Friday, January 10, 2020

Hard Landing: Ultramagic S-90, N901UM; accident occurred April 27, 2019 in Lamesa, Dawson County, Texas

Map of Accident Area 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: La Mesa, TX
Accident Number: CEN19CA128
Date & Time: 04/27/2019, 0830 CDT
Registration: N901UM
Aircraft: ULTRAMAGIC S90
Aircraft Damage: None
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

According to the pilot's accident report, he was making an approach to land in a furrowed farm field. About 10 feet above the ground, he pulled the vent chute. The balloon struck the ground travelling about 15 mph, tipped over, and was dragged by the wind across furrows for 60 feet. A gust of wind lifted the partially-filled balloon back into in the air to about 20 feet. He pulled the vent chute again and after travelling another 128 feet, the basket struck the ground hard. The wind dragged the balloon for another 30 feet, striking ditches on both sides of a road. It then travelled another 88 feet through grass. The balloon was not damaged; however, one passenger sustained serious injuries and a second passenger sustained minor injuries.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, there were 18 balloons at the launch site, including an FAA Inspector. The inspector had unpacked his balloon but did not launch. No other pilots unpacked their balloons due to the of the high winds aloft. (The accident pilot) was the only one to take off.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied:
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/15/2018
Flight Time:  684 hours (Total, all aircraft), 56 hours (Total, this make and model), 645 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ULTRAMAGIC
Registration: N901UM
Model/Series: S90
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Balloon
Serial Number: 90/151
Landing Gear Type: None
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/27/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1495 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time: 51 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: LUV, 2999 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0815 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 11000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 11 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: La Mesa, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: La Mesa, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 32.876389, -101.945833

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