The Pilots

Petra Wilson is a certified commercial hot air balloon pilot and flight instructor.  She has established an excellent safety record and prides herself on offering a safe and enjoyable experience to all who fly.  She is a U.S. Navy Veteran who moved to Hot Springs, South Dakota with her family in 2015. She has been flying balloons for over 5 years and has well over 250 hours of flight time.  Petra is also the founder of the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival, where she is the Balloonmeister, directing all flight activities during the festival each year. The festival was awarded the 2017 Special Achievement award by Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association. Petra also received the Director’s Award from the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce at their 2018 Dinner and Awards ceremony.  Petra is the primary pilot of Western Horizons Hot Air Balloons.  When two balloons are booked for a larger party, Rich Olstad will be the pilot of the second balloon. 
Rich Olstad is a fifth generation Fall River County resident and hot air balloon pilot.  His vast knowledge of the area  suits him well for flying in the Southern Black Hills.  Rich was introduced to ballooning by Petra, when she moved to the area.  When Rich is not ballooning, he is the Southern Hills Culligan Man. 
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