As of July 1, 2015, Calistoga Balloons is under new ownership! Founded by Robert Allen (Bob) in 2002, Calistoga Balloons is the only balloon company to call the spectacular northern Napa Valley home. In July, Bob turned the keys of his beloved Calistoga Balloons over to Gabe Gundling, owner and pilot at Napa Valley Balloons, Inc. and Lake Tahoe Balloons.
Bob will remain as an advisor to Calistoga Balloons on the Calistoga flight corridor. Having flown in and around Calistoga off-and-on for over 30 years, no one knows the land and locals better than Bob.
Between Gabe’s quality and customer service oriented approach, spectacular scenery, expert pilots and Bob's intimate knowledge of Calistoga, Calistoga Balloons strives to be the valley’s ultimate ballooning experience.
Daniel Claudon: Chief Pilot – I started flying airplanes at 16 years old. Little did I know then that much of my life would be spent traversing different parts of the world riding a bubble of hot air. My ballooning career started in 1987 flying in the Napa Valley. Five years later I accepted a 3 month contract in South Africa, pursuing my dream to fly over African animals. Those 3 months turned into ten fabulous years in Africa. Next, I flew a season in Canada. Africa kept pulling on my soul, so I accepted a position in Luxor, Egypt. Yes it was Africa, but I longed for the bush. Then, it was off to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania where I was chief pilot for Serengeti Balloon Safaris. I spent four years with lions walking through the garden of my home, and a life intimately connected to nature. To complete another dream, I took a job with a Tanzanian charter company flying a turbo prop, "Anything, anywhere, anytime". I survived a very steep learning curve in extreme mountain flying with fast changing tropical weather. During this time, my 50th birthday present was a baby boy. Everything changed! We returned to the U.S. a year later, and I have raised Paul by myself ever since. At ten years old, he already has 5 years ground crew experience!
Russ James: Pilot – As long time Napa Valley pilot, Russ has an intimate knowledge of how to fly balloons in the region. Russ shares his passion for ballooning with his wife and his daughter, both of whom are balloon pilots. When not flying balloons, Russ keeps up the family farm.
Calistoga Balloons flies only the safest and best equipment on the market! Our customers will enjoy a flight above the valley floor in a colorful state-of-the-art balloons that range in size from 140,000 cubic foot to 315,000 cubic foot!. While they are designed to carry more guests, we under load our balloons by 20% limit our baskets to a pilot and anywhere from 2 – 16 guests depending on the balloon.