Sunday, March 06, 2022

Attempted Remediation/Recovery: Balloons 60X, N377LX; accident occurred January 11, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky

















Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Louisville, Kentucky

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

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Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Accident Number: ERA22LA129
Date & Time: January 11, 2022, 15:46 Local
Registration: N377LX
Aircraft: LINDSTRAND BALLOONS 60X
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Attempted remediation/recovery 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis

During a descent to perform contour flying for a practical test, the pilot applicant vented the balloon. When it began to level off too high, he vented it again and the balloon began a descent he described as “faster than (he) expected.” The designated pilot examiner (DPE) called for a burn and the pilot applicant “gave a short burn” with one burner. The DPE, recognizing that the burn was insufficient to arrest the balloon’s descent, called for another burn while simultaneously grabbing the other burner. The balloon started to ascend and when the DPE realized that the basket was going to strike a light pole, he removed his hand from the burner
and called for the pilot applicant to do the same; however, the pilot applicant did not remove his hand from the burner. When the basket impacted the pole, the load tapes sustained burn and heat damage. The DPE assumed control and flew them to an uneventful landing. 

The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot applicant’s delayed reaction to the balloon's increased rate of descent, which resulted in impact with a light pole.

Findings

Personnel issues Identification/recognition - Pilot
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Uncontrolled descent Attempted remediation/recovery (Defining event)
Maneuvering-low-alt flying Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Check pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Flight instructor 
Age: 44, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: October 25, 2021
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: May 15, 2021
Flight Time: 14480 hours (Total, all aircraft), 220 hours (Total, this make and model), 10290 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 146 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 53 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6.4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 24, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: None 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 28.9 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model), 8.7 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LINDSTRAND BALLOONS
Registration: N377LX
Model/Series: 60X
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Balloon
Serial Number: 5357
Landing Gear Type: None 
Seats: 0
Date/Type of Last Inspection: April 1, 2021 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: Engines: 0
Airframe Total Time: 238.2 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SDF,488 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 259°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity
Forecast/Actual: Unknown / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.46 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Louisville, KY
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Louisville, KY
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.212506,-85.529867(est)


Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Accident Number: ERA22LA129
Date and Time: January 11, 2022, 15:46 Local 
Registration: N377LX
Aircraft: LINDSTRAND BALLOONS 60X
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LINDSTRAND BALLOONS
Registration: N377LX
Model/Series: 60X
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 38.212506,-85.529867 (est)

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