NTSB Identification: SEA96LA122.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 16, 1996 in WILSONVILLE, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/1997
Aircraft: Balloon Works FIREFLY 8B, registration: N71233
Injuries: 2 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.

Having aborted the first attempt to land, the pilot was maneuvering the balloon for a landing in a second field. He maneuvered to pass over high tension (power line) wires, but did not see the static wire. The balloon subsequently impacted the static wire, which broke and began arcing after contact with the high voltage wires beneath. A fire erupted on the balloon's envelope, but the pilot was able to land without igniting the propane tanks. A high, thin, gray overcast existed at the time, which made visual acquisition of the single static wire difficult.

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

failure of the pilot to maintain clearance from the static wire, which became shorted to a transmission wire and subsequently caused a fire to erupt on the balloon's envelope. Factors relating to the accident were: the obstructions (power line wires), and the pilot's reduced ability to visually detect the static wire, due to the gray sky condition in the background.

Full narrative available

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