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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA15CA038
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 12, 2015 in Sherwood, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/2015
Aircraft: ULTRAMAGIC M90 - NO SERIES, registration: N890VB
Injuries: 2 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The balloon was descending toward a row of trees during an approach to a field. The pilot added heat to make the balloon ascend. Once clear of the trees, the pilot opened a vent to descend and his hand became entangled in the line. The pilot freed his hand and realized that the descent rate was excessive. He maneuvered the balloon for a landing in the field; the balloon bounced, went up about 10 to 15 feet above ground level, and then landed hard. Two passengers sustained broken feet. The balloon sustained substantial damage to 31 fabric panels in the envelope as a result of contact with the burner flames during the landing sequence.

The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the balloon prior to the flight that would have precluded normal operation of the balloon.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain the descent rate, resulting in a hard landing.