Thursday, November 22, 2018

Balloon Works Firefly 8, N317W: Accident occurred August 06, 2016 in Northwood, Rockingham County, New Hampshire

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

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


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


https://registry.faa.gov/N317W

Location: Northwood, NH

Accident Number: ERA16LA284
Date & Time: 08/06/2016, 1850 EDT
Registration: N317W
Aircraft: BALLOON WORKS FIREFLY 8
Aircraft Damage: None
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 Serious, 5 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 6, 2016, at 1850 eastern daylight time, a Balloon Works Firefly 8, N317W, experienced a hard landing in Northwood, New Hampshire. The balloon was not damaged. The commercial pilot and four other passengers were not injured; one passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local sightseeing flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed from Drake Field, Pittsfield, New Hampshire, about 1730.

The flight was participating in the Suncook Valley Rotary Club annual balloon rally, held in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. According to the pilot, the wind was discussed during a weather briefing for the event as being 8 to 10 knots and forecasted to reduce to less than 5 knots before increasing again. He indicated that after he inflated the balloon envelope, "it was not rocking which means it was not excessively windy," so he boarded the five non-paying passengers and departed. The flight climbed to an altitude between 1,200 and 1,500 feet and was uneventful. The pilot selected a 5-acre field for landing about 6 miles south of Pittsfield. The landing was "a bit rough," and the basket momentarily tipped over before righting itself, then dragged for some distance before coming to a stop at the edge of the field. During the landing, one passenger fell inside the basket, fracturing his pelvis and leg.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, prior to the scheduled balloon launch time of 1730, several pilot balloons (pibals) were released to assess the wind conditions, which were determined to be "changeable." Thunderstorms were moving through the Laconia area (about 15 miles north of Pittsfield) at the scheduled launch time. There were 16 other pilots/balloons scheduled to participate in the event; due to the weather conditions none of them chose to launch that evening.

The 1851 automated weather observation at Concord Municipal Airport (CON), Concord, New Hampshire, located about 12 miles west of the accident site, included wind from 340° at 15 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 28° C, and dew point 16° C. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/01/2011
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1200 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BALLOON WORKS
Registration: N317W
Model/Series: FIREFLY 8
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Year of Manufacture: 1994
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Balloon
Serial Number: F8-403
Landing Gear Type: None
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT:
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: ARAHO BALLOON COMPANY INC
Rated Power:
Operator: ARAHO BALLOON COMPANY INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCON, 346 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1851 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 267°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 9000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 15 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 340°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.65 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Pittsfield, NH
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Northwood, NH
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1730 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 4 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 5 None
Latitude, Longitude: 43.205278, -71.229444 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA284
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 06, 2016 in Northwood, NH
Aircraft: BALLOON WORKS FIREFLY8, registration: N317W
Injuries: 1 Serious, 5 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 August 6, 2016, at 1850 eastern daylight time, a Balloon Works Firefly 8, N317W, experienced a hard landing in Northwood, New Hampshire. One passenger was seriously injured; the commercial pilot and four other passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local sightseeing flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed from Drake Field, Pittsfield, New Hampshire, about 1730.

The flight was participating in the Suncook Valley Rotary Club annual balloon rally, held in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. According to the pilot, the wind was discussed during a weather briefing for the event as being 8 to 10 knots and forecasted to reduce to less than 5 knots before increasing again. He indicated that after he inflated the balloon envelope, "it was not rocking which means it was not excessively windy" so he boarded the passengers and departed. The flight climbed to an altitude between 1,200 and 1,500 feet, and was uneventful. The pilot selected a 5-acre field for landing about 6 miles south of Pittsfield. The landing was "a bit rough," and the basket momentarily tipped over before righting itself, then dragged for some distance before coming to a stop at the edge of the field. During the landing, one passenger fell inside the basket, fracturing his pelvis and leg.

According to a representative from the Suncook Rotary Club, prior to the scheduled balloon launch time of 1730, several pilot balloons (pibals) were released to assess the wind conditions, which were determined to be "changeable." He indicated that thunderstorms were moving through the Laconia area (about 15 miles north of Pittsfield) at the scheduled launch time. There were 16 other pilots/balloons scheduled to participate in the event; none of them chose to launch that evening.

The 1851 automated weather observation at Concord Municipal Airport (CON), Concord, New Hampshire, located about 12 miles west of the accident site, included wind from 340 degrees at 15 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 28 degrees C, and dew point 16 degrees C.

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