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N784TC accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.180556°N, 106.606111°W
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
7.1 miles away
Tail number N784TC
Accident date 09 Oct 2004
Aircraft type Thunder and Colt 180A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 9, 2004, at approximately 0830 mountain daylight time, a Thunder & Colt 180A hot air balloon, N784TC, operated by High But Dry Balloon's, Inc., sustained a hard landing near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The sightseeing flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The balloon was not damaged. However, one passenger received serious injuries and three passengers received minor injuries. The pilot and two other passengers on board were not injured. The flight originated at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico, at approximately 0710.

The pilot stated that, during the descent, he noticed that the surface winds had increased to approximately 18 knots. The pilot prepared his passengers for a high-wind landing by having them tow their cameras, get down in the bottom of the basket, and hold on to the handles inside the basket. The balloon landed hard and bounced. One passenger, who remained in the balloon's basket, received a broken ankle. A second passenger, who remained in the basket, and two passengers who were ejected from the basket, each received minor cuts and scratches.

At 0856, the recorded wind condition at Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ), (9 nautical miles at 195 degrees, elevation 5,355 feet msl), was: wind, 350 degrees at 9 knots.

NTSB Probable Cause

the balloon pilot's improper in-flight planning and failure to maintain aircraft control during descent into high winds resulting in a hard landing and subsequent serious injury to a passenger. Factors contributing to the accident were the high winds and excessive descent rate.

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