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N4113T accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.084722°N, 106.651111°W
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
0.0 miles away
Tail number N4113T
Accident date 05 Oct 2013
Aircraft type Cameron N105 - No Series
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 5, 2013, about 0705 mountain daylight time, a Cameron Balloon N-105, N4113T, impacted terrain while making a high wind landing on a golf course in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One passenger was seriously injured. The commercial pilot and other passenger on board were uninjured and the balloon sustained no damage. The balloon was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from Fiesta Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico, at 0615.

The pilot reported that he'd taken off with several other balloons as part of that day's Dawn Patrol flight at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Throughout the flight the pilot changed altitude several times to compensate for the 18 to 26 mile per hour (MPH) winds. The sun was coming up and the pilot saw other Dawn Patrol pilots starting to land. He looked the wind, the direction they were going, and the lack of landing sites and decided to land on a golf course. As he descended to near tree top level for his landing approach, the pilot experienced a false heavy condition which caused the balloon to descend sooner than he wanted. He applied the burners so as to avoid a house and power lines. As he came back down again approaching the surface, the pilot saw the wind had increased to about 22 MPH. The pilot and the two passengers got down in the basket in preparation for the high wind landing. About 20 feet above the ground, the pilot shut off the burners and pulled open the vent. The balloon hit the ground flat and square. The basket tipped over and dragged about 25 feet before stopping. The pilot checked the two passengers. The female passenger told him she couldn't move her foot. It was later determined that she had fractured the fibula bone in her left leg.

At 0652, the weather conditions at the Albuquerque International Airport were wind 360 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 41 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point, 35 degrees F, and altimeter 30.30 inches of Mercury.

The pilot reported the wind he encountered during the flight was unexpected and not in the weather forecast. Their launch was delayed because of winds at Fiesta Field. After a time, they put up a second pibal that indicated wind of about 5 knots. The airport towers were reporting winds of 5 and 6 knots, so they decided to take off. The pilot said that once they were in the air, the winds were nothing like the pibal showed.

The passenger broke the bone in her shin just above the ankle. She told the pilot later that as they were coming in for the landing, she was crouched down, her knees were together, and her feet were separated and slightly turned in.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's decision to land the balloon from a high approach altitude due to high winds, which resulted in a hard landing.

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