NTSB Identification: CHI02LA002.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 07, 2001 in Liberal, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Worner 1000 STU, registration: D-OAGH
Injuries: 2 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 said their gas balloon was cruising at 3,000 feet agl over the Liberal, Kansas, area when they experienced a microburst. The pilot said they suddenly found themselves heading for the ground at a very high rate of descent. The pilot said they dropped ballast to try and slow their descent. He said he then saw that his angle of descent was going to take the balloon into power lines along a road. The pilot said he opened the vent and put the basket on the road. The envelope went into the power lines, tore open, caught fire, and burned. At the time of the accident the aviation routine weather report for Dodge City, Kansas, 60 miles northeast of the accident site, reported clear skies, 10 miles visibility, and winds of 180 degrees at 19 knots with gusts to 25 knots. The report also stated in the remarks that peak winds of 31 knots were recorded at 1600. The balloon was part of a gas balloon race associated with the annual Albuquerque Balloon Festival in which the contestants try to cover the farthest distance within a three day period.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into adverse weather conditions during cruise flight and the unsuitable landing area encountered during the uncontrolled descent. Factors relating to this accident were the high wind, the pilot's unsuccessful attempt to compensate for the wind conditions, the pilot's unsuccessful attempt to avoid the power lines during the landing, and the power lines.

Full narrative available

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