Meet Mike Stout and Dee Johnson, owners of Skyline Balloons, a hot air balloon company based out of Temecula. Mike has lived in Canyon Lake for the past 33 years. Dee formerly lived in Canyon Lake for 28 years.
Mike and Dee’s friendship goes way back to the late 1980s when they met in the Canyon Lake Ski Club. “We did a lot of skiing together,” says Mike.
Mike’s history with planes goes back to his childhood. His father was a pilot from the time Mike was a young boy. He’s flown numerous single and multi-engine planes since earning his pilot’s license in 1998.
After spending thousands of hours in airplanes, Mike decided to expand his love for the air from planes to hot air balloons. He started taking hot air balloon flying lessons in 2013. Dee was his flying instructor. In 2015 he earned his Commercial Balloon Pilot License so that he could fly passengers.
Dee also has a passion for flying that goes back to his childhood. He started flying fixed winged planes with his father when he was 14 years old. He’s been flying balloons since 2011. Dee is also part owner of Monte Del Oro Winery in Temecula. With Skyline Balloons, Dee is able to combine his love for both wine and flying by incorporating Monte De Oro Winery tours in their hot air balloon ride packages.
”Hot air balloon flights with the wine-tasting experience exclusively at Monte De Oro is an unforgettable experience,” says Mike.
Skyline Balloons offers private and group scenic hot air balloon tours over Temecula Wine Country, hot air balloon tethers for private events, and hot air balloon skydives for experienced jumpers.
The company currently has three hot air balloons in its fleet. Their largest basket can hold up to 12 passengers; the smallest holds two passengers.
Skyline Balloon flights take place between 1,000 to 3,000 feet in the air. Flights rely 100 percent on the wind, so no two flights are the same. Mike says, “We land where the wind takes us. We have a flight crew that includes two to three people on the ground. They follow us and pick us up where we land.”
Skyline Balloons equipment is registered with the FAA. They have a 100 percent safety record. “Though we’ve had some high speed landings, which are always fun and exciting, we’ve never had a fire or accident,” says Mike.
The hot air balloon takes approximately 45 minutes to set up and 45 minutes to take down. They welcome customers to watch this process.
Skyline Balloons’ most popular flights are skydive flights and custom flights for wedding engagements and anniversaries. The sunrise flights are Mike’s favorite. “The sunrise view in a hot air balloon flying over 1,000 feet in the air is incredible. It’s breathtaking,” he says.
Flights range from $100 per person for a 30-minute flight to $1,200 for a six-person group. Prices vary for custom packages, which can be personalized to include breakfast or a wine tasting experience at Monte Del Oro Winery.
“Our custom packages are catered to fit the customer’s exact needs; whether it’s a marriage proposal, graduation, grand opening or a special occasion,” says Mike. “The sky is the limit when it comes to customizing our hot air balloon flight packages, and we strive to make the experience memorable.”
Mike’s daughters are Stephanie Stout and Johanna Granado, owners of Bombshells, a women’s clothing store in the Towne Center. Skyline Balloons provided tethered balloon rides for Bombshells’ grand re-opening earlier this year. They also made an appearance with their hot air balloon at the Canyon Lake Oktoberfest in the Towne Center on October 3.
When not working and making appearances with their hot air balloons, Mike enjoys flying planes, snow skiing and water skiing. Dee also actively water skis in his spare time. He is one of the top 10 water ski competitors over 55 years old in the world.
For more information about Skyline Balloons, visit www.skylineballoons.us or call 951-263-3356. They can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SkylineBalloons.