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N5294Q accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.189166°N, 106.576389°W
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
8.4 miles away
Tail number N5294Q
Accident date 10 Oct 2015
Aircraft type Aerostar RX8
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 9, 2015, about 0840 mountain standard time, a Aerostar RX8 Balloon, N5294Q, registered to the pilot, encountered a gust of wind after landing. Of the three occupants, the pilot and one passenger were not injured and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The local personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico, about 0750.

The pilot stated that after about 50 minutes of flight, he landed the balloon and waited for his ground crew to arrive. One passenger exited the basket and the second passenger remained in the basket. When the ground crew arrived, the second passenger and pilot were beginning to exit the basket when a gust of wind pushed the envelope and basket over at a 45-degree angle. The pilot told the passenger to hold on and began pulling the envelope deflation red line. After a few seconds, the wind shifted 90-degrees and pushed the envelope and rotated the basket 90 degrees. The pilot and passenger were tossed out of the basket onto the ground. The passenger fell on her right shoulder and struck her head on the burner frame. She was transported to the hospital by ambulance and treated for a fracture of the right shoulder.

About the time of the accident, the nearest weather reporting facility, Albuquerque International Sunport, Albuquerque, New Mexico, located about 15 nautical miles from the accident site, reported wind from 080 degrees at 12 knots. The pilot reported on NTSB Form 6120 that the winds were variable at 3 knots and gusting to 14 knots.

The pilot offered a safety recommendation in the submitted NTSB Form 6120. He stated that he should have had the passenger sit down in the bottom of the basket and should have had the ground line ground crew person release the line when the wind shifted.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's delay in deflating the balloon envelope completely after landing, which resulted in a loss of control due to a wind gust.

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