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N7507V accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Rio Rancho, NM
35.233375°N, 106.664472°W
Tail number N7507V
Accident date 13 Jun 2001
Aircraft type Cameron Balloons N-210
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 13, 2001, at approximately 0735 mountain daylight time, a Cameron Balloons N-210 balloon, N7507V, received minor damage during a hard, high wind landing near Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured; however, one passenger was seriously injured, and five passengers received minor injuries. The balloon was being operated by World Balloon LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico, under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight originated from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, approximately 45 minutes before the accident. No flight plan was filed.

The pilot said he received weather briefings from a variety of sources beginning at 0300 that morning. His first weather briefing was from a website on his home computer. A Flight Service Station briefing was obtained by two other pilots (who were launching with him), and he was briefed by them. Additionally, he obtained wind data from a remote sensor northwest of Rio Rancho and from another near Sandia Peak. The forecast he received indicated that winds would be from 200 degrees at 8 knots till 1000, and then changing to 250 degrees at 13 knots gusting to 22 after 1000. He launched a pibal (a small helium filed balloon) to check the current wind speed at the launch site and he determined it was "favorable."

The pilot launched with eight passengers on board, and after liftoff noted on his global positioning system that his airspeed was 4 knots. After climbing over a mesa, his airspeed increased to 8 knots. He said that 20 minutes into the flight, his airspeed was between 16 to 20 knots. At that point, there was not a suitable landing area due to a housing area and electrical transmission lines. He attempted to descend behind a hill to obtain shelter from the wind, but the wind shear became too severe for balloon operations. He found a suitable landing site of open desert and briefed the passengers on correct high wind landing procedures. During descent, the balloon's speed increased to 30 knots and directional control became difficult. During the final descent, he fired both burners all the way to the ground. Despite the firing of both burners, the balloons glide path deteriorated to 45 degrees. The balloon skidded approximately 100 yards before the envelope could be deflated and the balloon stopped. During the landing, one passenger broke an ankle.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's inadvertent weather encounter with wind shear, and the resulting inability to maintain the proper landing descent rate, which resulted in a hard landing. A factor was the high wind weather condition.

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