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N5260E accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
Tail number N5260E
Accident date 13 Oct 2001
Aircraft type Aerostar RXS-8
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 13, 2001, at 0900 mountain daylight time, an Aerostar RXS-8 balloon, N5260E, was substantially damaged after impacting power lines during a high wind landing near the Albuquerque International Airport, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries, one passenger sustained serious injuries, and one passenger was not injured. The balloon was owned and operated by Hunterdon Balloon Co., of Flemington, New Jersey. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight. The local balloon flight departed Balloon Fiesta Park at 0808.

In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot reported that after a "short hop" flight, he was attempting to land in a large grass ball field. After clearing power lines adjacent to the landing area, the pilot fully deployed the balloon envelope vent. The balloon basket "made hard contact with the ground. A second contact was made and the balloon started to drag." The balloon envelope contacted power lines; subsequently, the pilot and passengers sustained electrical burns. The balloon basket came to rest against a set of bleachers at the ball field.

At 0756, the Albuquerque weather observation facility, located 1/2 mile south of the accident site, reported wind from 010 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 18 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, sky clear, temperature 45 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 9 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of mercury.

According to the Albuquerque International Airport air traffic control tower personnel, at the time of the accident, the wind was from 360 degrees at 19 knots.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain clearance with a power line during landing. A contributing factor was the high wind during the landing.

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