Accident Thunder AX7-65 G-BCCG,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 19506
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Date:Tuesday 8 October 1974
Time:14:00 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Thunder AX7-65
Owner/operator:Clark Equipment Ltd
Registration: G-BCCG
MSN: 020
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Saltley Trading Estate, Birmingham -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Saltley Trading Estate, Birmingham
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: AIB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
Hot Air Balloon G-BCCG - accident at Saltley Trading Estate, Birmingham, on 8 October 1974 at approximately 14:00 hrs.

The aircraft was carrying out a private demonstration flight from a car park in the Saltley Trading Estate, Birmingham. Preparation for the demonstration flight began at about 13.15 hrs when the balloon was unpacked and laid out at the site. Shortly after take-off, as the balloon attained a height of approximately 800 feet, it collapsed completely and fell to the ground. The pilot and passenger were killed in the impact.

At take-off, the balloon was seen to rise initially very rapidly, with the burner being operated to approximately 100 feet. A witness, standing approximately 30 metres downwind of the launch point, said that he looked up into the balloon as it passed over his head and noticed what appeared to be a 'rugby football shaped' opening - about three feet long - in the top of the envelope through which the sky could be seen.

The balloon continued its rapid ascent with the envelope pulsating slightly but, apparently, fully inflated. Witnesses away from the departure point remarked on an 'apple core' type of indentation which developed on its upper surface. It was also seen to commence an oscillating, semi-rotary motion during the climb with a period of approximately 10 seconds.

When the balloon had reached a height variously estimated as being from 800 feet to 1,500 feet, witnesses noticed that the ascent had stopped and that the envelope was beginning to lose its shape with the throat and leading quarter of the balloon caving inwards. The collapse progressed rapidly and when last observed in the air, at a height of about 450 feet, the envelope had collapsed completely and was streamered out above the basket which was falling fast.

The balloon came down on a canal tow-path. The two occupants were killed by the impact and the basket and burner assembly were badly damaged; although damage to the canopy was slight. There was no fire.

The total distance covered was approximately 900 metres on a track of 1850C (T) which, using a calculated average wind speed of 12 knots, resulted in a total flight time of 2 minutes. Observations and calculations indicate that the balloon reached its maximum height of approximately 800 feet above ground level (AGL) 310 metres down wind from the point of take-off; an average rate of climb of 1,000 Ft/min."

Despite this fatal accident, G-BCCG continued in service, being sold on to its fourth and final owner on 11/6/1982. Registration finally cancelled by the CAA 6/10/2010 as "Permanently withdrawn from use

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File DR11/264:

Revision history:

17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
24-Jan-2010 11:16 John Baker Updated [Cn, Operator, Source, Damage, Narrative, Plane category, ]
24-Jun-2013 18:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Nature, Source, Narrative]
27-Jul-2015 23:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
07-Jun-2022 22:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative, Category]

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