NTSB Identification: NYC04LA078.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 28, 2004 in Nicholasville, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2005
Aircraft: Raven Industries Rally RX7, registration: N4110M
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 hot-air balloon was inflated "normally," and the pilot planned to launch from a field about 300 feet long and 100 feet wide, with 35-foot tall power lines lining the north edge of the field. As the balloon began to stand up about 200 feet south of the power lines, the wind increased in velocity and became gusty. The wind then pushed the balloon forward, and the basket tipped slightly. The balloon began to "scoot" along the ground, the pilot released the tie-down line, activated the burner, and instructed the crew to "weight off." The balloon ascended to an altitude of about 5 to 10 feet, and the pilot was observed activating the burner several times; however, the balloon did not rise as expected. As the balloon approached the power lines, the pilot closed the fuel tank valves, pulled the redline to open the vent, and ducked inside the basket. The balloon suspension cables contacted the power lines, the cables severed, and the basket fell about 35 feet to the ground in a horizontal attitude.

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

The pilot's improper decision to continue the inadvertent flight in variable wind conditions, which resulted in an impact with power lines. Factors were the variable wind conditions and the unsuitable takeoff area.

Full narrative available

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