NTSB Identification: LAX90LA277.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42483.
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 07, 1990 in NAPA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/1992
Aircraft: Thunder and Colt AX9-140 SLI, registration: N9112R
Injuries: 1 Serious,5 Minor,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.

SEVENTEEN BALLOONS LAUNCHED FROM VARIOUS LOCATIONS AROUND THE NAPA VALLEY FOR LOCAL SIGHTSEEING FLIGHTS. STATEMENTS FROM PILOTS, PASSENGERS AND GROUND WITNESSES SAID THAT WHILE THE BALLOONS WERE IN NORMAL DRIFTING FLIGHT A MICROBURST LIKE CONDITION SUDDENLY OCCURRED WHICH AFFECTED ALL OF THE BALLOONS. THE WEATHER PHENOMENA ENCOUNTERED INCLUDED STRONG GUSTING SURFACE AND ALOFT WINDS IN ADDITION TO SEVERE DOWN DRAFTS. THE BALLOONS WERE RAPIDLY FORCED TOWARD THE GROUND AS THEIR GROUND SPEED INCREASED RADICALLY. THE PILOTS OF SEVERAL BALLOONS REPORTED THAT THE SHAPES OF THEIR BALLOON ENVELOPES WERE SEVERELY DISTORTED BY THE SUDDEN MOVEMENT OF THE AIRMASS. EIGHT OF THE 17 BALLOONS ATTEMPTED FORCED LANDINGS. FOUR OF THE BALLOONS SUCCESSFULLY LANDED. THE OTHER FOUR BALLOONS COLLIDED WITH OBSTRUCTIONS AND THE GROUND DURING THE ATTEMPTED LANDINGS. AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT, A LARGE THUNDERSTORM WAS REPORTED 30 MILES TO THE NORTH.

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

FLIGHT'S ENCOUNTER WITH A PROBABLE MICROBURST WEATHER PHENOMENA WITH DOWN DRAFTS AND WINDS BEYOND THE PERFORMANCE CAPABILITY OF THE BALLOON.

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