NTSB Identification: CHI04LA204.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 07, 2004 in Sioux Falls, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/24/2005
Aircraft: Aerostar S53H, registration: N5001J
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 balloon was substantially damaged when it contacted power transmission lines during landing. The pilot reported that after lift off the flight proceed on a westerly heading approximately 9 knots groundspeed for 17 minutes. He then selected an alfalfa field with 3 scattered hay bales as a landing site and began a descent. The pilot stated he activated the burner to slow the descent as the balloon neared the field. He noted that as the basket contacted the ground, it bounced and "skidded" toward one of the hay bales. After it "bounced off" the bale, the pilot reported that he heard the crew chief warn of power lines ahead. He stated: "I 'ripped-out' the top of the balloon to its maximum, in order to let the air out." He reported that the basket settled on a roadway and slid down a ditch. The balloon envelope subsequently contacted the power lines adjacent to the road. Concerning safety recommendations, the pilot noted "awareness of surface conditions and location of power lines." The pilot reported that there were no malfunctions associated with the balloon. The Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) at the Joe Foss Field Airport (FSD) in Sioux Falls, at 1956, recorded winds from 080 degrees at 7 knots. The pilot reported winds from 090 degrees at 9 knots.

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

The pilot's selection of an unsuitable landing area for the balloon and his failure to maintain clearance with the transmission line. A contributing factor was the presence of the transmission line.

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