NTSB Identification: CHI02LA169.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 16, 2002 in Mukwonago, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Lindstrand Balloons 90A, registration: N40051
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 balloon flight made a hard landing in 12-15 knots winds seriously injuring one of the two passengers aboard. The pilot delayed the flight and checked the weather several times before arriving at the launch site where the decision to launch was made. The pilot released two pibals at his residence located about 10 miles northeast of the launch site. The first pibal, released 1 hour and 10 minutes before the flight, headed towards 120-130 degrees at 12 knots. The second pibal, released 50 minutes before the flight, traveled in the same direction at a slower speed. During the drive to the launch site, the pilot noticed darkening skies and clouds to the northwest which he queried about when he called for an updated weather briefing. About 30 minutes after departure, the pilot noticed a breeze with a 190 degree change in wind direction and a decrease in speed. They proceeded westbound and began an ascent to 400 feet agl to clear power lines at which time the balloon was traveling about 15 knots towards the west. The pilot then descended to look for a landing area and stated that a gust pushed the balloon into trees during a landing approach. He heated the balloon, which was traveling about 12 knots, in order to get through the trees and attempted another landing. He told his passengers to prepare for a fast landing as they were traveling about 12-15 knots. The balloon came to rest 100 yards from the initial point of impact. Weather radar indicated an area of convective activity about 24 miles west of the accident site.

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

The inadequate weather evaluation by the pilot and high winds.

Full narrative available

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