NTSB Identification: CEN09CA162
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 08, 2009 in Terre Haute, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/2009
Aircraft: Cameron Balloons V-77, registration: N7524J
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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 pilot and passenger departed on a personal flight and flew for 30-40 minutes, during which the pilot performed a simulated "pilot light failure" emergency procedure. The pilot performed the simulation so as to "teach" the passenger the procedure. The pilot light was reportedly not extinguished during or after the simulation. Following the simulation, the pilot began a stair-step climb for the approach to a landing area during which the pilot light extinguished at the last stop of the climb. The pilot said he had three sources of ignition aboard: a flint spark provided by the balloon manufacturer, a grill lighter, and a wind proof grill lighter. He could not relight the pilot light after three attempts, and also attempted to light fuel from the whisper and blast valves. The pilot stated that fuel emanated from these valves during the relight attempts. There was about 25 gallons of fuel remaining at the time of the accident. The pilot then pulled the "red line or deflation line" to deflate the balloon. The balloon descended into 180-foot-high power lines and caught fire, which consumed the basket and envelope. The pilot was uninjured and the passenger received minor injuries. The pilot accumulated a total flight time of 30 hours in lighter-than-air aircraft, of which 15 hours were in the accident make and model. He last performed a "pilot light failure" emergency procedure about 5 months prior to the accident flight.

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

The loss of the burner pilot light during approach to the landing area and the pilot's failure to relight the burner using alternate sources.

Full narrative available

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