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N370LB accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Brookfield, MO
39.783080°N, 93.072979°W
Tail number N370LB
Accident date 02 Sep 2018
Aircraft type Lindstrand 77A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 2, 2018, at 0835 central daylight time, a Lindstrand Balloons 77A, N370LB, experienced a hard landing in a field during the Great Pershing Balloon Derby, Brookfield Missouri. The commercial pilot was ejected from the balloon basket and was uninjured. The passenger sustained serious injuries. The balloon was undamaged. The balloon was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight originated 0751.

The pilot stated that he obtained a weather briefing from the Great Pershing Balloon Derby event staff before the flight. The reported and forecast winds in the area were less than 10 knots, and the reported and forecast winds "a couple of 100 feet above ground level" were 10-20 knots with no increase of surface winds. He and several other pilots at the launch site launched pibals to confirm the wind conditions.

After departure, the pilot flew to target locations and began navigating to find a good landing site. The other balloons had landed when he started to notice an increase in wind shear. He attempted an approach to a landing at a site but aborted the landing due to a fence line and his concerns about landing on private property. He continued flying across a tree line and bean field at which point the passenger told him that the balloon's speed was 10 miles per hour (mph), based upon information from the passenger's cellular phone. The pilot said he again encountered wind shear and climbed the balloon to a "safe" altitude. He said that the next suitable field for landing was ahead. He descended the balloon through wind shear over a crop field, and the passenger said the cellular phone now indicated the balloon's speed as 17 mph. He said that he re-briefed hard landing procedures to the passenger in preparation for a landing on an approaching field, which had powerlines along a road on the upwind side of the field. He climbed the balloon to about 40 feet above ground level (agl) to clear the powerlines and then began a descent to the field, which had a "slight" downslope, following by a "small" ditch, and then an upslope. In preparation for a hard landing, he turned off the fuel and pilot lights. About 10 feet agl, he pulled the deflation port line (commonly called rip line and is colored red) and braced for impact. The balloon impacted the ground on the downslope of the field, and the pilot was ejected from the front of the basket. He held onto the rip line for a "few" moments, as the balloon climbed with the passenger aboard, and yelled to the passenger to grab the rip line. The passenger grabbed the rip line, and the balloon entered a "rapid" descent from about tree top level in the field where it experienced a hard landing.

The pilot stated there was no mechanical malfunction/failure of the balloon.

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