NTSB Identification: LAX90LA340.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42447.
Accident occurred Saturday, September 29, 1990 in VACAVILLE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/02/1992
Aircraft: BALLOON WORKS FIREFLY 9, registration: N90902
Injuries: 1 Serious,8 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.
ACCORDING TO THE PILOT, THE TWO FLIGHTS CONDUCTED EARLIER IN THE MORNING WERE NORMAL WITH WINDS IN THE 4 MPH RANGE. ON THE ACCIDENT FLIGHT, THE WINDS SUDDENLY INCREASED FROM 4 TO 12 MPH. THE PILOT THEN SAID, 'INSTANTLY, WITHOUT INDICATION, A WHIRLWIND CAUGHT THE BALLOON AND SPUN IT 360 DEGREES; A DOWNDRAFT OCCURRED WITH A DESCENT RATE OF 500 FEET PER MINUTE.' THE PILOT FURTHER STATED THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO ARREST THE RATE OF DESCENT AND THE BALLOON COLLIDED WITH A SET OF POWER LINES, THEN THE GROUND.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: THE BALLOON'S ENCOUNTER WITH A SUDDEN INCREASE IN WIND SPEED ACCOMPAINED BY A STRONG DOWN DRAFT BEYOND THE COMPENSATION CAPABILITY OF THE BALLOON.
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