NTSB Identification: LAX07CA071.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 17, 2007 in Peoria, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2007
Aircraft: Balloon Works Firefly 9B-15, registration: N9087Z
Injuries: 1 Serious,4 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.

A passenger was injured during a hard landing. The balloon pilot stated that he had selected a landing area on the west side of a highway, notified his ground crew of the location, and briefed the four passengers for landing. He was at an altitude of 200 feet agl with a descent rate of 200 fpm when the balloon encountered a downdraft. The pilot stated that he lit both burners in an attempt to arrest the rate of descent, notified the passengers to be prepared for a rough landing, and began to vent hot air from the balloon envelope to prevent a bounced landing. Upon contact with the ground, the basket tipped over and one of the passengers was tossed out. The balloon was now lighter without the passenger, rose back into the air, and drifted beyond intended landing zone. The pilot continued to the next closest suitable landing area and successfully landed the balloon. The ground crew located the passenger that had been tossed out of the basket. The passenger, who had sustained serious injuries, received medical attention and was transported to the hospital. The pilot reported that the local winds in the landing area were 180 degrees at 18 knots, and that there had been no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight. The METAR at the closest airport, approximately 20 miles southeast of the accident location, recorded the wind as calm for the local time of 0853.

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

The balloon’s inadvertent encounter with a downdraft, which resulted in a hard landing.

Full narrative available

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