CHI94LA309
CHI94LA309

On September 1, 1994, at 1915 central daylight time, a Firefly 7- 15 balloon, N2597S, was substantially damaged when it landed hard at Storm Lake Municipal Airport, Storm Lake, Iowa. Both the commercial pilot and passenger received serious injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight originated from a field located eight miles northeast of Storm Lake, Iowa. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the flight.

According to the pilot, he inflated the hot air balloon and ascended with one passenger aboard en route to Storm Lake Municipal Airport. He states as the balloon approached the airport, the balloon encountered a downdraft from a dissipating thunderstorm which was several miles away. The pilot believed that he would have to bring the balloon down to the ground quickly to avoid the wind from blowing it across the ground. Although he continued burning all the way to the ground, he was unable not stop the balloon's high rate of decent. The gondola impacted the ground hard and the pilot was thrown from the basket. A fire started near the burner assembly as the balloon rebounded into the air. The passenger was still aboard. The pilot states the balloon climbed to approximately 100 feet above the ground and then started to descend. The balloon impacted the ground for a second time. At this point the passenger was able to crawl out on the gondola. The balloon continued along the ground until it struck power lines where it came to rest.

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