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N90550 accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
Tail number N90550
Accident date 10 Oct 2012
Aircraft type Aerostar International RX8
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 10, 2012, about 0850 mountain daylight time, an Aerostar International Inc, RX 8, N90550, experienced a high wind landing and impact with a fence near Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the International Balloon Fiesta 2012. The balloon sustained substantial damage to the basket and envelope. The private pilot was uninjured and two passengers sustained minor injuries. The balloon was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the flight that departed from the Balloon Fiesta Field (AIBF), near Albuquerque, New Mexico, about 0800.

The pilot stated that after attending a mandatory pilot briefing at AIBF, the balloon was launched with the first wave of balloons. About 45 minutes after the launch, an approach for landing was made near the Frito Lay Distribution Center where the pilot found the winds were faster than forecasted. The balloon descended from a "quicker" wind layer and the pilot found the balloon unresponsive in attempts to level out and land the balloon just south of a fenced area; however, the balloon impacted the fence.

The pilot believed that there was a rotor type wind coming off a higher area to the east. The balloon experienced a false heavy, and the balloon became unresponsive, forcing it into the fence. The wind pushed the balloon further west and hampered the location of the intended landing.

There were east/west power lines near the north side of the Frito Lay Distribution Center. The area south of fence was a field that did not contain any structure for about 300 feet. The southern edge of the field was delineated by at an east/west road. The were also other buildings south of the east/west road.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s failure to attain the desired touchdown point because of wind conditions and surrounding obstructions, which resulted in the balloon impacting a fence during the approach to landing.

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