NTSB Identification: CEN16LA352
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 04, 2016 in Morrill, NE
Aircraft: CAMERON Z90, registration: N982ZS
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On September 4, 2016, about 0830 mountain daylight time, a Cameron Z-90 lighter than air balloon with airborne heater, N982ZS, registered to and operated by a private individual, struck a power line and terrain during an uncontrolled descent, two and a half miles northeast of Morrill, Nebraska. The pilot and two passengers on board were not injured and the balloon received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The local flight originated from Mitchell, Nebraska, about 0700.
The pilot reported that he ran out of fuel while in flight and was not able to maneuver the balloon to his intended landing site. During the uncontrolled descent, the balloon struck powerlines, which did thermal arcing damage to one of the carabiners that attaches the basket to the envelope. There was also thermal damage to two panels in the balloon envelope, and the envelope temperature sensor wire that runs from the top of the envelope to the instruments in the basket was burnt in half.