LAX03LA095
LAX03LA095

On February 22, 2003, at 0800 Pacific standard time, an Aerostar RX-7 balloon, N6413N, collided with power lines while maneuvering to land in a meadow northwest of Reno, Nevada. The balloon was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured; the balloon sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed from a nearby field at 0715. No flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated that he was crossing a north-south ridgeline while approaching a landing spot in a meadow. The balloon flew over the descending slope and cleared a set of power lines that ran parallel to the ridgeline. A sudden wind shift occurred, blowing the balloon back towards the power lines. The pilot turned on the burner in an attempt to clear the power lines again, however, sufficient lift was not achieved. Realizing that a collision was inevitable, the burner and tanks were shut off and instruments disconnected. After the initial impact the balloon continued rising, and the pilot pulled the 'rip-cord' attached to the deflation port. A rapid decent followed, and the balloon came to rest directly under the power lines.

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