Accident Kavanagh B-350 VH-ZYO,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220171
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Date:Wednesday 26 December 2018
Time:06:15 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Kavanagh B-350
Owner/operator:Go Wild Ballooning
Registration: VH-ZYO
MSN: B350-276
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Gruyere, VIC -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Wandin, Victoria
Destination airport:Coldstream, Victoria
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Kavanagh B-350 hot air balloon, registration VH-ZYO, operated as a scenic charter flight by Go Wild Ballooning, departed from Wandin, Victoria with the pilot and 15 passengers on board.
After 20 minutes in flight, and while operating at an altitude of about 800 ft, the pilot recalled hearing a small explosion from the front left burner and observed that a small fire had started on the outside of the burner. The pilot switched off the vapour valve at the fuel tanks to the front two burners and disconnected the hoses.
About a minute later, the pilot attempted to put out the fire using one of two on-board extinguishers, but the fire re-ignited almost immediately. After a further minute, the pilot discharged the second fire extinguisher, but again the fire re-ignited.
Moments later, the pilot’s compartment caught fire. The pilot was wearing a cotton shirt, synthetic vest, rolled-up pants, and rubber slip-on shoes and began to feel uncomfortable with his proximity to the fire. He then moved from the pilot’s compartment to the back left compartment of the basket.
About 8 minutes after the fire started, the pilot identified a suitable landing position and began the approach. During the descent, the basket struck some treetops and the ropes became tangled in the branches. Passengers reported that the branches whipped around and into the basket, with one passenger sustaining cuts to his hand. The pilot freed the ropes from the tree and brought the balloon to rest in the paddock below. As the basket touched the ground, the passengers jumped out and ran to safety.
The fire continued to burn as the pilot secured the balloon. When emergency services arrived on site, flames had engulfed the balloon. By the time firefighters extinguished the flames, the fire had destroyed the balloon.

What the ATSB found:
The ATSB found that the in-flight fire was the result of a fuel leak at the front left burner. Due to severe fire damage, the source of the leak could not be determined conclusively, but it was considered most likely to be the main ball valve, liquid fire valve or liquid fire valve connection to the main valve block.
The hand-wheel valve on the liquid outlet of the fuel tank and the pilot burners were not shut-off, which resulted in the pilot being unable to control the fire. Installation of a 90-degree valve on the liquid fuel outlet may have assisted the pilot to recognise that the liquid fuel valve was not shut-off.
In addition, the pilot's clothing did not meet the recommended industry standards for personal protective equipment, which increased the risk to his personal safety.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: AO-2019-001
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

26-Dec-2018 08:54 Iceman 29 Added
10-Jan-2019 23:43 RobertMB Updated [Date, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Embed code]
03-Jul-2019 07:53 harro Updated [Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Damage, Narrative, Accident report, ]
21-Mar-2022 06:39 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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