Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary CEN23LA006

Albuquerque, NM, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot reported that he was descending to land following a normal balloon flight. About 1,000 ft agl, the wind shifted direction, and the balloon began drifting over areas unsuitable for landing. The balloon had been airborne for an hour and a half, and fuel in the two tanks were about 20 and 35.9 percent respectively. With low fuel becoming critical and few options for a suitable landing site, the pilot elected to land the balloon on a highway. During the landing, the balloon struck a bridge railing and came down in a wooded area next to a river. One of the passengers on board sustained serious injuries. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the balloon that would have precluded normal operations. The pilot reported that he should have landed sooner.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot’s inability to find a suitable landing area in a critical fuel situation and his decision to land on a highway, which resulted in the balloon impacting a bridge railing and terrain.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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