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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 213915
Last updated: 2 September 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hot air balloon
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Wagga Wagga, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Unknown
Departure airport:10km N of Wagga Wagga, NSW
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: BASI
The basic design of the balloon, the 'James Cook', was conventional. When inflated, the envelope was some 21 metres high and its greatest diameter was approximately 15 metres. A chimney of about four metres diameter was located at the top of the balloon and this enabled rapid deflation to be made on landing. To close the chimney before flight, the upper edge of the chimney skirt was gathered and a loop of rope was threaded through 'D' rings attached to the periphery of the skirt. A pin through an eye in the end of the rope loop kept the chimney closed. When rapid deflation was required, the pin, which was retained by a 13.6kg breaking strain thread, was withdrawn on a control line extending down to within easy reach of the occupants of the basket. The chimney could be opened but not closed in flight.

Earlier in the day, the balloon had successfully completed a cross-country flight at altitudes up to 9000 feet. After landing, the four propane gas cylinders carried in the basket were recharged and a second flight was planned in which the pilot replaced a previous crew member. This flight was to enable him to practice altitude control at lower levels. The weather was fine and hot and there was a light north-westerly wind. After becoming airborne the balloon drifted slowly with its height varying between about 500 feet and near ground level. It had been airborne for about 80 minutes when, in response to a question from an onlooker on the ground, the crew advised that the height of the balloon was 400 feet. A few minutes later the balloon commenced to spin with the basket swinging out at an angle of about 45 degrees. The chimney at the top of the balloon was seen to be open as the envelope started to collapse and the balloon plummeted towards the ground. At a height of about 150 feet, the pilot left the basket and activated his parachute, but there was insufficient time for it to deploy before he struck the ground. The propane gas burner was operating during the descent, and when the balloon struck the ground, it burst into flames. At the time of the accident, a strong 'willy willy' (mini tornado) was reported to have passed through the area.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

01-Aug-2018 10:10 Pineapple Added

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