NTSB Identification: CEN11CA654
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 16, 2011 in Mingo, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/01/2011
Aircraft: BALLOON WORKS FIREFLY 8, registration: N3181A
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.

During a balloon flight, the pilot advised the two passengers to face in the direction of travel and to bend their knees when they land. The pilot also indicated to the passengers that momentum would propel the basket occupants forward during the landing. The wind at the time of landing reportedly gave the balloon a 9 mph groundspeed. The pilot executed a touchdown into a ditch alongside a highway after making a landing approach over a soybean field. The basket subsequently laid over on its side. One passenger sustained a serious ankle injury during the hard landing. The pilot and the other passenger were not injured and the balloon was not damaged. According to the pilot, the injured passenger indicated that her knees were bent before landing. He stated that he would instruct future passengers to point their toes in the direction of travel and add a question to his passenger questionnaire to inquire if a passenger had a medical condition that would cause the passenger to have weak bones.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the balloon’s descent during the landing, which resulted in the balloon having a hard landing in a ditch and causing a passenger to be seriously injured.

Full narrative available

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