On October 6, 1997, at 0830 mountain daylight time, an Aerostar S-60A balloon, N63459, sustained substantial damage during an unplanned takeoff at Albuquerque, New Mexico. The commercial balloon pilot and his four passengers were not injured and substantial damage was done to a residence which the balloon struck. The flight was a personal local area flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91 and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the accident to the Safety Board on March 13, 1998. It had been reported to the FAA on October 8, 1997. No reason for the delay could be confirmed.

According to the pilot, after a flight of one hour, the balloon landed in a field. The balloon came to a stop and remained at rest for approximately 5 minutes at which time it was hit by a gust of wind which lifted it and carried it down wind into the side of a house. A wall of the house was cracked and the swamp cooler on the roof was torn off. The pilot said the balloon landed a short time later.

Reported wind at the time was from 015 degrees magnetic at 5 knots. No gusts were recorded during the time period encompassing the accident.

An examination of the balloon by an FAA airworthiness inspector provided evidence that the metal framework of the basket had sustained damage necessitating major repairs.

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