Lake Tahoe Balloons

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about us

“CHARMING CREW, STUNNING VISTA, AMAZING EXPERIENCE”

Lake Tahoe Balloons was established in 1992 and has successfully operated flights above Lake Tahoe for well over two decades. We are committed to providing Lake Tahoe visitors, and locals alike, with a world class adventure by placing a very high emphasis on customer service, safety and quality.

With decades of experience in Aviation, Marine and Hospitality Operations, each and everyone of our staff offers something unique and valuable to our company.

Our Staff

greg collard

Captain of the Tahoe Flyer

Greg has been a licensed Captain for over 30 years holding a U.S.C.G. 100 ton masters license and a licensed pilot for over 25 years of various aircraft. Aircraft are his primary hobby while boating has been his livelihood. He has spent most of his time designing, building, renovating and operating boats of many different styles. He has consulted for, designed and owned passenger boats and tour companies in New York, Michigan and Florida. He has built his own 50 passenger paddlewheel boat offering tours on the St. Johns river in Florida and most recently has been purchasing and renovating Amphibious Military Vehicles for tour company resale.

Gabe gundling

Pilot

Born and raised in the Napa Valley. After watching and encouraging balloons to land on his parent’s field as a child, Gabe swore he’d be a balloon pilot when he grew up. He began his ballooning career as chase crew with Napa Valley Balloons in 2003 and earned his commercial balloon pilot's certificate in 2004. After buying out the remaining partner in 2012, Gabe became the sole owner of Napa Valley Balloons, Inc.. Looking for an excuse to spend more time in Tahoe and having the confidence of knowing he had the industries best office and support staff, Gabe purchased Lake Tahoe Balloons in 2014. He now delights in sharing Lake Tahoe, one of the Earth’s most scenic places, with guests from all around the world.

The Crew

One of a Kind!

Greg, Blake, George, Keith and Mike. All are Tahoe residents and all are expert Lake Tahoe Balloons crew.  Greg is the full time Captain of the Tahoe Flyer drawing from several years of experience with Lake Tahoe Balloons. Recently, Blake has also earned his boat captains license and can Captain the Tahoe Flyer from time to time as well under the careful watch of Greg. All of our crew are experts in the region and happy to share their knowledge of the regions highlights, hiking trails and beauty.

Tahoe Flyer

The Tahoe Flyer is a 21 ton, 120 x 22 foot, double decker, Catamaran Style aircraft carrier vessel. It was specifically designed and built to inflate and launch hot air balloons off of its upper deck. It is currently the only vessel of its type in the World and is regulated under the US Coast Guard. 

With speeds of up to 16 mph, the Tahoe Flyer acts as the hot air balloon’s chase vessel, following the direction of the balloon as it makes it’s way around the Lake. Catching the balloon and bringing her safely back down onto the upper deck of the Tahoe Flyer is a safe and effortless maneuver and a once in a lifetime sightseeing adventure. 

It has been said by many of our guests that just actually watching the crew and the operations of inflating, launching, landing and deflating, is worth the trip all by itself! To further accommodate our guests, when you are not participating in the Hot Air Balloon activities on the upper deck, you may enjoy our continental breakfast and view our merchandise all set up on the lower deck. An area for relaxing, private bathroom and comfortable seating are all available to you downstairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do You Fly?

Our Typical flight season is from mid-may through mid-October. Flights depart shortly after sunrise when the earth is still cool and winds are calm.

How Big are Your Hot Air Balloons?

Balloons vary in size however our largest balloon can carry up to 12 passengers. The envelope is large enough that it could fit approximately 240,000 basket balls inside of it and is nearly 100ft tall!

What is the Hot Air Balloon Made Of?

The envelope is typically constructed using fire-treated nylon or dacron that meet specific manufacturer requirements. This material is lightweight but very strong. The baskets are made of rattan, each one individually woven by hand onto a rigid frame.

How High Can We Go?

Our flights over Lake Tahoe start at an elevation of 6, 200 feet above sea level. We are able to obtain elevations up to 10,000 feet above sea level when conditions permit offering spectacular views of all of the Sierras and on a clear day even the peaks of Yosemite. If you have a fear of heights you need not be concerned. You will not experience any vertigo feelings because you are moving with the wind currents which mean there is no rocking or swaying or feeling of movement.

Where Do We Land?

Believe it or not, we land back on the Tahoe Flyer! The worlds only USGS Certified Balloon Launch and Recovery Vessel. Our pilot’s need only to bring the balloon close to the waters surface where the "Tahoe Flyer" can position itself under the balloon offering a landing surface.

Is Hot Air Ballooning Safe?

Absolutely! Statistically, flight is the safest form of transportation and ballooning is statistically, the safest form of flight. Believe it or not, getting in and out of the basket is the most dangerous part of the whole flight! Lake Tahoe Balloons has skilled and experienced pilots and crew and an impeccable safety records so you are in good hands.

What Should I Wear?

Lake Tahoe tends to be very cool in the early mornings so we suggest you dress in comfortable layered clothing with the expectation that you will be climbing into and out of the basket and standing for a length of time. Comfortable walking shoes and a hat are also recommended and of course don’t forget you camera for the breathtaking scenery, your sunglasses to protect against the sun and for those more sun sensitive guests, bring some sunscreen as you are exposed to the elements during the entire flight.

Can I Take My Children?

We encourage families to participate in hot air ballooning. There are a few issues to consider before deciding to take your children. The sides of the basket are approximately 4’ high; therefore, children who have yet to reach this height will not be participating in the beautiful views and may become discouraged. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations do not permit parents to hold or carry their child during flight. Another consideration, the burners directly above your head will be burning flames up to 10’-15’ feet at any given time. This tends to frighten children of younger ages. Because of these reasons and our previous experience, children under the age of 6-7 are discouraged. Please contact one of our sales representatives should you have further questions regarding this matter.

Can Anyone Fly?

We ask that pregnant mothers and guests taking medications please consult their physician before flying in a Hot Air Balloon.

The adventure Begins Here!

Season: May 15 through October 16 – BOOK NOW!
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