NTSB Identification: CHI08CA017.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 15, 2007 in East Hampstead, NH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Balloon Works Firefly 7, registration: N7408G
Injuries: 2 Serious,1 Minor,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 balloon impacted trees and terrain during a hard landing. Two passengers sustained serious injuries, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The remaining passenger and the pilot were not injured. The pilot reported that the flight departed with three other balloons in light winds. He noted the wind was forecast to increase about one hour after the flight was scheduled to land. However, about halfway through the flight, the wind increased to approximately 11 miles-per-hour, with some gusts. He elected to land when he noticed the increase in the wind speed. He executed three approaches, each time electing to go-around due to adverse winds. On the accident approach, he intentionally brushed the top of a tree in order to slow the balloon. He briefed the passengers for a hard landing and descended toward an open field. After the initial impact, the basket became airborne again briefly before coming to rest. The pilot stated that he did not use the burner to reduce the descent rate due to the possibility of drifting past the selected landing area and striking power lines adjacent to the field.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's excessive descent rate on approach, which resulted in a hard landing. Contributing factors were the adverse winds encountered during the flight, and the presence of the trees and power lines near the landing area. Full narrative available
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