AAIB investigation to Cameron Z-375 balloon, G-VBFR

Inadvertent launch during ground manoeuvring, Corby Glen, Lincolnshire, 11 April 2014.

Summary:

After a normal flight and landing, 13 of the 16 passengers were disembarked. The pilot’s intention was to manoeuvre the balloon to a wider part of the field for deflation. As the balloon was being moved, the wind, which had been about 3 or 4 kt, increased to 7 or 8 kt and the disembarked passengers were unable to hold the basket. The pilot instructed them to let go, at the same time as applying a short burst from the burner.

Once airborne, the pilot immediately initiated a descent into the next field, beyond barbed wire and a stream. On landing, the basket rotated slightly and a corner caught the ground, causing it to tip over. One passenger, who was unable to maintain her landing position, fell about 1.5 m from her compartment onto the underside of the burner, which was switched off. She suffered bruising of her right leg.

The pilot attributed the incident to the need to carry out an emergency launch and landing, at less than the minimum landing mass. He observed that, for the basket in question, a total of six passengers would have had to remain on board to meet the minimum mass requirement.

Download report:

Cameron Z-375 balloon G-VBFR 09-14.pdf (127.55 kb)

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