Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ultramagic N-300, N64EX: Accident occurred March 28, 2018 in Cave Creek, Maricopa County, Arizona

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N64EX

Location: Cave Creek, AZ
Accident Number: GAA18CA185
Date & Time: 03/28/2018, 0830 MST
Registration: N64EX
Aircraft: ULTRAMAGIC SA N 300
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 13 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Business - Sightseeing 

The pilot reported that, during landing, the balloon came to rest pressing against a small tree. He added that when he applied heat to the envelope to reposition the balloon for deflation, a small hole appeared in the fabric and a small tree branch protruded into the envelope. Upon adding the heat, the tree branch inside the envelope caught fire causing the envelope fabric to catch fire. The passengers exited the basket, two fire extinguishers were deployed in an attempt to extinguish the fire, but the basket and envelope were consumed by the fire.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the balloon that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/26/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/02/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) , 287 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ULTRAMAGIC SA
Registration: N64EX
Model/Series: N 300 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Balloon
Serial Number: 300/59
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 0
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/25/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6446 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 0 None
Airframe Total Time: 327.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: 
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: HOT AIR EXPEDITIONS
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commercial Air Tour (136) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDVT, 1455 ft msl
Observation Time: 1553 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 210°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / -7°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Phoenix, AZ
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Cave Creek, AZ
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0730 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 12 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 13 None
Latitude, Longitude:  33.798056, -112.006389 (est)






CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Authorities say a hot air balloon carrying 13 people crashed and caught fire Wednesday morning in the desert outside Phoenix, igniting a small brush fire but causing no injuries.

Phoenix fire Capt. Jake Van Hook says it started "only a small amount of fire," which crews quickly extinguished.

A witness video shows flames and a large plume of black smoke in an area of dry brush as several people on a dirt path look on.

The crash occurred just before 8:30 a.m. in the area of  36th Street and Carefree Highway in Cave Creek, just north of the Phoenix metro area, according to Maricopa County Sheriff's officials.

Preliminary reports from the National Transportation Safety Board say it appears the incident started when a tree branch punctured the balloon's colorful outer covering, known as the "envelope."

"That branch caught fire," NTSB spokesman Chris O'Neil said.

O'Neil said all 13 people safely evacuated the balloon's basket, which then caught fire. The group attempted to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but it consumed the basket.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating. It's not yet clear if the pilot was trying to land when the puncture occurred.

"The sequence (of events) and the mechanics will become clearer as we go on," O'Neil said. "It's fortunate that no one was hurt."

No injuries were reported to the 13 people on board and no other information was immediately available, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

A phone message from The Associated Press left with the company the operated the hot air balloon tour,  Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix, was not immediately returned, but the company issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement, the fire started after the balloon had landed and the passengers had left the basket.

The company said the pilot, who has more than 30 years of experience, was landing after a "standard, safe hot air balloon flight."

"The landing, which was also a safe, calm, and routine landing, was facilitated as well," the statement explained. "The balloon landed in a desert area, near a tree. ... Once all passengers had exited the hot air balloon, it was observed that a branch of the nearby tree had caught fire, which was in turn touching the envelope of the hot air balloon, causing the hot air balloon envelope to catch fire, ultimately followed by the hot air balloon basket."  

Taking issue with the description of the incident as a crash, Hot Air Expeditions said its passengers were not "in harms way prior to, during, or after the incident, and were all in good spirits." 

Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.azfamily.com





PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities say a hot air balloon carrying 13 people crashed and caught fire Wednesday morning in the desert outside Phoenix, igniting a small brush fire but causing no injuries.

Phoenix fire Capt. Jake Van Hook says it started “only a small amount of fire,” which crews quickly extinguished.

A witness video shows flames and a large plume of black smoke in an area of dry brush as several people on a dirt path look on.

The crash occurred just before 8:30 a.m. just north of the Phoenix metro area, according to Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials.

Preliminary reports from the National Transportation Safety Board say it appears the incident started when a tree branch punctured the balloon’s colorful outer covering, known as the “envelope.”

“That branch caught fire,” NTSB spokesman Chris O’Neil said.

O’Neil said all 13 people safely evacuated the balloon’s basket, which then caught fire. The group attempted to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but it consumed the basket.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating. It’s not yet clear if the pilot was trying to land when the puncture occurred.

“The sequence (of events) and the mechanics will become clearer as we go on,” O’Neil said. “It’s fortunate that no one was hurt.”

No injuries were reported to the 13 people on board and no other information was immediately available, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

A search of a tail number in FAA online records shows the hot air balloon is registered to Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix. A phone message left with a Hot Air Expeditions employee was not immediately returned.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://whdh.com

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