NTSB Identification: BFO93FA107.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 52862.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 04, 1993 in NEW YORK, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/17/1994
Aircraft: US/LTA 138S AIRSHIP, registration: N832US
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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.

THE PILOT REPORTED THAT WHILE CRUISING AT 800 FT HE EXPERIENCED SEVERE BUFFETING WITH A SUBSEQUENT LOSS OF DIRECTIONAL CONTROL. HE WAS LOSING ALTITUDE SO HE INCREASED ENGINE POWER TO REDUCE HIS SINK RATE. THE PASSENGER REPORTED TO THE PILOT THAT THE NIGHT SIGN SEEMED TO BE COMING LOOSE. THE AIRSHIP CAME TO REST DRAPED OVER A SEVEN STORY BUILDING. A WITNESS REPORTED SEEING THE AIRSHIP HEADING SOUTH. HE REPORTED THAT IT SEEMED NORMAL; HOWEVER, SHORTLY THEREAFTER HE NOTICED A HOLE ON THE UNDERSIDE WHICH KEPT GETTING LARGER. PRIOR TO THE TEAR THE WITNESS REPORTED SEEING A SMALL DARK MASS WITH A WHITE FLEXIBLE MATERIAL FALL FROM THE AIRSHIP. EXAMINATION OF THE AIRSHIP REVEALED THAT A SECTION OF THE RIGHT BANNER, WHICH WAS SECURED TO THE ENVELOPE BY VELCRO TAPE, AND A PROJECTOR, WHICH WAS LACED TO A LACING STRIP GLUED TO THE ENVELOPE, HAD SEPARATED TEARING THE ENVELOPE. THE ENVELOPE DID NOT CONTAIN SEAMS TO PREVENT TEARS NOR WAS THE FABRIC TEAR RESISTANT. HOWEVER THE FABRIC MET OR EXCEEDED DESIGN AND FAA REGULATORY STRENGTH LIMITS.

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

INADEQUATE DESIGN OF, AND DESIGN STANDARDS FOR, THE AIRSHIP WHICH RESULTED IN AN ENVELOPE FAILURE FOLLOWING SEPARATION OF A PORTION OF THE NIGHT SIGN EQUIPMENT.

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