Up & Away Ballooning has delighted in sharing Sonoma's spectacular wine country views for over two decades. We pride ourselves in our impeccable safety record and in being Sonoma County's safest balloon company option. With safety and customer service as our core value, our goal is to create an experience that you will cherish for a lifetime!
Pilot: Mike Kijak
Mike starting ballooning in 1993. At the end of 1999 he was laid off his “real job” and created Up & Away Ballooning. In 2015, Mike and and his wife Patty sold the business and moved to OR to enjoy “retirement”. Well, retirement wasn't nearly as fun as ballooning so now they're back in the area, and we are delighted to have Mike rejoin the Up & Away team to continue sharing his love of ballooning with our guests. When he's not ballooning for us, Mike enjoys competing at some of the local balloon rallies. In 2022, he beat out 40+ competitors and took first place at the Great Reno Balloon Race!
Pilot: David Dunrud
David Dunrud Jr grew up around the sport of ballooning. His aunt, who has now flown balloons for over 35 years, introduced him to balloons at two years old. It was through her, that David's curiosity in ballooning grew. By age 11, David was crewing balloons for his aunt in Napa Valley and by 14, he received his student pilot's certificate. Many years later, David now enjoys sharing this one of a kind experience with our guests and delights in creating wonderful lasting memories. David has flown at numerous locations through out the US, has flown in many of the nations top hot air balloon events and has always returned to beautiful Sonoma County. When he’s not floating high above it in a balloon, David can be found serving his community as a Firefighter EMT.
Russ James: Pilot – As a long time local hot air balloon pilot, Russ has an intimate knowledge of how to fly balloons in the region. A regular at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Russ shares his passion for ballooning with his passengers and with his family. Both his wife and daughter are balloon pilots as well. When not flying balloons, Russ keeps up the family farm.
Up & Away Ballooning flies only the safest and most reliable 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 150,000 cubic foot to 315,000 cubic foot!. While they are designed to carry more guests, we limit our baskets to a pilot and anywhere from 2 – 16 guests depending on the size of the balloon. All of our balloons are well maintained and regularly undergo inspection to ensure continued airworthiness.