NTSB Identification: FTW94FA287.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 04, 1994 in FOUNTAIN, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/26/1995
Aircraft: Aerostar RX-7, registration: N3578D
Injuries: 3 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT WAS ATTEMPTING TO LAND THE BALLOON IN AN OPEN FIELD 'IN WIND CONDITIONS THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED THE BALLOON TO HAVE REMAINED UPRIGHT FOR A STAND UP LANDING.' GROUND CONTACT WAS HARDER THAN THE PILOT ANTICIPATED AND THE BASKET TIPPED OVER. A PASSENGER FELL OUT AND THE WIND DRAGGED THE BASKET OVER HER. AS THE PILOT ATTEMPTED TO PULL THE PASSENGER BACK INTO THE BASKET, SHE LOST HER BALANCE AND THE BALLOON ASCENDED WITH THE PILOT HOLDING ONTO THE VENT LINE. THE BALLOON CAME BACK DOWN AND THE PILOT FELL OUT. AS THE BALLOON WAS DRAGGED OVER THE PILOT, HER LEG BECAME ENTANGLED IN THE VENT LINE. THE BALLOON LIFTED OFF AND ASCENDED ABOUT 25 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND. THE PILOT DISENTANGLED HERSELF AND FELL TO THE GROUND. THE CHASE CREW TOLD THE REMAINING PASSENGER TO PULL THE RIP CORD TO DEFLATE THE ENVELOPE. SHE DID AND THE BALLOON DESCENDED TO THE GROUND ABOUT TWO BLOCKS AWAY. AN FAA INSPECTOR, AFTER VIEWING A VIDEO TAPE OF THE ACCIDENT, SAID THE LANDING WAS MADE IN HIGH WIND CONDITIONS, AND THE PILOT DID NOT USE A HIGH WIND LANDING TECHNIQUE.

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

THE PILOT'S IMPROPER AIRCRAFT HANDLING DURING LANDING IN HIGH WIND CONDITIONS. A FACTOR WAS THE HIGH WIND.

Full narrative available

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