NTSB Identification: LAX97LA169.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 27, 1997 in TEMECULA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/14/1997
Aircraft: Cameron N-77, registration: N16067
Injuries: 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.

The pilot reported that after 45 minutes of flight he began looking for a place to land which was accessible by the ground crew. The balloon was drifting toward an area of hills and the pilot spotted a hill with a flat top, which had recently been graded off in preparation for construction. A road sufficient for recovery of the balloon ran up the spine of the connecting ridge line. The pilot then began a descent toward the landing spot, but overshot the hilltop and touched down on the far slope. The balloon gondola touched down on a large rock hidden in tall vegetation just as the pilot pulled the rip panel open to deflate the envelope and the balloon tipped over on its side. The pilot had left one pilot light on during the touchdown sequence and the pilot flame ignited a grass fire. The pilot, along with a nearby resident, attempted to extinguish the fire with fire extinguishers, but were unsuccessful and the balloon was consumed in the fire. Fire department vehicles monitoring the balloon competition reached the site in about an hour and extinguished the grass fire.

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

The pilot's misjudgment of his speed and altitude, which led to a landing overshoot.

Full narrative available

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