Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Head AX9-118, N2027S: Accident occurred August 09, 2019 in Galt, Sacramento County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California

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


Location: Galt, CA
Accident Number: WPR19LA228
Date & Time: 08/09/2019, 0845 PDT
Registration: N2027S
Aircraft: Head AX9-118
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business - Sightseeing

On August 9, 2019, at 0845 Pacific daylight time, a Head AX9-118 hot air balloon, N2027S, was struck by a gust of wind and the pilot subsequently made a forced emergency landing in an field near McFarland Living History Ranch, Galt, California. Skydancer Balloon Company operated the balloon under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 in support of the Galt Balloon Festival. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The hot air balloon sustained fire damage to the Nomex skirt. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the tethered flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight was terminating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot/owner, he was part of a group of tethered balloons that were providing early morning "rides" to participants of the Galt Balloon Festival. His balloon was tethered at three points to 3 vehicles. Around 0830, he and two other tethered balloonists noted that the winds were starting to pick up and they decided to stop the flights. The other balloonists were able to deflate their balloons, and he was in the process of deflating when the balloon was picked up by a vertical wind, which caused it to ascend rapidly. The ground crew let go of the ropes, and the balloon shot up to the end of the tethers. One of the attachments from the basket to the rope broke, allowing the rope to come loose. Followed by the failure of a second bolt attachment, which allowed a second rope to come loose. At that point, the ground crew was attempting to hold the third rope, when the pilot told them to cut it loose.

The pilot maneuvered the balloon to a nearby open field and noted a series of power lines in his flight path. The pilot stated that without the balloon being fully inflated, the descent was fast and resulted in a hard landing. He turned off the burners and the balloon envelope deflated onto its side.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Head
Registration: N2027S
Model/Series: AX9-118 No Series
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSAC, 25 ft msl
Observation Time: 0753 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable / , Variable
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Galt, CA
Destination: Galt, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Unknown
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 38.258056, -121.375000 (est) 

GALT (CBS13) — A hot air balloon broke loose at a festival in Galt, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in a field.

Witnesses called it terrifying, some surprised the pilot survived. They said they felt helpless, this pilot’s fate was in his own hands.

“We never give consideration to the fact that perhaps this is somebody’s father, someone’s brother, someone’s dad,” said Joseph Perez, a festival attendee.

Perez was at the Galt Balloon Festival with his family. He said a balloon was in use giving people rides, and all of a sudden, the balloon tethers snapped.

“The balloon went up into the air and as it began to deflate, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be a horrible ending,’ ” Perez said.

Two witnesses said part of the balloon caught fire and that wind played a factor.

“The pilot was trying to get control. There was a small fire that I think burned part of the balloon and then the pilot was, after a few seconds, able to land it,” said Debra Bentson.

The pilot ended up in a cornfield with minor injuries. People were chasing after him as he drifted away, but Perez said it still took about 15 minutes to find him and get him help.

“There had to be angels there because the guy survived,” Perez said.

This is the second year the balloon festival has been held in Galt. CBS13 asked fair organizers about additional safety precautions Sunday. Their response was that safety precautions are taken “at all times.”

Story and video ➤ https://sacramento.cbslocal.com

GALT, California  — A man was injured after the hot air balloon he was in crash-landed during the Galt Balloon Festival on Saturday, according to the Cosumnes Fire Department.

Officials said the hot air balloon was tethered and used for paying tickets and rides. The hot air balloon caught fire and began to malfunction at around 8:40 a.m.

It is unclear if the fire resulted in the malfunction or if the malfunction caused the fire, officials said.

The balloon was then released from the tether and crash-landed in a nearby cornfield. Only the pilot of the balloon was injured. The pilot is expected to survive, officials said.

The fire was already extinguished when crews arrived at the scene, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department are still investigating.

Story and video ➤ https://www.kcra.com

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