Frequently Asked Questions and Useful Information
Where are you located?
Our launch site is at Sportsman Air Park located in the town of Newberg, OR just 30 minutes from Portland city limits. The exact address of our site is 1050 Commerce Parkway Newberg, OR 97132. Note: Don't do a search for or enter "Sportsman Air Park" into your navigation unit-you'll end up at the wrong end of the airstrip!
What should I wear and bring with me?
Any morning can be brisk, so dress appropriately and wear walking shoes. Don't bundle up too much though; layers are advised. Once in the air, you'll feel no wind (the balloon is in the wind), and the 15 million BTU propane burner will reflect enough heat to keep you plenty comfortable. Other than that, bring your camera!
How much does it cost?
Our regular pricing is as follows: For shared flights, $220 per person for 0-3 adults, $199 per person for 4-9, and $189 per person for 10+. Children 12 and under are $145 per child. The experience lasts approximately three hours with a 1-hour flight and includes breakfast. Our private balloon (2 passengers + pilot) is $625 total. Please note that at any time we might be running specials whereby our pricing is lower than detailed here. Our most current pricing is available here.
How long should I plan on for the ballooning experience?
We usually tell our guests to plan on 3 to 3 1/2 hours for the whole experience. The major pieces are arrival and check-in, balloon inflation, the flight itself, balloon deflation, the van ride back to the launch field, and then last but not least, a toast and breakfast!
What kinds of balloons do you fly?
We fly FAA-certified hot air balloons by Ultramagic and Cameron, two of the world's top manufacturers of hot air balloons. Our balloons, like most aircraft, go through a thorough safety inspection annually and every 100 hours of flight, per FAA regulations.
How many people can you fly?
On any given day we can fly up to 46 people. We have a total of 7 balloons and baskets, with baskets ranging in size from 2 passengers (excluding pilot) up to 10 passengers (excluding pilot). Variation in passenger weights and ambient temperature can affect how many people we can carry. Ballooning is a rare activity where a crowd is a good thing: more balloons to look at! There are few things more gorgeous and exhilarating than being in a hot air gazing looking out at six other balloons flying with you.
Do you have a weight limit?
For group flights, each of our our balloons has a total weight limit but no weight limit for individual passengers. We do require, however, that each of our guests be able to climb into the basket with the assistance of a step stool and remain standing for the duration of the 1-hour flight. Our private, two-passenger balloons have a weight limit of 225lbs per passenger, and on very hot days that limit may be lower.
Do you have a minimum age or size?
While we don't have a minimum age, we require that our passengers be at least 40" tall so that they are able to see over the side of the basket and enjoy their experience, in addition to being able to ensure that they remain safe in (rare) windy landings. Infants and toddlers in front packs ("Baby Bjorns") or backpacks are not permitted.
On what days do you fly?
We fly most weekends between April and October, and add weekdays as the summer progresses and the weather improves. You can find our flight calendar online by selecting Book a Flight and selecting either the shared experience or the private flight.
What's for breakfast?
In short, great food. Rogue Gourmet caters our breakfast with a daily changing menu. You'll find a mix of traditional breakfast dishes, as well as lunch and dessert options. We precede the breakfast with a traditional balloonist toast, and have a selection of beverages available as well. You can see a typical menu here.
How many people can your balloons carry?
Our 7 balloons range in size from being able to carry 2 guests through to 10 guests. On any given day we can fly up to 50 people. The total weight of all the passengers in addition to the number of passenger is also something we consider.
How does weather affect ballooning?
Balloons are best flown in calm surface winds (less than ~6 miles per hour) and dry conditions. While in the air, the balloons become a part of the wind and as such passengers don't feel the wind at all. On the ground, however, balloons require calm winds for the inflation process as balloons are essentially giant sails that have a tendency to want to blow away while they are being inflated. While rain makes ballooning unpleasant (passengers, equipment, and landing fields are wet), it's not generally a safety issue. From a temperature standpoint, balloons actually fly better in cooler temperatures, but in this part of Oregon there's just about no temperature that would make flying difficult for us.
What happens if there's a weather cancellation?
Flying is our passion and our business, so we want to fly as much (likely more!) than you do. However, nature does not always cooperate and at times we have to cancel our flights. While we always try to cancel as soon as possible based on a "credible" weather forecast, in very rare instances we will have to make a last minute call to cancel on the flight day itself. We take safety very seriously, and if we have any doubt whether or not we should cancel, we will always err on the safe side. Your flight reservation is fully refundable if caused by a weather-related cancellation, though we would love for you to simply re-book at a date in the future that works for you. Please note that our ability to re-book you is based on availability.
What is your cancellation policy?
Reservations are refundable or changeable for any reason up to 72 hours prior to your scheduled flight. No refunds will be issued for no-shows, arrivals after balloons have departed, or cancellations within a 72-hour window. For groups of 20 or more additional terms apply: 1) a 50% penalty will be applied for cancellations within 1 week of flight; and 2) reservations are nonrefundable with 72 hours of scheduled flight.
Is ballooning safe?
We fly state-of-the-art hot air balloon systems built by the world's two leading manufacturers of balloons. The special T-partition baskets we use with our 6 larger balloons were originally developed for safari flights in Africa where harsh conditions make standard open baskets inadequate. Our balloons are subject to the same rigorous FAA inspection requirements as is required of all aircraft and our pilots hold FAA Commercial Certificates. We have been in business for 28 years and flown tens of thousands of passengers. Statistically speaking, the most dangerous part of your day will be driving to our launch location!
Can you make a lodging recommendation?
Our launch site is located in Newberg, OR, approximately 30 minutes from Portland city limits. As such, just about any hotel in downtown Portland would be an option for you if you are coming far away. If you'd like to stay close to our launch site, we can recommend (listed alphabetically):
- The Allison Inn (3 miles from launch site)
- Abbey Road Farm Bed & Breakfast (10 miles)
- Best Western Newberg Inn (1 mile)
- Black Walnut Inn Bed & Breakfast (7 miles)
- Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast (5 miles)
- DreamGiver's Inn (7 miles)
- Dundee Manor Bed & Breakfast (5 miles)
- University House Bed & Breakfast (2 miles)
- Youngberg Hill (22 miles)
Can you recommend any restaurants nearby?
Our launch site is located in Newberg, OR, approximately 30 minutes from Portland city limits. If you are staying nearby and looking for dining options, we can recommend:
Can you recommend other things to do nearby?
Yes! And there are many!
Wineries we like:
- Argyle Winery
- August Cellars
- Bergstrom Wines
- Domaine Drouhin
- Owen Roe
- Rex Hill
- Stoller Family Estate
- Youngberg Hill
Can we have people join us just for breakfast?
Yes! If you have people in your party that don't want to fly, but do want to join you for breakfast we can accommodate that as a part of your reservation for a small additional charge.
I'm pregnant. Can I fly?
We don't recommend ballooning for pregnant women. In very rare circumstances, you may experience a "high wind landing" which could result in you being bumped around in the basket. We wouldn't want to risk any injury to your baby...come and fly with us after the child is born when you will most need a break!
I have other questions!
Please contact us at (503) 625-7385 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
At what time do you fly?
Our balloons each fly once per day, shortly after sunrise. This time of the day provides for the calmest wind conditions and an overall superior experience. The specific time will depend on the time of year you book. The arrival time for your flight date is available here.