NTSB Identification: SEA97FA181.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 03, 1997 in DONALD, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2000
Aircraft: AVIAN MAGNUM IX, registration: N20146
Injuries: 1 Fatal,7 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While attempting to land on the edge of an open field under near-calm conditions, the pilot allowed the balloon to settle into the top of a coniferous tree. As the balloon settled into the tree, the gondola tipped to the side and the Nomex panel and horizontal load tape around the mouth of the envelope became snagged in the tree. As the gondola tipped, the seams on approximately half of the vertical load tapes were exposed to burner heat hot enough to cause failure of the seam thread, and the remainder of the vertical load tape seams failed as the balloon and the gondola pulled against the snagged horizontal load tape. When the last vertical load tape failed, the gondola separated from the envelope. After separating from the envelope, the gondola fell through the tree and impacted the ground.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a tree that was located on the edge of the field in which he was attempting to land.

Full narrative available

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