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N7179Z accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.138889°N, 106.619445°W
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
4.2 miles away
Tail number N7179Z
Accident date 17 May 2003
Aircraft type Aerostar International S66A-3060
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 17, 2003, at 0740 mountain daylight time, an Aerostar International S66A-3060 balloon, N7179Z, owned and operated by Skyspan Adventures LLC., was involved in a hard landing at The Gravel Pit, near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The pilot and three passengers were not injured; however, one passenger received serious injuries and one passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan had been filed for this local sightseeing flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from The Gravel Pit at approximately 0645.

The pilot stated that, at 100 feet above ground level, his global positioning system (GPS), indicated a ground speed of 15 mph. As he was getting ready to land, he noticed that the GPS was indicating a ground speed of 18 mph. He briefed his passengers and prepared them for a "high wind" landing. As the balloon hit the ground, the GPS was indicating a ground speed of 12 mph. He pulled the deflation vent and the balloon's envelope began to collapse. The balloon slid a few feet and the basket struck a 2 foot high berm. The basket tipped over and the balloon slid another 70 feet. The balloon was not damaged; however, during the impact, one passenger injured her knee and a second passenger suffered a broken ankle.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during a high wind landing, which resulted in a hard landing. Contributing factors include the high wind and the berm.

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