Frequently asked questions
How high do we fly?
We typically fly within 500 feet of the surface, however sometimes we fly higher to catch winds that help get us to our final destination. When possible, we also try to do some contour flying, which is flying just above the tree tops which allows for spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes as well as wild life viewing.
How long is a flight?
Our typical flight lasts approximately 1 hour, give or take a few minutes depending on landing site opportunities. The whole experience from meeting your pilot at the launch site to post flight refreshements can last from 2 to 3 hours.
How do I dress for a flight?
We recommend wearing long pants and closed toe shoes - no flip flops or sandals. We also recommend that you dress in layers. It is always better to be dressed warmer than you think you should dress, than it is to be at flying altittude and wish you would have brought that jacket. You can always remove a layer of clothing during a flight and put it in the basket if you get too warm. We also recommend that you check what local temperatures will be on the morning of your flight or ask your pilot the night before the flight about temperatures in the morning so you can be prepared to dress for warmth and comfort.
What if I am afraid of heights?
Most people who are afraid of heights are just fine and no longer afraid within 5 minutes of leaving the ground. Also, if you are afraid of heights, let us know and we can plan to tailor your flight to mostly contouring the landscape (staying closer to the ground) to help you feel closer to the earth, which also helps those who are afraid of heights.
Where is our meeting location and where do we get dropped off after the flight?
You will be receiving a phone call the day before your flight with the exact time and location of your meeting. Your pilot and crew will meet you at the agreed upon time at either the Mammoth Site Parking lot ( located at 1800 US-18 BYP, Hot Springs, SD 57747) or at the Hot Springs Airport (located at 27858 US-385, Hot Springs, SD 57747). The forecast winds will determine which location is preffered. If we have winds out of the West, we will likely meet at the Mammoth Site. If we have winds out of the East, we will likely meet at the Hot Springs Airport. Again, your pilot will contact you the day before your flight with this information. Once you have completed your flight and you have landed, the ground crew will pick you up and bring you back to the launch site meeting location, where you parked your car.
What can I expect the morning of my flight?
You will again be contacted by your pilot approximately one hour before your flight, confirming flight plans and time, either by text message or other means discussed by your pilot the day before your flight. Sometimes forecasts change overnight and flights are cancelled due to unforeseen and unfavorable weather. If the weather is good, you will plan to meet your pilot as discussed. Once you arrive at the launch site, you will be asked to sign a liability waiver prior to boarding the hot air balloon. Our insurance company requires all passengers to sign liability waivers prior to flying.
What happens if the weather is bad for the day I booked my flight?
If the forecast weather is not favorable for conducting a flight, we will need to cancel or reschedule the flight to a mutually agreed upon date. If we are not able to reschedule the flight, then you will be reimbursed your $100 deposit.
I am planning a vacation and not sure which day would be best to fly. Any recommendations?
We recommend that you book your flight at the beginning of your stay in the Black Hills because sometimes the first date that is chosen may not have good weather for ballooning and you may have an opportunity to reschedule to another day if your schedule allows for it.