CHI06LA208
CHI06LA208

On July 20, 2006, at 1930 central daylight time, an Aerostar International, Inc., RX 8, N3639Q, piloted by a commercial pilot, struck a wire fence during landing near Claremont, Minnesota. No damage to the balloon was reported. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 business flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and one passenger were uninjured, and a second passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated from Dodge Center, Minnesota, at 1902.

The pilot stated that he departed from a nursing home located in Dodge Center and flew to the southeast for 30 minutes. While landing, the balloon struck an "old barbed wire fence [and] post." The balloon then struck a road bank. He stated that the road was flat with a 1-2 foot ditch on the side of the road. The pilot stated that the balloon and basket were not damaged, and the passenger sustained a broken ankle. The pilot stated that the passenger was observed not following landing instructions by not facing the direction of travel but had her left side facing the direction of travel.

The passenger stated that she and her husband were in a class of four people attending a community college continuing education class on balloons taught by the pilot. She stated that they had been taught during the class to face the direction of travel with knees flexed for landing. She stated that there was not enough room in the basket with her husband standing behind her and the pilot standing to her left. During landing, one of the balloon chase crew yelled that there was a fence. She was holding onto a rope handle in the balloon and was trying to move a water bottle on the floor of the basket with her left foot. During the impact, she remained in the basket and became unconscious. She sustained a broken left ankle.

The pilot received a balloon rating on his commercial pilot certificate on July 15, 2006. He accumulated a total flight time in lighter than air aircraft of 47.5 hours, of which 24.9 hours were in the last 90 days and 13 hours were in the last 30 days.

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