NTSB Identification: NYC95LA160.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 15, 1995 in DEERFIELD, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/21/1996
Aircraft: RAVEN S-60A, registration: N4214A
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Minor.

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

The pilot arrived at a balloon festival at 0530 hours and obtained a weather briefing from three other pilots and the balloon meister. He determined that thunderstorms were due in the area at about 1000 hours. He departed with two passengers at 0620 hours. The pilot subsequently encountered a wind shift and strong gusting winds. He reported that the balloon throat closed due to the winds. After that, the balloon began descending and collided with trees. About 25 miles south at Westfield, Ma, the 0645 edt wind was from 090 degrees at 5 knots; at 0745 edt, the wind had changed to 360 degrees at 20 knots with gusts to 40 knots. About 60 miles northwest of the departure point at Albany, severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and wind squalls were reported at 0650 hours. The peak wind at Albany was reorted to be from 310 degrees at 67 knots at 0641.

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

The pilot's inadequate evaluation of the weather, which resulted in an encounter with unfavorable winds and an inflight loss of control. The unfavorable/high winds and sudden wind gusts were related factors.

Full narrative available

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