NTSB Identification: FTW97LA068.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 21, 1996 in RIO RANCHO, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Raven S-60A, registration: N4396K
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor,1 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.

At takeoff, the surface wind speed was less than 4 knots. However, by the time of landing, the wind speed had increased to 12 to 15 knots. The pilot stated that the 'approach was normal with passengers braced for a high speed landing.' She followed 'standard procedure' for a high speed landing and pulled the top out of the balloon at about 15 to 20 feet agl. As the top was pulled, the balloon was 'hit by a windshear causing the air to exit faster than normal, and therefore, a hard landing.' According to one of the passengers, who was a commercial balloon pilot, there was nothing 'unusual or threatening to our normal descent in preparation for a landing. The 'windshear' seemed to 'throw' us straight down.' During the touchdown, one of the passengers, who was a balloon student pilot, broke his arm when he slid forward and fell against one of the propane tanks.

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

The passenger's failure to follow recommended procedures to properly brace for a high wind landing. A factor was the windshear.

Full narrative available

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