NTSB Identification: CHI94LA042.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 05, 1993 in PRATT, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/26/1994
Aircraft: BALLOON WORKS FIREFLY 7-15, registration: N9079M
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 STATED SHE WAS ATTEMPTING TO BREAK THE BALLOON FLIGHT DISTANCE RECORD ON THE DAY OF THE ACCIDENT. SHE SELECTED A DAY WITH HIGH WINDS IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL, ANTICIPATING THE WINDS WOULD DIE DOWN BY THE TIME SHE LANDED IN THE EVENING. NINE PROPANE TANKS WERE ABOARD THE BALLOON, AND THE PILOT EXPECTED TO BE ALOFT APPROXIMATELY 8 HOURS. SHE INDICATED THE ACTUAL FUEL CONSUMPTION WAS TWICE WHAT SHE HAD ANTICIPATED. WHEN SHE SWITCHED TO THE 9TH AND FINAL PROPANE TANK, THE PILOT DECIDED TO MAKE A PRECAUTIONARY LANDING. THE PILOT STATED SHE TRIED TO LEVEL OFF AT 1000 FEET, BUT WAS UNABLE TO STOP THE DESCENT. THE BASKET TOUCHED DOWN IN A FLAT, OPEN FIELD, AND THE PILOT VENTED THE BALLOON'S ENVELOPE AND SHUT OFF THE PILOT LIGHT. STILL BEING BLOWN BY SURFACE WINDS, THE ENVELOPE HIT ELECTRICAL WIRES, BROKE THE POLE, AND CONTINUED ABOUT 60 FEET BEFORE IT DEFLATED. THE PILOT ESTIMATED THE SURFACE WINDS TO BE OUT OF 350 DEGREES AT 30 KNOTS.

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

THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CLEARANCE FROM OBSTACLES. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT ARE THE PILOT'S MISJUDGED FUEL CONSUMPTION CALCULATIONS AND THE WEATHER (HIGH WINDS).

Full narrative available

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