Text of Accident & Prevention 2007. 199619982000200220042006
Accident & Prevention 2007
04/22/2006 According to the pilot and passengers, the flight was uneventful. The pilot stated that he elected to perform a "high wind landing. The basket tipped over during the landing and the passenger stated that she lost her balance, resulting in serious injury to her ankle. There was no damage to the balloon and no further injuries reported by the pilot or the other passenger. The pilot reported the winds as 010 degrees at 7 knots. The pilot reported no anomalies with the balloon's systems. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows; The pilot's inability to maintain a proper descent rate due to the high winds, resulting in a hard landing. A contributing factor was the high wind conditions. Albuquerque, NM Pilot hours 84, Last 90 days, 1 hour Aerostar RX8
05/22/2006 According to the pilot, while attempting to land a hot air balloon, the winds became "gusty" at 10 to15 knots and he initiated a "high wind landing." According to a passenger, the pilot had told him that it was supposed to "calm." The passenger estimated, however; that the wind was probably around 20 knots. He stated that during the landing the balloon "hit pretty hard" and the basket tipped over horizontally and dragged to a stop. He recalled that when the basket tipped over, another passenger stated that it "felt like something was on her feet" and he later realized that both of her ankles were broken. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows; The pilot's failure to arrest an excessive descent rate prior to ground contact, which resulted in a hard landing. A factor in the accident were the wind gusts. Montvale VA Pilot hours 559, Last 90 days 33 hours Cameron Z-120
06/11/2006 The pilot reported that based on a handheld (GPS) receiver the balloon's groundspeed was approximately 8 miles-per-hour as it approached for landing. He noted that because he expected the balloon basket to tip over upon contact with the ground, he decided to execute a high wind approach and landing. The pilot stated that the passengers were briefed to hold on at two locations within the basket and to keep their knees bent in order to absorb impact forces. He reported that the balloon was stabilized about 4 feet off the ground prior to landing, the burner pilot light was extinguished, and the envelope deflation port was opened. He stated that when the basket contacted the ground and began to tip forward, one of the passenger's arms became trapped beneath her, fracturing her forearm. At 1935, the Millard Airport (MLE) Automated Surface Observing System, recorded winds from 050 degrees at 6 knots. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows; A run-on landing encountered by the pilot of the balloon due to the prevailing winds. The unfavorable winds were a contributing factor. Gretna, NE Pilot hours 132, Last 90 days 16 hours Head AX8-88
06/14/2006 The 6,500-hour airline transport rated pilot reported on the Pilot/Operator Accident Incident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) that he elected to land the hot air balloon in a large open field that was bordered on the approach heading by a large housing area that contained mostly 2-story homes, and was bordered by utility power lines. The pilot added that after clearing the power lines, he initiated his planned shallow approach to the open field. The pilot was aware that the grass at the intended landing location was tall, approximately knee high. The pilot discussed with his balloon pilot rated passenger that he would turn off the pilot light valve on one burner and only use the second burner until he was assured clearance of obstacles for a safe landing. After the balloon cleared the power lines, the pilot "vented for approximately 1 second" and began a gentle descent. The pilot added that "it appeared my approach angle was good" and he announced to his passenger that he was going to turn off the second burner for landing. The approach angle was then noted to be near vertical and a hard landing was imminent. During the hard landing sequence the pilot was ejected from the basket. The approximate 200 pounds of weight change caused the balloon to become airborne again. The pilot rated passenger, who remained in the basket, relit a burner in an attempt to get heat back into the balloon. With the balloon top out and the balloon mouth closed, fabric had to be burned away in an attempt to get heat into the envelope to slow the descent.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows; The pilot's failure to maintain the proper glide path while landing. Contributing factors were the prevailing high winds and the downdraft encountered on final approach. Frisco, TX pilot hours 6500, last 90 days 5, total make model 10 The basket again made contact with the ground and the passenger elected to exit the basket as the lower panels of the balloon were on fire. The balloon again became airborne with no one on board. The basket was dragged across the field creating several small grass fires and came to rest upon being entangled with a light pole. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The basket was destroyed and the balloon was substantially damaged. The grass fires and the balloon fire were extinguished by the local fire department. Weather at the time was reported to be clear skies, winds 160 degrees at 12 knots, visibility of 10 statute miles and a temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
On July 20, 2006, at 1930 central daylight time, an Aerostar International, Inc., RX 8, N3639Q, piloted by a commercial pilot, struck a wire fence during landing near Claremont, Minnesota. No damage to the balloon was reported. The pilot was operating the balloon for passenger rides. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 business flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and one passenger were uninjured, and a second passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated from Dodge Center, Minnesota, at 1902. Reported winds 330 @ 4 knots No pilot information
07/27/2006 The pilot reported that the wind had shifted several times and he decided to land in an open field. There were power lines that bordered the field. The pilot ascended to clear the power lines but the wind shifted again and carried the balloon toward trees and the Rio Grande. The pilot vented the balloon "less than 30 feet above the ground and did a steep end landing in less than 3 knots. The balloon came down with low impact, bounced once, about 3 feet and came to a stop upright. Passengers, however, told an FAA inspector that the pilot attempted to slow the descent by activating one burner of a two-burner system. He tried lighting the burner with a striker, but it would not stay lit due to insufficient fuel. The balloon landed hard and bounced. One passenger, who was holding on to a strap, fractured her arm when she struck it with her head. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows. fuel exhaustion, resulting in the pilot's inability to relight one of two burners, and resulting in a hard landing. Albuquerque, NM Total Pilot hours 1517, last 90 days 46 Galaxy 11B
10/15/2006 the southerly wind of about 5 knots increased in velocity and the pilot decided to land. He saw an open field and made his landing approach. A "strong wind shear drove the balloon into the ground. During the ground impact, the envelope contacted power lines, causing several panels to sustain burn damage and thermally severed 7 of the16 suspension cables. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows. the pilot's improper in-flight planning/decision. A contributing factor was the unfavorable wind. Albuquerque, NM Total pilot hours 100, last 90, unknown Adams A55S
11/05/2006 In a written statement the pilot reported: He performed a preflight inspection and commenced the hot inflation of the balloon. Prior to entering the basket, he gave a briefing to the three passengers. As the balloon continued through 300 feet above ground level (agl), he noticed grass cuttings descending from the envelope into the basket. The pilot further stated that he then could discern a clump of grass engulfed in flames that had landed on the scoop [a portion of the envelope's throat fabric]. Shortly thereafter, the scoop fabric started to burn and the pilot pulled the vent line in an effort to descend. As the balloon was descending about 800 feet per minute (fpm), he attempted to remove the fire extinguisher from its straps, to no avail. The pilot then activated the burners to slow the descent rate. The suspension cables began to disconnect from the throat of the balloon as a result of the fire. The basket contacted the ground and two passengers were ejected. The absence of the passengers weight resulted in the balloon starting an ascent. The fire continued to burn the fabric comprising the balloon's throat and seven additional suspension cables disconnected. The pilot manipulated the balloon back to the surface and the ground crew secured the basket. The pilot could finally free the fire extinguisher from its attachment bracket and put out the fire