Hard landing Accident Balloon Works FireFly 8 N317W,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 223298
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Date:Saturday 6 August 2016
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Balloon Works FireFly 8
Owner/operator:Araho Balloon Company Inc
Registration: N317W
MSN: F8-403
Year of manufacture:1994
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Northwood, NH -   United States of America
Phase: Standing
Departure airport:Pittsfield, NH
Destination airport:Northwood, NH
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The commercial pilot was providing sightseeing rides in a balloon as part of an annual event, which included 17 balloons. He stated that, during a weather briefing for the event, the wind was reported to be between 8 and 10 knots and forecast to reduce to less than 5 knots before increasing again. The pilot added that, after he inflated the balloon envelope, “it was not rocking,” which meant to him that the weather “was not excessively windy.” He boarded five passengers and departed. The balloon uneventfully climbed to between about 1,200 and 1,500 ft. The pilot then chose a 5-acre field for landing about 6 miles south of the departure point. The balloon landed hard, and the basket momentarily tipped over before righting itself; it then dragged along the ground before coming to a stop at the edge of the field. During the landing, one passenger fell inside the basket and was seriously injured.
Before the launch, several pibals (pilot balloons) were released to assess the wind conditions, which were determined to be changeable. Additionally, thunderstorms were moving through an area about 15 miles north of the balloons’ planned departure point. Based on that information, the other 16 balloon pilots chose not to launch. The recorded weather at an airport located about 12 miles west of the accident site, about the time of the accident, included wind from 340° at 15 knots.

Probable Cause: The balloon pilot’s inadequate weather planning and improper decision to depart in reported increasing variable winds with nearby thunderstorms, which resulted in a subsequent hard landing and a serious passenger injury.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA16LA284
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 7 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

22-Mar-2019 19:08 ASN Update Bot Added

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