NTSB Identification: LAX97LA287.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 13, 1997 in MARANA, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Aerostar S-55A, registration: N3607B
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 of the balloon departed from a field with one passenger during his second flight of the day and collided with a power line. He landed upwind of some nearby power lines during his first landing. He said that immediately after takeoff the balloon basket contacted and subsequently cleared a fence during the initial climb. The pilot stated in a postaccident interview that the flight should have been aborted after coming into contact with the fence, but he elected to continue. The balloon continued to climb but at a slow rate, even with the double burners. The balloon came into contact with the power line at 50 to 60 feet above ground level. The power line broke and came into contact with the fuel tank, which ignited the propane and propagated an in-flight fire.

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

The pilot's in-flight planning/decision to continue his flight after striking a fence, and his inability to attain the proper climb rate, which subsequently led to the in-flight collision with the transmission power line.

Full narrative available

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