NTSB Identification: CHI00LA054.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 31, 1999 in FLANDREAU, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/01/2001
Aircraft: Aerostar S49A, registration: N6316U
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 was coming in to land in a field 6 miles south of Flandreau, South Dakota. During the landing attempt, a wind gust collapsed the front of the envelope. The pilot said at that point she knew she was committed to that field and 'that it would be a rough, high-wind landing.' The balloon touched down and 'rebounded.' The pilot pulled in the redline to deflate the envelope. When the balloon touched down the second time, it began to drag along the ground. 'As I was reaching up with my right hand to continue pulling the redline in more, I saw the burner come completely off it's mounting and fall down toward the basket.' The pilot said that there was a flame coming from the burner. 'I continued dragging for 3 or 4 seconds trying to stop the balloon and batting the burner away. It slowed enough so I could get out and I saw the skirt, the lower edge of the envelope and the upper cordura was burned/burning.' Examination of the balloon revealed no anomalies. The Aviation Routine Weather Report for Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 25 miles from the accident site at 188 degrees, 11 minutes after the accident, was clear skies, 10 miles visibility, and winds 150 degrees at 12 knots. A witness who was flying at the same time in another balloon, said that when he was landing 'the ground wind speed quickly increased on one approach to near 15 miles per hour.' When the witness did land his balloon, 'the winds were back in the vicinity of 10 miles per hour.'

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

The pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions, and the burner becoming disconnected from the balloon's frame. A contributing factor was the high wind condition.

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