NTSB Identification: DFW06CA161.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 14, 2006 in Frisco, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Lindstrand Balloons 105A, registration: N1410C
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 6,500-hour airline transport rated pilot reported on the Pilot/Operator Accident Incident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) that he elected to land the hot air balloon in a large open field that was bordered on the approach heading by a large housing area that contained mostly 2-story homes, and was bordered by utility power lines. The pilot added that after clearing the power lines, he initiated his planned shallow approach to the open field. The pilot was aware that the grass at the intended landing location was tall, approximately knee high. The pilot discussed with his balloon pilot rated passenger that he would turn off the pilot light valve on one burner and only use the second burner until he was assured clearance of obstacles for a safe landing. After the balloon cleared the power lines, the pilot "vented for approximately 1 second" and began a gentle descent. The pilot added that "it appeared my approach angle was good" and he announced to his passenger that he was going to turn off the second burner for landing. The approach angle was then noted to be near vertical and a hard landing was imminent. During the hard landing sequence the pilot was ejected from the basket. The approximate 200 pounds of weight change caused the balloon to become airborne again. The pilot rated passenger, who remained in the basket, relit a burner in an attempt to get heat back into the balloon. With the balloon top out and the balloon mouth closed, fabric had to be burned away in an attempt to get heat into the envelope to slow the descent. The basket again made contact with the ground and the passenger elected to exit the basket as the lower panels of the balloon were on fire. The balloon again became airborne with no one on board. The basket was dragged across the field creating several small grass fires and came to rest upon being entangled with a light pole. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The basket was destroyed and the balloon was substantially damaged. The grass fires and the balloon fire were extinguished by the local fire department. Weather at the time was reported to be clear skies, winds 160 degrees at 12 knots, visibility of 10 statute miles and a temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain the proper glidepath while landing. Contributing factors were the prevailing high winds and the downdraft encountered on final approach. Full narrative available
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