WPR12CA173
WPR12CA173

About 0715 the pilot launched from a field with eight passengers for a commercial hot air balloon flight. He planned to conduct an approximate 60-minute-long flight, followed by a landing at one of the operator's known landing areas. According to the pilot, about 0805 he initiated an approach for landing at the planned location, and during the descent, he obtained an automated weather observation from an airport located about 6 miles to the northwest. That report stated a wind direction of 020 degrees, and a wind speed of 5 knots. During the approach, the pilot determined that the wind speed and direction would not permit a landing at his first intended site. He added heat, leveled out at approximately 50 feet above ground level (agl), and headed for a second landing site. As he neared that site, another pilot who had landed at that site advised him that the wind had picked up, and the pilot then decided to continue to a third landing site. During the climb and transit to the third site, the balloon struck some electrical wires, which the pilot did not see. The balloon remained entangled in the wires for a few seconds, and then descended to the ground. All passengers, and then the pilot, exited the basket safely. Post-landing examination of the balloon revealed that 3 of the 12 cables between the basket and the envelope were severed, 3 cables under the basket were severed, and 14 fabric panels received various amounts of damage. In his written statement to the NTSB, the pilot stated that he had been subject to "target fixation" on the third landing site, and therefore did not see the power lines.

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