NTSB Identification: CEN10CA015
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 08, 2009 in Albuquerque, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/29/2009
Aircraft: AEROSTAR INTERNATIONAL RX8, registration: N4014J
Injuries: 1 Serious,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.

After a morning balloon flight of more than one hour the private pilot was making her third attempt at landing. On the previous attempts a slight wind shift to the left was taking the balloon away from the target area and into unacceptable obstructions. The pilot said she was aware that “fuel was an issue” and she knew she did not have enough fuel to cross the congested downtown metropolitan area ahead. She picked a parking lot with one end empty of vehicles as her landing area. After crossing the wires on the edge of the parking lot she “ripped out pulling the vent line as far as (she) could”. The pilot joined her passengers at the bottom of the balloon's basket for the expected hard landing as balloon skidded across the parking lot and struck a concrete barrier. Becoming airborne again, the basket then struck and damaged a building and fell approximately six feet to the ground. One passenger sustained a fractured ankle. The other occupants were not injured and the balloon sustained minor damage.

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

The pilot’s failure to select an adequate landing area.

Full narrative available

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