|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : phx|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 50
|Operator||common carrier : air taxi|
|Make Model Name||Any Unknown or Unlisted Aircraft Manufacturer|
|Flight Phase||climbout : takeoff|
descent : approach
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 20|
flight time total : 740
flight time type : 740
|Function||observation : passenger|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter other|
other anomaly other
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : exited adverse environment|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
We sent up 2 pilots which indicated we would fly in northerly direction very slow, however, after inflation, balloon drifted easterly at 7-10 KTS. We had launched less than 2 hours before sunset to be sure we would not be affected by thermals, but even 1 hour before sunset had felt some thermal activity so approached a dirt road for landing in the area that was dense with cactus and other desert plants. About 50 ft from the ground, flying level, anticipating the road, we experienced a sudden downdraft thermal wind that pushed us to the ground and, before the balloon could recover, the basket contacted a large saguaro cactus, uprooting it and scratching and bruising passenger and pilot. Balloon then stabilized and we flew downwind and were able to land on a path without incident. This is the first time in 10 yrs I have witnessed thermal activity so close to sundown.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A THERMAL THREW A HOT AIR BALLOON INTO A SAGUARO CACTUS BRUISING THE PAX AND PLT.
Narrative: WE SENT UP 2 PLTS WHICH INDICATED WE WOULD FLY IN NORTHERLY DIRECTION VERY SLOW, HOWEVER, AFTER INFLATION, BALLOON DRIFTED EASTERLY AT 7-10 KTS. WE HAD LAUNCHED LESS THAN 2 HRS BEFORE SUNSET TO BE SURE WE WOULD NOT BE AFFECTED BY THERMALS, BUT EVEN 1 HR BEFORE SUNSET HAD FELT SOME THERMAL ACTIVITY SO APCHED A DIRT ROAD FOR LNDG IN THE AREA THAT WAS DENSE WITH CACTUS AND OTHER DESERT PLANTS. ABOUT 50 FT FROM THE GND, FLYING LEVEL, ANTICIPATING THE ROAD, WE EXPERIENCED A SUDDEN DOWNDRAFT THERMAL WIND THAT PUSHED US TO THE GND AND, BEFORE THE BALLOON COULD RECOVER, THE BASKET CONTACTED A LARGE SAGUARO CACTUS, UPROOTING IT AND SCRATCHING AND BRUISING PAX AND PLT. BALLOON THEN STABILIZED AND WE FLEW DOWNWIND AND WERE ABLE TO LAND ON A PATH WITHOUT INCIDENT. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YRS I HAVE WITNESSED THERMAL ACTIVITY SO CLOSE TO SUNDOWN.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.