NTSB Identification: DEN06CA108.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 27, 2006 in Albuquerque, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/31/2006
Aircraft: Firefly Balloons Galaxy 11B, registration: N2190S
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor,7 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 reported that they had been aloft for about 45 minutes. The wind had shifted several times and he decided to land in an open field. There were power lines that bordered the field. The pilot ascended to clear the power lines but the wind shifted again and carried the balloon toward trees and the Rio Grande. The pilot vented the balloon "less than 30 feet above the ground and did a steep end landing in less than 3 knots. The balloon came down with low impact, bounced once, about 3 feet and came to a stop upright." Passengers, however, told an FAA inspector that the pilot attempted to slow the descent by activating one burner of a two-burner system. He tried lighting the burner with a striker, but it would not stay lit due to insufficient fuel. The balloon landed hard and bounced. One passenger, who was holding on to a strap, fractured her arm when she struck it with her head.

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

fuel exhaustion, resulting in the pilot's inability to relight one of two burners, and resulting in a hard landing.

Full narrative available

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