Cameron Z-315 Hot Air Balloon, G-KNIX
The balloon carried one pilot and 16 passengers. The pilot reported that the wind was light and variable at 2,000 ft amsl and from 065º at 4 kt on the surface. The visibility was 10 km and there was no cloud. Having selected a field in which to land, the pilot commenced an approach. As the balloon was over the middle of the field, at about 25 ft agl, he pulled the main deflation line. The balloon was then subjected to a gust of wind that increased its speed from 2 kt to 8 kt. Realising he would not be able to stop the balloon by the end of the field, he lit the burners to climb out of the field while he closed the partially open parachute valve. As the balloon was climbing it hit a large tree snagging several panels of the envelope. One passenger was hit on the head by a branch and received two cuts to her head. The balloon climbed out of the tree before landing in an adjacent field without further incident. Seven panels had been damaged, of these three were completely replaced, three were partially replaced and one was patched.
Published 10 December 2014