On October 28, 2001, at 0845 mountain standard time, a Cameron Balloon A-210, N30606, sustained minor damage during a hard landing near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hot-air balloon was registered to and operated by Rainbow Ryders Inc., of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured, seven passengers sustained minor injuries, and one passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight. The local flight departed from a field at 0725.

According to the pilot's written statement, the pilot obtained a weather briefing prior to the flight's departure. The pilot reported that during the initial part of the flight, the wind was "light as forecasted." During the approach, the pilot noticed the "winds starting to increase varying greatly in direction." The landing sites were "minimal," and she elected to land in a field. She briefed her passengers for a "steep approach/short field landing." As the balloon reached trees upwind from the landing site, the pilot pulled the deflation port, and warned her passengers that the landing was going to be "very hard." She added that as the balloon passed over the tree line, "it felt like we were being pushed to the ground at a greater descent than I expected." The balloon subsequently impacted the ground hard.

At 0856, the Albuquerque International Sunport's weather observation facility reported the wind from 120 degrees at 3 knots. The pilot reported the wind from 140 to 200 degrees at 15-20 knots.

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