NTSB Identification: CHI94LA309.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 01, 1994 in STORM LAKE, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/12/1995
Aircraft: Balloon Works FIRE FLY 7-15, registration: N2597S
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, as he approached his destination airport in his hot air balloon, the balloon encountered a downdraft from a dissipating thunderstorm. He intended to bring the hot air balloon down to the ground quickly to avoid the wind from blowing the balloon across the ground. Although he continued burning all the way to the ground, the pilot was unable to stop the balloon's high rate of descent. The gondola impacted the ground hard, rebounded into the air to approximately 100 feet above the ground, and then impacted the ground again. The balloon continued along the ground until it struck power lines where it came to rest.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's excessive rate of descent to landing. Factors in the accident were the gusts and downdraft.

Full narrative available

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