LAX97LA118
LAX97LA118

On March 1, 1997, at 0815 hours mountain standard time, a Balloon Works AX-8B, N9033H, owned and operated by the pilot, collided with the ground near Parker, Arizona, during a local pleasure flight. The balloon was not damaged and the pilot and one of two passengers onboard were not injured. The other passenger received a serious injury to the ankle. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time.

According to the pilot, after 15 minutes of flight, he noticed a drop in fuel pressure and switched to another tank with the balloon making a corresponding drop in altitude and change in direction. A continuous application of the burner blast valve did not stop the rate of descent and a hard landing occurred.

The pilot stated that the loss of the propane fuel pressure in the number 2 tank just prior to the changeover to the number 4 tank, along with a wind shear, caused the balloon to collide with the ground. Wind shears were reported by several balloonists upon debriefing their flights later that morning. The pilot operator report did not indicate a mechanical malfunction or failure.

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