NTSB Identification: LAX03LA095.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 22, 2003 in Reno, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Aerostar RX-7, registration: N6413N
Injuries: 3 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 balloon collided with power lines while descending toward a landing spot. The pilot was crossing a north-south ridgeline while approaching a landing spot in a meadow. The balloon flew over the descending slope and cleared a set of power lines that ran parallel to the ridgeline. A sudden wind shift occurred, blowing the balloon back towards the power lines. The pilot turned on the burner in an attempt to clear the power lines again, however, sufficient lift was not achieved. Realizing that a collision was inevitable, the burner and tanks were shut off and instruments disconnected. After the initial impact the balloon continued rising, and the pilot pulled the 'rip-cord' attached to the deflation port. A rapid decent followed, and the balloon came to rest directly under the power lines.

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

A sudden wind shift that forced the balloon to drift towards an obstruction, and the pilot's inability to perform an evasive maneuver in sufficient time to prevent a collision.

Full narrative available

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