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.
Born and raised in Baltimore Maryland, Greg has enjoyed a passion for all things outdoors since a very young age. The grand California playground and landscapes drew him to Tahoe in 2008, a decision that has left him with no regrets. When he isn't captaining the Tahoe Flyer, you might catch a glimpse of him flying down Tahoe slops on his snowboard or hiking the local mountains with his two dogs. Greg's Lake Tahoe Balloons career began as boat/balloon crew in 2010. After several years of training under one of the Lake's most experienced captains, he was promoted to boat captain in 2015 making him the full-time captain of the world's smallest aircraft carrier. His love for his work, if you can call it work, and his enthusiasm for Lake Tahoe Balloons is hard to miss. As a semi-pro snowboarder in the winter months, an avid rock climber and hiker in the summer, Greg is a wealth of knowledge on the best places to hike, visit and eat while in Tahoe. If you're lucky, he might even tell you where you can find the best $1 tacos in the Tahoe Basin!
A Las Vegas native, Sheldon began flying balloons in 2003 and has since amassed more than 2400 hours as a hot air balloon pilot. He has flown balloons of all shapes and sizes all over the world and is proud to have maintained a perfect safety record. Sheldon's passion for ballooning has taken him to balloon festivals around the globe including The Great Reno Balloon Race, Taiwan Balloon Festival, Cielo Magico in Santiago, Mexico, and The International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM - recognized as the Olympics of ballooning. As a professional balloon pilot, he flew commercial balloon rides in Las Vegas before making the move to Lake Tahoe Balloons. With the spectacular Lake Tahoe views, the world's only hot air balloon aircraft carrier to land on and his undying passion for hot air ballooning, Sheldon looks forward to sharing this one-of-a-kind adventure with you!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We ask that pregnant mothers and guests taking medications please consult their physician before flying in a Hot Air Balloon.