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About Us

Western Horizons Hot Air Balloons offers a unique adventure and an opportunity to experience the stunning panoramic views of the Southern Black Hills from one of our beautiful hot air balloons!   On our flights, you may see deer, wild turkeys, waterfowl, and other wildlife.  Upon safely landing, we will celebrate your flight with the complimentary traditional champagne toast (or non-alcoholic substitute), followed by a light breakfast while listening to a little bit of ballooning history from your pilot.  You will also receive a personalized flight certificate and digital (electronic) copies of pictures taken of you in flight.

We meet our passengers just before sunrise at one of 2 locations (we will meet either at the Mammoth Site or the Hot Springs Airport) depending on the direction of the winds.  Your pilot will contact you the day before your flight with this information.  Our typical flight lasts approximately one hour.  The entire experience from pre-flight set up to post-flight refreshments will last from 2 to 3 hours.

Our Pilots

Pilot Petra
Originally from Czechoslovakia, Petra Wilson is an FAA certified commercial hot air balloon pilot and flight instructor.  She is also a U.S. Navy Veteran who has been flying balloons for over a decade and is the founder of the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival that occurs each August in Hot Springs, SD.  She is the owner and chief pilot of Western Horizons Hot Air Balloons.  When more than one balloon is scheduled to fly in a morning, Dave and/or Rich will fly the additional balloons.

Dave Christensen is an FAA certified commercial hot air balloon pilot, who has been flying hot air balloons since 1984.   He and his family have been very involved in ballooning and he is proud to have a daughter that is a third-generation hot air balloon pilot.

Pilot Dave Christensen
Pilot Rich Olstad

Rich Olstad is a fifth generation Fall River County resident and an FAA certified commercial hot air balloon pilot.  His vast knowledge of the area suits him well for flying in the Southern Black Hills.  


Our Balloons

Our Balloons Anchor
inside a balloon
milking a balloon

They say BIG things come in small packages, and we will prove just that!  You will be amazed as these big, beautiful balloons fill up the sky with vibrant colors!  After your flight, you will have an opportunity to help deflate and pack up these colorful balloons, an experience that will leave you feeling astonished as to how such an enormous thing can fit back into such a small package.










Our hot air balloons are federally registered aircraft and are inspected annually by an FAA certified repair station.  Each of our balloons has a different carrying capacity.  We have balloons ranging in size from 69,000 cubic feet, which can carry 1 to 2 passengers, all the way up to 120,000 cubic feet, which can carry up to 6 passengers or up to 1000 pounds of maximum passenger weight.   If you have more than 6 people in your group, please give us a call to reserve multiple balloons to fly together for your larger group.  Private VIP flights available upon request for an additional fee.


Please be prepared to provide your group's combined total weight when making your reservations, so that we can select the right hot air balloon for you.


Western Horizons Hot Air Balloons
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