FTW05CA002
FTW05CA002

On October 4, 2004, approximately 0530 central daylight time, a Thunder and Colt AA-1050 Gas Balloon, United Kingdom registration G-BSRJ, was destroyed upon collision with power lines while landing near Crescent, Oklahoma. The balloon was registered to Trezpark LTD., of Boulder, Colorado, and operated by the pilot. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated observer were not injured. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 air race competition flight. The cross-country flight originated from a staging area near Albuquerque, New Mexico, at 1910 mountain daylight time on October 3, 2004.

The 4,408-hour lighter-than-air pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he was competing in a long distance competition held at the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. During the flight, the pilot obtained a weather briefing using a satellite telephone. After being informed of "convective activity to the west and south," he elected to land as soon as possible.

The pilot stated that as he controlled the balloon for landing to a field, his observer examined landing area using night vision goggles, but did not see the power lines in the field. As the balloon settled onto the ground, the envelope struck the power lines. Subsequently, the pilot and observer exited the basket and observed sparks and fire initiating from the power lines. Approximately 30 minutes later, a ground fire ensued and consumed the entire envelope and basket.

The pilot also reported that the wind changed direction from 080 degrees to 165 degrees and increased to approximately 13 knots prior to landing.

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