Where are you located?
Our launch site is at Sportsman Airpark in the town of Newberg, OR just 35 minutes from Portland city limits. The exact address of our site for your navigation unit is 1050 Commerce Parkway Newberg, OR 97132. Note: Don't do a search for or enter "Sportsman Airpark" into your navigation unit-you'll end up at the wrong end of the airstrip!
How long should I plan on for the ballooning experience?
We usually tell our guests to plan on 2 to 2 1/2 hours for the whole experience. The major pieces are arrival and check-in, balloon inflation, the flight itself, balloon deflation, and the van ride back to the launch field.
How long is the flight?
The flight is approximately one hour long, depending on wind conditions and landing options. Plan to spend approximately two hours with us on your flight morning, including inflation, landing, and packing up the balloon.
How much does it cost?
Our standard pricing for shared rides is as follows:
- $240 per person for 0-5 adults
- $210 per person for 6+ adults
- $210 for children 13 and under
Our private balloon (2 passengers + pilot):
- $690 for two people
All our experiences last approximately two hours with the actual flight being approximately one hour long. Our most current pricing is available here.
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!
Are tips allowed?
Tips are appropriate and appreciated by your pilot and crew. Average gratuities range from $10 to $20 per passenger, but of course whether to give a gratuity and the amount is strictly up to you.
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
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.
What kinds of balloons do you fly?
We fly FAA-certified hot air balloons by Ultramagic, one 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 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. We do not fly in the rain. 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 about safety?
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 4 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. Certified repairmen annually inspect our balloons and we conduct daily scheduled maintenance requirements in-season. We truly believe in preventative maintenance to keep our equipment in top shape throughout the year and between annual inspections.
Our pilots hold FAA Commercial Certificates and attend safety seminars annually, insuring they are at the top of their game. We have been in business since 1989 and flown tens of thousands of passengers. Statistically speaking, the most dangerous part of your day will be driving to our launch location!
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.
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, we do occasionally have 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.
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.
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!
How many people can you carry?
On any given day we can fly up to 38 people. We have a total of 6 balloons and baskets, with baskets ranging in size from 2 passengers (excluding pilot) up to 10 passengers. 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 balloon gazing looking out at five other balloons flying with you.
Do you have a weight limit?
For group flights, each of 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.
Can I crew for Vista?
Yes, you can! Our crew are all volunteers. If you enjoy being up early and active, like being around balloons, would like to earn free flights and coffee, this might be a good fit for you. Find out more.
Can you make a lodging recommendation?
Our launch site is located in Newberg, OR, approximately 35 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 have a great relationship with the local Holiday Inn Express. They offer a 15% discount for Vista passengers as well as a flexible cancellation policy (you can cancel until 4:00pm on the day of arrival.)
This link will take you to the booking website with a discount code. You can also call 503-527-0303 and ask for Vista Adventures.
Some other accommodation options we recommend are below (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 Hills Resort (3 miles)
- University House Bed & Breakfast (2 miles)
- Youngberg Hill (22 miles)