LAX07CA094
LAX07CA094

The hot air balloon collided with power lines. The pilot stated while en route to his destination he was unable to arrest a descent, as the balloon's burner performance was less then he had expected. The wind blew the balloon into the power lines. The skirts and suspension cables were scorched as a result of the contact. The pilot applied sufficient heat in the balloon's envelope and the balloon ascended to about 300 feet above ground level (agl). Shortly thereafter, he performed a landing in an open filed without mishap. The pilot estimated the winds were between 5 and 6 knots.

The pilot reported that he had amassed a total of 983.3 hours in lighter than air aircraft, of which 28.5 hours were in the same make and model as the accident balloon. He reported that at the time of the accident the temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. He opined that the cold temperature resulted in a decrease in burner performance due to the fuel cooling and less pressure flowing through the burner unit. The tanks on the accident balloon were not equipped with heating elements, although they are on the type certificate. He thought the accident could have been prevented if he had tank heater to warm the burners, or had Supplemental Type Certificated upgraded burner system.

The pilot additionally reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the balloon prior to impact.

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