Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Cabin Safety Event: Cameron A-250, N2025J, fatal accident occurred August 03, 2018 in Hartsel, Park County, Colorado

Dana Joyce Haskell
April 5th, 1945 - August 3rd, 2018 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

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/N2025J


Location: Hartsel, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA309
Date & Time: 08/03/2018, 0815 MDT
Registration: N2025J
Aircraft: Cameron A 250
Aircraft Damage: None
Defining Event: Cabin safety event
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 9 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Business - Sightseeing

On August 3, 2018, about 0815 mountain daylight time, a Cameron Balloons US A-250 balloon, N2025J, landed in an open field about 12 miles east of Hartsel, Colorado. The commercial rated pilot, commercial rated co-pilot, and seven passengers were not injured; one passenger sustained serious injuries and one passenger was fatally injured. The balloon was not damaged. The balloon was registered to Colorado Rocky Ballooning LLC, Dillon, Colorado, and operated by Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a revenue sightseeing flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight departed at 0717.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the balloon departed from a field about 6 miles northwest of the accident site. At the end of the sightseeing flight the pilot landed the balloon in a flat field; during the landing the basket bounced several times and tipped over (figure 1).

Figure 1 – Several ground scars leading up to the basket on its side

When the basket tipped over, two female passengers fell out; one landed on top of the other and both sustained injuries. The first injured passenger, age 65, sustained a broken wrist and experienced shoulder pain, while the other injured passenger, age 73, was administered CPR by two of the other passengers, then was flown to a local hospital.

Several of the other passengers onboard the balloon stated after the accident that pilots provided an initial flight briefing as well as a briefing before landing, which included information about how they should situate themselves in the basket for a safe landing. The pilots instructed them to crouch down with their knees bent, hold onto two straps on the basket, face toward the direction of travel, and brace against the side wall since the landing would be rougher than they might expect. The passengers reportedly understood that the basket was expected to tip over after landing. 

Co-Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 29, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/20/2017
Flight Time:  246 hours (Total, all aircraft), 104 hours (Total, this make and model), 2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 70 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 42 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/14/2018
Flight Time:  1745 hours (Total, all aircraft), 510 hours (Total, this make and model), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

The operator did not report that any of the passengers had a medical condition or physical limitation that would require special precaution or prevent them from riding in the balloon. None of the passengers reported any disqualifying conditions to the operator prior to the flight. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cameron
Registration: N2025J
Model/Series: A 250 No Series
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Balloon
Serial Number: 6550
Landing Gear Type:
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:
Airframe Total Time: 494.4 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner:  Colorado Rocky Ballooning Llc
Rated Power:
Operator: Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The Cameron Balloons US A-250 envelope has an actual volume and effective lift of 250,000 cubic ft, with a maximum gross weight of 5,000 lbs. The balloon was fitted with an Aerostar Classic XII Basket (RB12-119) and equipped with three burners and three 23.5 gallon liquid propane tanks. The basket is designed to hold 12 passengers and one pilot. 

The balloon was equipped with a Flytec 3040 balloon flight instrument. The compact device provides altimeter and variometer (indicates rate of climb/descent) readings, wind speed, ambient temperature, remote envelope temperature sensing, envelope temperature alarms, descent alarm, and a real-time clock and stop watch.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 10000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.57 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hartsel, CO
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hartsel, CO
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

The pilot's both reported that the wind speed during landing was 7 to 8 mph which is considered moderate wind for this type of operation. 

The passengers did not mention any adverse wind conditions in their statements.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 7 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 9 None
Latitude, Longitude: 39.005833, -105.576944 (est)

After the accident the pilot-in-command (PIC) stated that with the moderate wind they expected the basket to tip over after landing, which was typical for a moderate wind landing. After initial contact the basket dragged on the ground about 40 to 50 ft, then came to rest. The co-pilot then "pulled the top out" to release the hot air and deflate the envelope. The PIC stated that the basket had come to a complete stop, and during the deflation the basket tipped over on its side, came down hard, and the two passengers in the upper left compartment (figure 2) of the basket fell out. 


Figure 2 – The basket on its side. The upper left compartment is noted in red.

The responding FAA inspector did not report any malfunctions or anomalies with the balloon or it's components. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The El Paso Country Coroner, Colorado Springs, Colorado, performed an autopsy on the passenger and determined that the cause of death was blunt force neck trauma.

