LAX96LA089
LAX96LA089

On December 30, 1995, at 0845 hours Pacific standard time, an Aerostar RX-8 balloon, N70107, sustained substantial damage during a high wind landing at Lucerne Valley, California. The balloon was owned and operated by the pilot and was engaged in a for-hire sightseeing flight with two passengers. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the operation. The balloon envelope and basket sustained substantial damage in the ground contact and obstacle collision sequence. The certificated commercial pilot and the two passengers were not injured. The flight originated at Apple Valley, California, on the day of the accident at 0815 as a local area flight.

The pilot reported that the first flight of the morning was completed successfully and new passengers were boarded for the accident flight. As the balloon achieved 3,000 feet agl during the flight, the ground crew radioed the pilot that the surface winds were rapidly increasing and were now at 20 knots. The pilot initiated a high wind landing in a field by actuating the top vent at 18 feet agl. The balloon touched down firmly and was drug by the winds about 1,500 feet along the ground until it was stopped by a chain link fence and metal shed.

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