Cameron O-120 hot air balloon, G-BVXF
The pilot was attempting to climb to an altitude of 6,000 m (approximately 19,700 ft). Having reached an altitude of 21,500 ft the balloon descended for about 80 seconds at approximately 1,500 ft/min. It then entered a rapid descent of approximately 5,500 ft/min from which it did not recover. In the latter stages of the descent the envelope was seen in a collapsed, ‘streamered’ state. There was a post-impact fire, which damaged much of the balloon basket and envelope.
The British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) and the balloon manufacturer actively assisted in the AAIB investigation. As a result of the accident the BBAC will be issuing guidance information for operation of hot air balloons at high altitudes.
Published 10 December 2014