|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : brl|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 20
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft|
|Flight Phase||landing other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 2|
flight time total : 364
flight time type : 364
|Anomaly||conflict : ground critical|
inflight encounter other
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
My hot air balloon flight in 4/88 started routine and normal. Wind throughout the day was calm, at time of the launch wind speed was reported to be 6 mph. My personal guidelines are 5-6 as perfect, 8-10 I start to take into consideration my direction of flight for favorable landing sites and age of passenger. After liftoff and reaching 1000-1500' AGL, I encountered some thermal air activity. I remained at approximately 2000' AGL for the remainder of the flight west/O any difficulty. I had a normal descent to my proposed landing site in a field that I had used on 2 previous flts. The balloon basket was within 2-3' of the ground, with the ground crew ready to assist with the landing procedure. West/O warning or reason a whirling gust of wind caught the balloon envelope and accelerated my ground speed to the point that I shouted to the ground crew to back clear. At this point their safety would have been in danger had they tried to grab the basket. The basket was slammed into the ground with great force. I was in the process of pulling the red line (the line that pulls out a top panel after landing to allow the hot air to escape) when I realized the balloon was airborne again. I chose not to pull the red line in event we would be lifted too far off the ground to have the top pulled out. Our next impact on the ground was in a rotating motion so that it caught the corner of the basket, spinning it to the point that the mouth of the envelope was twisted shut. After this occurred it became impossible for me to pull the red line. This lifting impacting the ground and twisting sequence repeated itself at least 4 times, possibly as high as 6 or 8 times. At some point during this I was thrown from the basket while it was in a dragging position. I am not sure, but I think the basket dragged over me after being thrown out. After dragging for some distance further, the envelope went into a low voltage power line and came to a stop. There was no fire from the envelope or electrical shock to any persons. Should something like this ever happen again it seemed that instinct was about all there was time for. Our proper training on flying, emergency procedures and safety seminars are called upon to help make the proper decisions.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: HOT AIR BALLOON APCH GND ON LNDG CAUGHT BY WIND DEVIL CAUSING LOSS OF CONTROL AND PLT TO BE THROWN FROM BASKET.
Narrative: MY HOT AIR BALLOON FLT IN 4/88 STARTED ROUTINE AND NORMAL. WIND THROUGHOUT THE DAY WAS CALM, AT TIME OF THE LAUNCH WIND SPD WAS RPTED TO BE 6 MPH. MY PERSONAL GUIDELINES ARE 5-6 AS PERFECT, 8-10 I START TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION MY DIRECTION OF FLT FOR FAVORABLE LNDG SITES AND AGE OF PAX. AFTER LIFTOFF AND REACHING 1000-1500' AGL, I ENCOUNTERED SOME THERMAL AIR ACTIVITY. I REMAINED AT APPROX 2000' AGL FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FLT W/O ANY DIFFICULTY. I HAD A NORMAL DSCNT TO MY PROPOSED LNDG SITE IN A FIELD THAT I HAD USED ON 2 PREVIOUS FLTS. THE BALLOON BASKET WAS WITHIN 2-3' OF THE GND, WITH THE GND CREW READY TO ASSIST WITH THE LNDG PROC. W/O WARNING OR REASON A WHIRLING GUST OF WIND CAUGHT THE BALLOON ENVELOPE AND ACCELERATED MY GND SPD TO THE POINT THAT I SHOUTED TO THE GND CREW TO BACK CLEAR. AT THIS POINT THEIR SAFETY WOULD HAVE BEEN IN DANGER HAD THEY TRIED TO GRAB THE BASKET. THE BASKET WAS SLAMMED INTO THE GND WITH GREAT FORCE. I WAS IN THE PROCESS OF PULLING THE RED LINE (THE LINE THAT PULLS OUT A TOP PANEL AFTER LNDG TO ALLOW THE HOT AIR TO ESCAPE) WHEN I REALIZED THE BALLOON WAS AIRBORNE AGAIN. I CHOSE NOT TO PULL THE RED LINE IN EVENT WE WOULD BE LIFTED TOO FAR OFF THE GND TO HAVE THE TOP PULLED OUT. OUR NEXT IMPACT ON THE GND WAS IN A ROTATING MOTION SO THAT IT CAUGHT THE CORNER OF THE BASKET, SPINNING IT TO THE POINT THAT THE MOUTH OF THE ENVELOPE WAS TWISTED SHUT. AFTER THIS OCCURRED IT BECAME IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO PULL THE RED LINE. THIS LIFTING IMPACTING THE GND AND TWISTING SEQUENCE REPEATED ITSELF AT LEAST 4 TIMES, POSSIBLY AS HIGH AS 6 OR 8 TIMES. AT SOME POINT DURING THIS I WAS THROWN FROM THE BASKET WHILE IT WAS IN A DRAGGING POS. I AM NOT SURE, BUT I THINK THE BASKET DRAGGED OVER ME AFTER BEING THROWN OUT. AFTER DRAGGING FOR SOME DISTANCE FURTHER, THE ENVELOPE WENT INTO A LOW VOLTAGE PWR LINE AND CAME TO A STOP. THERE WAS NO FIRE FROM THE ENVELOPE OR ELECTRICAL SHOCK TO ANY PERSONS. SHOULD SOMETHING LIKE THIS EVER HAPPEN AGAIN IT SEEMED THAT INSTINCT WAS ABOUT ALL THERE WAS TIME FOR. OUR PROPER TRNING ON FLYING, EMER PROCS AND SAFETY SEMINARS ARE CALLED UPON TO HELP MAKE THE PROPER DECISIONS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 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.