Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Hard Landing: Aerostar RX-7, N9126K; accident occurred October 07, 2019 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico


Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

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/N9126K

Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Accident Number: GAA20CA012
Date & Time: 10/07/2019, 0900 MDT
Registration: N9126K
Aircraft: Aerostar International RX 7
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Air Race/Show 

The balloon pilot reported that, during an air race, she identified a landing area with dirt roads. She had a gradual descent to land, but as the balloon neared the surface, the winds were "in the 20+ mile per hour range." The balloon landed hard and bounced. She instructed the passenger to get lower in the basket, regained control, and attempted another landing. During the second landing, she "pulled the red line to let the hot air out of the envelope but was dragged across the ground" and the pilot was ejected from the basket; the passenger remained in the balloon. A crew member on the ground instructed the passenger to pull the red line again. The balloon landed hard, the passenger was ejected, and the basket was destroyed in a postaccident fire.

The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot added as a safety recommendation to conduct an additional preflight briefing for the passenger.

The automated weather observation station, located 6 miles to the south, reported that, about 31 minutes before the accident, the wind was variable at 3 knots. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 66, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/15/2019
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 537.4 hours (Total, all aircraft), 343.9 hours (Total, this make and model), 377.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3.8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2.3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aerostar International
Registration: N9126K
Model/Series: RX 7 No Series
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Balloon
Serial Number: RX7-3326
Landing Gear Type: None
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/03/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1480 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:
Airframe Total Time: 300 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
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: KAEG, 5837 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1447 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 193°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.25 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Corrales, NM
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0800 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.241667, -106.767778 (est)

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