our flights follow a more scenic flight path than other operators in the area.
5. Special gourmet brunch included after the flight served at a beautiful winery or park setting.
6. Our ground transportation vehicles are in current and full compliance with the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol. Our balloons are also in full compliance with Federal Aviation Administration requirements for safe operation.
7. A personalized flight certificate and cloisonne pin of the balloon is presented to each passenger.
8. Compliant with Sonoma County Risk Management requirements.
9. Honest and professional service. No false statements; pretend awards; hidden costs; extra fees, taxes or charges.
10. If flight is cancelled due to weather, no cost to you of any kind.
The most personalized Ballooning Experience in the Sonoma Wine Country...for unsurpassable honesty, integrity, quality, and attention to detail, this is the choice of visitors from around the world. We fly the newest Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) certified balloon equipment in the area and our uniformed, professional staff will provide the most memorable, first class experience possible.
What time do we meet?
We meet about thirty minutes before sunrise. Therefore, times do vary throughout the year. Ranging from 5:30 am to 7:00 am. Please call us at 888-881-3309 with the date you are inquiring about, and we will let you know the meeting time.
Why do we meet so early?
Just before sunrise is when the weather is the coolest and the winds are the calmest. This is the best time for ballooning.
Where do we launch from?
Typically we launch from a site in Sonoma. Winds and fog can sometimes force us to find alternate launch sites.
Can we bring cameras and video cameras?
Yes! Bring lots and lots of film!
How do you get the balloon inflated?
A fan is used to blow cool air into the balloon. Later the burners are used to heat the air as the balloon lies on the ground. Gradually the balloon will rise to an upright position.
Is it quiet in the balloon?
When the burner is off, it is extremely quiet. Quiet is one of the most enjoyable aspects of ballooning.
What fabric is used for the balloon?
Most common is Dacron or rip-stop nylon.
Does the basket sway when flying?
The baskets do not sway since the balloon moves with the wind.
Where do we meet?
We will send you the departure point when we confirm your reservation.
This tour does not provide hotel pick-up or drop-off; you meet the balloon at the launch site in Sonoma County. Child price applies to children ages 6 to 12. Sorry, no children under the age of 6. Tour includes sunrise balloon ride and champagne brunch. Price is per person. Please reserve online, or call us toll-free at 888-881-3309.
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