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N994AF accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 36.333333°N, 106.600000°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Albuquerque, NM
35.084491°N, 106.651137°W
86.3 miles away
Tail number N994AF
Accident date 05 Oct 2003
Aircraft type Lindstrand Balloons LBL
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 5, 2003, at 0723 mountain daylight time, a Lindstrand Balloons LBL, N994AF, operated by Enchanted Winds Balloon Company, collided with a cement wall after departing Albuquerque City Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The commercial certificated instructor pilot was not injured; however, two passengers received serious injuries and three passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan had been filed for the local flight being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at approximately 0715 and landed at approximately 0755.

According to the pilot, during climb out the balloon encountered a downdraft. The pilot stated that he attempted to regain control of the balloon, but was unable before it impacted a cement wall. The balloon envelope received minor burn damage and two passengers were seriously injured.

According to the passengers, the balloon was climbing when the pilot pulled the deflation line that released a flap at the top of the balloon. The balloon then descended rapidly striking terrain, bouncing, and then colliding with the retaining wall. The passengers were thrown to the floor of the balloon, but the pilot remained on his feet, re-inflated the balloon, and continued the flight for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

Two passengers asked the pilot, after the collision, what had happened. The pilot replied, "He had pulled the wrong chord."

The METAR (routine aviation weather) report taken at 0756: winds, 360 degrees at 8 knots; temperature 51 degrees F; dew point 45 degrees

One passenger sustained a broken ankle and another passenger sustained a broken hip. All five passengers received abrasions and bruises.

NTSB Probable Cause

the inadequate in-flight planning/decision by the pilot. Contributing factors include the inadvertent activation of the deflation line by the pilot and the retaining wall.

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