NTSB Identification: ATL05CA100.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 16, 2005 in Coral Springs, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Goodyear GZ-20A, registration: N1A
Injuries: 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 stated that, at approximately 1725, he was two miles northwest of the airship's base at Pompano Beach Airpark when the isolated showers in the area "appeared to be strengthening." The pilot intended to land as soon as possible, then he saw lightning in the area and decided he did not want to expose the ground crew to the risk of a lightning strike. The pilot decided to fly the airship out of the area to wait for the storms to pass. The airship was equipped with a weather radar system that was capable of scanning an approximate 45-degree arc, and the pilot maintained radio communication with the chief pilot at the base, who monitored area weather radar and provided updates. The pilot stated the weather deteriorated rapidly, and the airship encountered "heavy rain, lightning, and severe outflow and downdrafts." The pilot stated the airship became "unable to climb, make headway, or maintain directional control," and at one point the airship was "being pushed backward and down at full-power climb." The pilot's efforts to regain full control of the airship were unsuccessful, and the airship struck trees, power lines, and the ground. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunction of the airship. A review of recorded weather data for Pompano Beach Airpark revealed at 1845 observations included a thunderstorm, heavy rain, and lightning distant all quadrants. A review of weather forecast data revealed Convective SIGMET 26E was issued at 1755 for an area that included the accident site and was valid until 1855. The Convective SIGMET included the following: Developing area of thunderstorms moving little, tops above FL [flight level] 450. A Miami Center Weather Advisory (ZMA CWA) was valid from 1735 until 1935 for an area that included the accident site. The CWA included the following information: An area of widely scattered level 4 and level 5 thunderstorms with moderate rain moving little, maximum tops to near FL 450, coverage increasing slightly through 1935. A review of the published FAA Approved Flight Limitations for the GZ-20A revealed the airship was certificated for operation in "extremely turbulent air: 20-30 ft/sec gust."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision which resulted in an in-flight encounter with weather (thunderstorm outflow), and downdrafts, loss of control and subsequent collision with trees and transmission wires. Full narrative available
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