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N2200D accident description

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Tail numberN2200D
Accident dateApril 07, 2004
Aircraft typeFirefly F8B
LocationEatonton, GA
Near 33.601944 N, -83.451667 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 7, 2004 at 1815 eastern daylight time, a Firefly F8B, N2200D, registered to and operated by a commercial pilot, broke a quick release tie down eyebolt during inflation near Eatonton, Georgia. The intended personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the balloon sustained minor damage. The local flight was intended to depart Lake Oconee near Eatonton, Georgia, at 1820.

According to a witness during the inflation process of the balloon one of the tie down eyebolts broke. The quick release tie down eyebolt was installed on the tailgate of automobile. The windline hit the commercial pilot in the head. The balloon skid across the grass and hit a tree.

Examination of the balloon revealed that six wicker panels were broken. The fractured quick release tie down eyebolt was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory for further examination. The examination of the eyebolt revealed that the threaded portion of the eyebolt was fractured adjacent to one of the nuts. The fracture features were typical of a recent bending overstress fracture.

The commercial pilot was airlifted to Putnam County Medical Center, and subsequently moved to Atlanta Medical Center on April 8, 2004. The commercial pilot expired on April 11, 2004. No autopsy or toxicological examinations were performed. The death certificate states the cause of death as "cerebral herniation due to cerebral edema, blunt head and neck injury."

According to a representative from Firefly Balloons, the F8B is not equipped with the quick release tie down eyebolt system. The quick release tie down eyebolt is an after-market item.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.