CHI04LA204
CHI04LA204

On July 7, 2004, at 2025 central daylight time, an Aerostar S53H balloon, N5001J, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it encountered power transmission lines during landing near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot and passenger reported no injuries. The local flight departed from Sioux Falls about 1925.

The pilot reported that the flight departed from a high school football field and climbed to 1,100 feet above ground level. The flight proceeded on a westerly heading about 8 knots ground speed for approximately 17 minutes according to the pilot. He selected an alfalfa field with 3 scattered hay bales as a landing site and began a descent.

The pilot stated he activated the burner to slow the descent as the balloon neared the field. He noted that as the basket contacted the ground, it bounced and "skidded" toward one of the hay bales. After it "bounced off" of the bale, the pilot reported that he heard the crew chief warn of power lines ahead. He stated: "I 'ripped-out' the top of the balloon to its maximum, in order to let the air out." He reported that the basket settled on a roadway and slid down a ditch. The balloon envelope subsequently contacted the power lines adjacent to the road.

Concerning safety recommendations, the pilot stated "awareness of surface conditions and location of power lines."

The pilot reported that there were no malfunctions associated with the balloon.

The Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) at the Joe Foss Field Airport (FSD) in Sioux Falls, at 1956, recorded winds from 080 degrees at 7 knots. The pilot reported winds from 090 degrees at 9 knots.

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