NTSB Identification: IAD04CA045.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 25, 2004 in Dover, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2004
Aircraft: Cameron Balloons Z-90, registration: N1032B
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot briefed both passengers for the commercial balloon flight prior to takeoff, and specifically briefed them on landing procedures, which included bending their knees, facing the direction of travel, holding on, and remaining standing. About the time the balloon was launched, the wind speed was 8 miles per hour (mph). About 30 minutes into the flight, the winds had increased to 16 mph. The pilot advised his passengers and the ground crew that they would be landing as soon as possible. The pilot lowered the drop line to the ground crew and they subsequently slowed the balloon from 12 mph to 8 mph. He then repeated the landing instructions to the passengers, and indicated that they should brace themselves for a very hard landing. The pilot pulled the vent line to release some of the heat from the envelope, and ensure the balloon did not bounce. The basket "hit the ground" and tipped over. One of the passengers incurred a back injury during the landing. The pilot did not claim that the passenger failed to follow his landing instructions.

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

The pilot's failure to arrest an excessive descent rate prior to ground contact, which resulted in a hard landing. A factor was the relatively high winds (for balloon flight.)

Full narrative available

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