NTSB Identification: BFO96LA009.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 12, 1995 in ARK, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/21/1996
Aircraft: AEROSTAR RAVEN S49A, registration: N6348X
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 flight instructor reported that in an attempt to conserve fuel in the on-board fuel tank, he inflated the balloon for flight using an external fuel tank. He stated that when he attempted to disconnect the external fuel tank hose, the residual fuel ignited. The flight instructor and dual student exited the balloon, and the balloon lifted off the ground. The balloon remained airborne, unmanned, for about one mile before it touched down. Postaccident examination of the balloon revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction. The flight instructor stated that the accident could have been prevented if the pilot light was turned off before switching fuel hose connections from external fuel tank to on-board fuel tank.

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

the flight instructor's improper procedures while inflating the balloon using an external fuel source, and the fuel leak.

Full narrative available

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