Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information about flying with Black Hills Balloons!
As in all forms of aviation, safety comes first. And even during these challenging times, it is no different.
Complimentary masks and hand sanitizer are always available, and balloons are sanitized daily.
Our cancellation policy remains lenient, allowing a full refund if canceled 72 hours before your scheduled flight.
What happens once I reserve a flight?
The Day Before:
The evening prior to your reserved flight, we ask that you check your email or call 605-673-2520 to confirm the weather status and meeting time. If you have any questions at this time, we’ll be happy to answer them.
The Day Of:
On the morning of your flight, you’ll meet your pilot and crew, park and lock your vehicle, and travel to the launch site in one of our passenger vans. Upon arrival, our ground crew will unload the balloon and prepare the equipment for inflation. After a quick pilot-passenger briefing, the balloon will be ready to inflate. The inflation process takes approximately 20 minutes and when ready, your pilot will signal for you to jump in. Your flight over the hills will last approximately 1 hour (based on weather and available landing sites) while viewing local wildlife, gorgeous landscapes, and a beautiful Black Hills sunrise. Flight altitude varies daily, from treetops to a few thousand feet; allowing for the best views and steerage to the best available landing site. Upon landing, the balloon ground crew will quickly pack up the aircraft, while you and your pilot toast with champagne and the traditional Balloonists prayer.
Where and when do we meet?
We meet approximately a half-hour before sunrise. It can vary from 5:00 am to 7:30 am depending on the time of year; make sure you check via email or phone the evening before your flight.
Pilots meet passengers at the Black Hills Balloons Hangar, located at 747 Mt Rushmore Rd, Custer SD 57730. It is centrally located in the town of Custer, easy to find, with plenty of street parking nearby.
Custer is located just miles from Rapid City, Mount Rushmore National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Monument, and more. And just hours from South Dakota’s Badlands National Park, Wyoming’s Devils Tower National Monument, and other beautiful landmark locations. It’s a perfect home base for your Black Hills stay!
How long is the flight?
Your flight over the hills will last approximately one hour (based on weather and available landing sites). At times, flights can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Hot air balloons fly at sunrise because it’s when the winds and weather conditions are most stable. Not to mention, Sunrise is the most beautiful time of day.
What should I wear?
Dress for a hike in the woods. Closed-toed shoes and layers are recommended. NO OPENED-TOED SHOES. During the flight, the temperature will be no different than what you feel on the ground. A quick weather check can prepare you for the highs and lows of the day. Dress for the low (before sunrise) and you’ll be in good shape.
What can I bring along?
A camera, of course! Also, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are recommended.
How high do we go?
Flight altitude varies daily, from treetops to a few thousand feet; allowing for the best views and steerage to the best available landing site.
Will I suffer from motion sickness?
Not likely. Hot air balloons go with the wind so there is very little sensation of movement. If you close your eyes, the balloon can gain hundreds of feet in elevation without notice.
Are there any restrictions as to whom can fly?
Due to insurance restrictions, we cannot fly pregnant women or children under 4. We also do not recommend flying if you have a broken bone or a recent injury. Please call and discuss any potential health restrictions prior to booking.
How many can fly?
Our balloons vary in size from 4 passengers to 12, giving us the opportunity to fly the balloon(s) best suited for the number of passengers booked each day. So whether you are a couple celebrating a birthday or a family reunion of 10, you’ll have the opportunity to fly together. Our largest balloons are outfitted with baskets that are divided into compartments, so each passenger will have a perfect view during the flight. Many times passengers who met that morning, join each other for breakfast after the flight, making fast friends while in the air.
What if I have to cancel my flight?
If you need to cancel or postpone your flight, we require 72 hours notice via phone or email. You will receive a full refund. If you do not provide sufficient notice or you do not show up for your scheduled flight, you will not receive a refund.
Is it ALWAYS flyable?
We wish! Ballooning is weather-dependent. Meaning, we only fly when the conditions are perfect for flight. If Mother Nature does not allow and we are forced to postpone your flight, it is only with your safety in mind. We have a 100% safety record and if in the opinion of our pilots, weather conditions are not suitable for safe flight operations, we will postpone your flight.
Because we want every opportunity to get you in the air, we recommend you provide a backup date when securing your reservation. Choosing a day early in your Black Hills visit will allow flexibility IF the weather does not cooperate on your scheduled day. If the weather forces us to cancel your flight and you are not able to re-book, your flight will be fully refundable.
How safe is it?
Safety is our highest priority. It’s so important in fact, we dedicated a full page to answer this question. Please visit SAFETY for more information. Black Hills Balloons is one of the most established, safety-focused balloon companies in the United States. We have been making memories for 35 years and hope to continue the tradition for 30 more!
Are there any other fees?
No, there are no additional fees! We take pride in advertising the price as is, without any additional fees. On the day of your flight, tee shirts and other merchandise are available, if you are interested. And tips, although never expected, are greatly appreciated by our hard-working ground crew.
What other aspects of ballooning are you involved in?
In addition to flying Summer flights for visitors and locals in the Black Hills area, our pilots are heavily involved in training new balloon pilots. We believe the success of the sport begins with new, well-trained pilots; actively taking on students, in-flight training, and organizing an annual safety seminar for surrounding pilots and crew. We can state proudly that we have participated in training nearly all the pilots in the immediate area, believing that training and continued education is important to our sport.
Additionally, BHB owners Keely and Damien are FAA certified repairmen under Prairie Sky Inc, providing maintenance and annual inspections to registered balloons across the state. If you are a balloon pilot looking for a repair station, please give us a call. We’re happy to assist.