CEN10CA010
CEN10CA010

During a morning balloon competition flight the pilot was attempting to maneuver the balloon in order to drop a marker on a target. When approaching the target area the pilot said she was flying at approximately 15 feet above ground level when she “burned to ascend” over a steel frame sponsor’s tent on the edge of the competition target area. The balloon cleared the rear of the tent but the basket struck the front edge. A review of a video recording of the event shows that the impact abruptly tilted the basket more than 45 degrees. The passenger was ejected and fell approximately 30 feet to the ground. Suddenly minus the weight of the missing passenger the balloon then ascended rapidly and the pilot attempted to correct by venting. The rapid climb and the venting at the top of the balloon envelope caused the mouth of the balloon to close and the balloon then began descending rapidly. The pilot was unable to correct the descent with a burn because the closed mouth was being burned by the flames from the burner. The balloon landed hard and sustained minor damage. The passenger and pilot both sustained serious injuries.

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