Additional Information

Company Operations Manual

The company operations manual stated in part, "Pre-Flight/Pre-Boarding – The chief pilot is to perform a passenger briefing to all passengers prior to boarding the aircraft. This briefing must include all possible landing scenarios including high wind tip over landings, it must explain in detail where to hold on and how to stand during landing and stress that it is essential to their safety that they obey their pilot in commands instructions. Pre-Flight/Post-Boarding - The PIC must once again go over the landing instructions once the passengers have boarded to physically show them where to hold on and how to stand in their particular basket. Prior to Landing - The PIC must evaluate the expected nature of the landing and inform the passengers accordingly. If it is expected to be anything but a feather landing the PIC must show a sense of urgency to get the passengers attention. Once again, show them where to hold on with both hands, how to stand, repeat that they must keep arms and hands in the basket, make sure that they are watching the direction of travel so they know when to brace on contact and repeat again to keep holding on even after the landing until instructed to let go by the PIC and stay in the basket. Upon Landing - The PIC must make sure that the passengers continue to hold on with both hands and to stay in the basket until instructed to disembark. Once safely out of the basket the passengers must be informed to move to the back side of the basket on the upwind side."

The operator stated that he used the Cameron Balloons A-250 flight manual for flight operations. The FAA inspector confirmed that the Cameron flight manual should be used since the envelope is the type certificated portion of the aircraft.

Cameron Balloons A-250 Flight Manual

According to the Cameron flight manual, "passengers are to be briefed on appropriate clothing and footwear to wear to launch site. Passenger health confirmed suitable for balloon flight (ask each passenger about heart condition, possible altitude limitations (for heart or lung problems), general strength, pregnancy, or any physical or medical condition that would make flight inadvisable or require special precautions or equipment). The manual also states in part, "passengers should be briefed to hold on with both hands, knees slightly bent to absorb shock on impact, and to stay down in the basket to prevent being thrown out during the landing. If a stand-up landing is anticipated, the passengers need not brace their bodies against the wall of the basket or against each other. If it will be a high wind landing or a during a rapid vertical descent and it Is expected that the basket may rebound or tip over or drag on a corner, the passengers should be briefed to face away from the direction of flight, hold on to an interior basket handle or tank collar in front in them, and crouch slightly. This position is most likely to prevent them from being thrown from the basket on impact or while dragging."

Aerostar Basket Flight Manual

The Aerostar flight manual stated, "helmets are required for all occupants on board and must be worn during emergency procedures as specified in Section 3 of this manual as well as any other time it is deemed necessary by the pilot-in-command. It is recommended that the minimum guidelines be:

1. Optional for take-offs and landings in winds less than 10 mph (16 KPH),

2. Utilized for all take-offs and landings in winds of 10 mph (1 6 KPH) or greater

3. Utilized for low altitude flight, including take-offs and landings, when wind conditions are gusty or unstable.

It is strongly recommended that helmets be worn for the above conditions as a minimum. The final determination of such utilization remains with the pilot-in-command and he or she must apply these guidelines based on experience and each individual situation as it arises. Passengers must be briefed on their proper use prior to flight. The type of helmet to be utilized is at the option of the pilot, but a helmet marketed by its manufacturer as intended for use with motorcycles, bicycles, mountain climbing or ice hockey is strongly recommended."

The Aerostar flight manual also stated in part, "CAUTION Passengers should be briefed to exact the possibility of "rebound" and a second landing in windy conditions. NOTE Wind conditions will dictate whether or not the panel must be opened for rapid deflation. Moderate to strong wind will require immediate deflation. Continuous tension on actuation line is required for rapid deflation.

Emergency/Hard Landing or High Wind Landing

Descent:

1. Brief passengers to:

a. Put on protective helmets immediately.

b. Face direction of travel.

c. Hold on to basket aluminum superstructure.

CAUTION Do not hold on to suspension cables, fuel lines or fittings. Hand injuries or fuel system damage may result.

d. Bend knees slightly, muscles tense.

e. Observe landing progression.

f. Remain in basket until instructed otherwise.

