NYC95LA160
NYC95LA160

On July 15, 1995, at 0730 eastern daylight time, a Raven S-60A, balloon, N4214A, was destroyed when it collided with trees near Deerfield, Massachusetts. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the two passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, for the passenger flight that departed Greenfield, Massachusetts, about 0620. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated that he arrived at the balloon festival, at 0530. He checked on the weather with three other balloon pilots and the balloon meister. The consensus was that a line of thunderstorms would pass through the Greenfield, about 1000, and the pilot decided to launch his balloon.

The pilot departed Greenfield with two passengers, climbed to 2,000 feet, descended to 1,000 feet, and traveled in an easterly direction. While the balloon was traveling over Greenfield, in a north easterly direction at 5 knots, a wind shift occurred. The balloon then traveled in a southeasterly direction, and accelerated. The pilot climbed 500 feet and encountered gusty winds. During an attempted burn, the throat of the balloon collapsed due to the wind. The balloon had traveled a total of 2.5 miles from the point of departure, when it struck trees.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, at 0645, winds reported at an airport 30 miles south of Greenfield, were from 090 degrees, at 5 knots. At 0745, the winds were reported to be from 360 degrees, at 20 knots, with gusts to 40 knots.

At 0650, an airport 60 miles west-northwest of Greenfield reported severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and wind squalls. A peak wind was recorded to be from 310 degrees, at 67 knots, at 0641.

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