NTSB Identification: DEN08LA007.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 09, 2007 in Albuquerque, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2008
Aircraft: Aerostar RX 8, registration: N5315M
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The balloon was participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The pilot said she flew between 200 and 400 feet agl (above ground level) for the first 15 minutes, then flew between 1,000 and 1,500 feet for about an hour. She said low level winds were from the south, and she flew "far enough north to have open landing areas to the south." She then descended to 200 feet and flew south. The wind speed was between 5 and 10 knots. She selected a "short open area" but there was a fence and the winds were "too fast" to land. "At 100 feet agl, had false heavy" (sic) and wind velocity had increased 15 to 20 knots. The balloon landed on the north side of 100 acres of desert. bounced, and was dragged 150 to 200 feet. The pilot noted that "at the time of launch, the winds were calm but that condition changed unexpectedly. I took the best landing site available at the time." Beyond that point was a congested housing area, a mesa, and a national park. The latter had an uneven lava bed with ravines, trees, and boulders and probably high wind velocities. The pilot told the police department that she had flown south, then west. On approach to the selected landing spot, a gust of wind caused the balloon to drift in the wrong direction and it struck a wall in a residential area. The police report indicated the pilot had fractured her pelvic bone.

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

The pilot's inability to maintain aircraft control due to high winds, resulting in the aircraft coming in contact with an arroyo and a wall in a residential area.

Full narrative available

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