Landing:


3. Stay in the basket until it comes to rest or a safe exit can be made by all passengers simultaneously."

Location: Hartsel, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA309
Date & Time: 08/03/2018, 0815 MDT
Registration: N2025J
Aircraft: Cameron A 250
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 9 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal - Sightseeing 

On August 3, 2018, about 0815 mountain daylight time, a Cameron Balloons A250 balloon, N2025J, landed in an open field about 12 miles east of Hartsel, Colorado. The commercial rated pilot, commercial rated co-pilot, and 7 passengers were not injured; 1 passenger sustained serious injuries and the final passenger was fatally injured. The balloon did not sustain any damage. The balloon was registered to Colorado Rocky Ballooning LLC, Dillon, Colorado, and operated by Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a revenue sightseeing flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the balloon departed from a field about 6 miles northwest of the accident site at 0717. At the end of the sightseeing flight the pilot landed the balloon in a flat field; during the landing the basket bounced several times and tipped over. When the basket tipped over two passengers fell out; one passenger landed on top of the other and both sustained injuries. One of the injured passengers was flown to a local hospital a died as a result of her injures from the accident.

After the accident the pilot-in-command stated that the wind speed was moderate about 7 to 8 mph and that they expected the basket to tip over after landing. Upon landing the balloon bounced three times over a distance of 50 ft then came to rest. The co-pilot "pulled the top out" to release the hot air and deflate the envelope. During the deflation the basket tipped over on its side and the two passengers in the upper left compartment of the basket fell out.

Several of the other passengers onboard the balloon stated that pilots briefed them about the landing and how they should situate themselves in the basket for a safe landing. The pilots instructed them to crouch down, hold onto two straps on the basket, and brace against the side wall. The passengers knew that the basket was expected to tip over after landing.

Postaccident photos of the landing site revealed several ground scars leading up to the basket, which came to rest on its side (figure 1).


Figure 1 – Accident site

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cameron
Registration: N2025J
Model/Series: A 250 No Series
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K4BM, 11280 ft msl
Observation Time: 1430 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 10000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.57 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hartsel, CO
Destination: Hartsel, CO

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 7 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 9 None
Latitude, Longitude:  39.005833, -105.576944 (est)


A former Columbus educator who died in a hot-air-balloon accident over the weekend in Colorado was fondly remembered by her peers Monday afternoon.

Dana Joyce Haskell, 73, was severely injured when the balloon “did a hard landing,” according to a released statement from the Park County Emergency Management Office via Twitter.

The hot air balloon was carrying nine passengers and two pilots when it slammed into the ground near Hartsel, Colorado, the Park County Emergency Management Office reported.

Haskell was one of two women injured. Following the crash, Haskell was life-flighted by Flight for Life to Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she subsequently passed later in the evening.

Haskell served as an educator for the Columbus Public Schools District for 33 years. She started her career in 1967 as an English teacher at Columbus Junior High School and officially retired from CMS in 2000.

Amy Jahn, library media technology specialist at CMS, only worked with Haskell during the final four years of her career but said that it was an ample amount of time to get to know the kind of person she was.

“She coached a little bit of volleyball and taught English,” Jahn said. “I didn’t work with her that long, but she was very active, full of life, loved to golf and socialize. She just loved adventure."

Jahn said she was shocked when she heard the news of Haskell’s death, but that it came as no surprise that her former co-worker was out living life to her fullest when disaster struck.

“She was never a person who was going to be slowed down by her age or circumstances,” Jahn said. “She always got out there and stayed active. Her kindness, her sociability and her love for adventure were really what her demeanor was all about.”

The hot-air balloon flight originated out of the Hartsel area, released information stated. The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Park County Coroner David Kintz Jr. continue investigating contributing factors.

Kintz told The Telegram on Monday that he and his office were unable to further comment on the accident while the investigation continues.

Gene Stanley, director of the Park County Emergency Management Office, said in a situation like this he and his team simply make sure that the proper first responders are getting to where they need to be. On Friday, Stanley said that Hartsel Fire Protection District and South Park Ambulance District were dispatched to the scene of the accident.

Stanley said that while hot-air balloon accidents -- especially those resulting in a fatality -- are rare, the activity is pretty commonplace in that area of Colorado during the summer months.

“Fatalities are pretty unusual, but it’s (hot-air ballooning) definitely quite a normal occurrence in the Hartsel area … But yeah, this was a pretty unusual situation.”

Bettey Wieser, who taught earth science for 25 years at CMS until retiring in 2000, spent a lot of time with Haskell. They went to volleyball games together and even took short trips out of town, she said. Wieser described Haskell as a jokester and someone who genuinely enjoyed whatever she set her mind to doing.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start, so I’ll leave it at that,” Wieser said when asked what her fondest memories of Haskell are. “She was just a great person.”

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

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