|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : sea|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 150
|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 : 33|
flight time total : 285
flight time type : 33
|Anomaly||conflict : ground critical|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
The occurrence happened at a balloon rally. Upon landing a gust of wind (or landing rebound) drug the balloon toward power lines. Balloon contacted lines causing minor ($100) damage to balloon. The problem was caused by: 1) the takeoff field chosen by the rally was poor, 2) change of wind, 3) poor pilot response to conditions. The takeoff location was too close to the kent west hill and sea tac airport. All but lower level winds were blowing toward this area. This first part of the flight was low and generally in a northerly direction. This wind began to change so I gained altitude. These winds continued to blow towards the kent west hill. Upon descending I encountered thermal winds which took my balloon on a complete 360 degree circle around a stand of trees approximately 150' from power lines. I became concerned with the circular winds. I also knew if I gained altitude to fly over the power lines the wind would probably blow me onto the west hill, which was a very undesirable situation. I knew I was close to power lines, but believed a safe landing was no problem. I decided to land over the field I was over to avoid going up and possibly blowing onto the west hill. On landing a gust of wind (or landing rebound) pushed the balloon toward the lines into contact. As pwrline contact is always serious, I've spent considerable time analyzing the flight. No one item or decision caused the problem, but a series of events: 1) launching in a balloon rally from a location where I would not have launched under normal conditions. 2) winds above approximately 100', blowing toward undesirable flight areas which are of more concern to me than landing in close proximity to power lines. 3) having made many lndgs in light winds with no movement of the balloon after T/D, I did not expect any movement. 4) misjudging the closeness of the lines. 20/20 hindsight indicates no launch should have been made. After launch when the wind (at low levels changed), I was faced with 2 options. One was to fly toward or upon to the west hill, which was highly undesirable but not threatening serious injury, or to land which was desirable, but if conditions permitted could cause power line contact and the threat of injury. This I chose. It was the wrong choice. When possible power line contact is even remotely possible, that landing should not be attempted under any conditions. If it can happen, it will eventually happen. Thus, no landing closer than 100 yds to power lines should even be attempted.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: HOT AIR BALLOON STRUCK HIGH TENSION PWR LINES ON LNDG.
Narrative: THE OCCURRENCE HAPPENED AT A BALLOON RALLY. UPON LNDG A GUST OF WIND (OR LNDG REBOUND) DRUG THE BALLOON TOWARD PWR LINES. BALLOON CONTACTED LINES CAUSING MINOR ($100) DAMAGE TO BALLOON. THE PROB WAS CAUSED BY: 1) THE TKOF FIELD CHOSEN BY THE RALLY WAS POOR, 2) CHANGE OF WIND, 3) POOR PLT RESPONSE TO CONDITIONS. THE TKOF LOCATION WAS TOO CLOSE TO THE KENT W HILL AND SEA TAC ARPT. ALL BUT LOWER LEVEL WINDS WERE BLOWING TOWARD THIS AREA. THIS FIRST PART OF THE FLT WAS LOW AND GENERALLY IN A NORTHERLY DIRECTION. THIS WIND BEGAN TO CHANGE SO I GAINED ALT. THESE WINDS CONTINUED TO BLOW TOWARDS THE KENT WEST HILL. UPON DSNDING I ENCOUNTERED THERMAL WINDS WHICH TOOK MY BALLOON ON A COMPLETE 360 DEG CIRCLE AROUND A STAND OF TREES APPROX 150' FROM PWR LINES. I BECAME CONCERNED WITH THE CIRCULAR WINDS. I ALSO KNEW IF I GAINED ALT TO FLY OVER THE PWR LINES THE WIND WOULD PROBABLY BLOW ME ONTO THE WEST HILL, WHICH WAS A VERY UNDESIRABLE SITUATION. I KNEW I WAS CLOSE TO PWR LINES, BUT BELIEVED A SAFE LNDG WAS NO PROB. I DECIDED TO LAND OVER THE FIELD I WAS OVER TO AVOID GOING UP AND POSSIBLY BLOWING ONTO THE WEST HILL. ON LNDG A GUST OF WIND (OR LNDG REBOUND) PUSHED THE BALLOON TOWARD THE LINES INTO CONTACT. AS PWRLINE CONTACT IS ALWAYS SERIOUS, I'VE SPENT CONSIDERABLE TIME ANALYZING THE FLT. NO ONE ITEM OR DECISION CAUSED THE PROB, BUT A SERIES OF EVENTS: 1) LAUNCHING IN A BALLOON RALLY FROM A LOCATION WHERE I WOULD NOT HAVE LAUNCHED UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS. 2) WINDS ABOVE APPROX 100', BLOWING TOWARD UNDESIRABLE FLT AREAS WHICH ARE OF MORE CONCERN TO ME THAN LNDG IN CLOSE PROX TO PWR LINES. 3) HAVING MADE MANY LNDGS IN LIGHT WINDS WITH NO MOVEMENT OF THE BALLOON AFTER T/D, I DID NOT EXPECT ANY MOVEMENT. 4) MISJUDGING THE CLOSENESS OF THE LINES. 20/20 HINDSIGHT INDICATES NO LAUNCH SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE. AFTER LAUNCH WHEN THE WIND (AT LOW LEVELS CHANGED), I WAS FACED WITH 2 OPTIONS. ONE WAS TO FLY TOWARD OR UPON TO THE WEST HILL, WHICH WAS HIGHLY UNDESIRABLE BUT NOT THREATENING SERIOUS INJURY, OR TO LAND WHICH WAS DESIRABLE, BUT IF CONDITIONS PERMITTED COULD CAUSE PWR LINE CONTACT AND THE THREAT OF INJURY. THIS I CHOSE. IT WAS THE WRONG CHOICE. WHEN POSSIBLE PWR LINE CONTACT IS EVEN REMOTELY POSSIBLE, THAT LNDG SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED UNDER ANY CONDITIONS. IF IT CAN HAPPEN, IT WILL EVENTUALLY HAPPEN. THUS, NO LNDG CLOSER THAN 100 YDS TO PWR LINES SHOULD EVEN BE ATTEMPTED.
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.